Getting Ghosted…at Work
You don't need to be on a dating app to be ghosted, a sudden and unexplained ending of all communication. Increasingly, people report being ghosted by potential employers during job searches (sometimes even after they’ve gotten a verbal offer), by clients they were pitching, and by people with whom they were networking.
Why do people ghost? It's often to avoid an awkward situation or anything that might lead to conflict. But it could simply be because there is no news to share, or because they are maxed out by their own work.
Why not just let it go? It turns out we’re not biologically wired for that. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Kristi DePaul, founder of Nuanced, a thought leadership firm for executives, says, “Ghosting is an action that tugs at our psyches. When something is unresolved, our brains tend to linger on it (a phenomenon called the Zeigarnik effect). This underlying cognitive tension encourages us to continue seeking a satisfactory resolution.”
So, what to do? DePaul suggests being patient for a few days (they might genuinely be preoccupied). Then, if silence persists, consider that the person doing the ghosting might now feel there is no way to bring the conversation back online gracefully. You can offer them a way to save face by sending “a brief, lighthearted message [that leaves] the door open for them to reconnect, or to simply let you know what’s going on.”
Have you ever been ghosted at work, and what happened if you attempted to follow up? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
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