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GHOSTING ... just STOP it!

In 2017 the term GHOSTING was officially added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Ghosting, simply put, is where all communication is severed without meaning or explanation and by most people's experience (on the receiving end), it is an insidious and cruel act.

It was originally associated with online dating & personal relationships but as our app addiction increased, so too did the dark side of this technology-driven communication.

Now it is almost acceptable to never confront or explain our choice of not continuing (fill in the blank). This could be an applicant who doesn’t want the job, to us not wanting them for our company. From vendors and suppliers who work with your business. Managers needing to give feedback, and / or team members wanting to share how they are feeling … there are a ton of people who choose the easier path for them - silence - but where does that leave the other person? Not in a very good place - and often confused, uncertain and in some cases paranoid, insecure and very distracted. There are very few positives to ghosting someone.

Ghosting is also certainly not new, and I am sure most of us have been the "ghoster or ghostee" at some time in our life. Those of us old enough can probably recall anxiously waiting for that phone call or letter to notify us of a successful (or unsuccessful) interview. And not hearing could send us into a tailspin.

In an article written by Zoe Chance in Psychology Today "... ghosting is cruel because of how much mental bandwidth it uses up. The distracting need for completion is called the Zeigarnik effect. The Zeigarnik effect explains why your mind runs in circles … and why it’s so hard to focus on other things when you’re waiting to hear back after a job interview etc… , your mind keeps ruminating."

Quite simply, ghosting is the morally wrong thing to do.

From being just plain cruel, to possibly causing emotional abuse, it is one of the most negative side effects of technology and displays a complete lack of empathy for the person involved. Whether personal or professional, this insidious choice demonstrates how emotionally underdeveloped our society is becoming, and perhaps how underdeveloped we are. It is more the action of an insecure adolescent than a fully functioning adult!

Ghosting shows limited or no empathic concern for the other person. Ghosting is a toxic choice of behavior, and ghosting is one the greatest negative fall outs of our current times. It basically f#@%’s with someone’s head. Not cool at all.

I read on a thread where someone blamed their "mental health" as a reason for ghosting. No .. I'm sorry. The chemical reaction that is occurring in your body is quite commonly called “feeling scared”. Feeling scared (not suffering from anxiety) is a NORMAL human response to dealing with something unfamiliar.

Whether you're an extrovert or an introvert, passive or assertive, confident or shy - I don't know many people who enjoy rejecting someone or being rejected, so let's put our big pants on, sit with our beating chest/flushed face/sweaty palms or however else our body reacts to being "scared" and just do it. It will be over before we know it, and both you and the other person will have gained an invaluable experience.

So whether it’s an applicant, a team member, a short lived date, a vendor or supplier, or even a friend who has wronged you … help yourself, them and our society by becoming more resilient. We all deserve closure … and if you are on the receiving end of being ghosted, sit with how really shitty it feels and vow to make sure you never inflict the same level of disrespect to someone else.

If it’s over, explain respectfully and empathically why. Leave them with their dignity and move on. That’s respectful, kind and compassionate. Do unto others as they would want you to do unto them. Empathy - it will ALWAYS lead down the right path. Love, Terry x


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