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Ghosting.

DEF: The act or practice of abruptly cutting off all contact with someone (such as a former romantic partner) usually without explanation by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.

Probably one of the worst words I've ever heard outside of 'nepotism.' I hate....HATE ghosting.

I've had a couple ghosting instances here recently (like 3 in the last 5 years) and a couple of those are professional ghostings.

To me, this is one of the worst things you can do (short of criminal activity). If you're not interested or you've moved on, that's fine, JUST SAY SO!

I get it. Telling someone 'no' is hard. It's uncomfortable and no one wants to do it. But I truly believe that most people (adults) can take a 'no' thrown their way. Yeah, every instance is a little different but as a whole, getting bad news is something we can all absorb and process like adults.

And especially if we're professonal adults.

So what if it happens in the professional world? What's the procedure, if any? Do you just ignore and move on? Or do you reach out and 'blast 'em!'?

Well, here's the thing. Always remember that it's a PROFESSIONAL relationship. And consider that you're probably above the whole 'blast 'em' tact.

Always keep in mind that people have...wait for it....LIVES. They have a kid who got sick. A pipe that just burst or an email program that got an update and is now all of the sudden putting your emails into their spam box, relegating them to the 'never to be seen again' realm.

Our first reaction is usually, 'Why the hell aren't they replying to me? Why are they ghosting me?' but that's not always the case.

Stuff happens. People forget. It's okay.

And, look, they might actually be ghosting you. The point is, you don't know and if they are then that's on THEM! They're the person who's not acting professional. They're the ones who are choosing to treat you like a first date that farted during the appetizer. You're better than that though.

Here's what to do if a professional contact is ghosting you.

Craft a personal yet professonal email and send it off. Put them in the 'followup in one year' category of your CRM and move on with your life. If they get back to you, great. More than likely, they won't say 'yeah, I was ignoring your emails....' but have some excuse. Take their word for it. Accept it and be professional. If there's a chance for more business with them, it might be worth keeping that relationship with them.

So what should you say? How about something like this (brackets are where you put your info):

"Dear [person],

I've been trying to get ahold of you for a little bit regarding [stuff] but haven't heard anything back.

If you've moved on to a different talent, I understand creative choices have to be made and wish you the best on the project.

If any new projects come up that I might be a fit for I'd love to hear back from you.

It's been a pleasure working with you

Sincerely,

[totally ghosted professional]

This let's them know that you acknowledge they haven't been the best at returning phone calls/emails but doesn't make them feel bad about it. It also strikes a professional tone that makes you come across as an upstanding citizen who isn't a sassy-pants flamethrowing anger-ball! Plus, you're telling them (without telling them) that your time is valuable and you don't need their business necessarily.

In a perfect world, people would respond in a timely manner and even drop you some bad news when it happens. But, alas, we don't live in the perfect world and we have to put up with getting ghosted in the professional environment.

It sucks. TRUST ME, I know.

But with a little professional attitude and some self-confidence, we can shift that suckiness feeling to the ghoster and not the ghostee.

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