The Third Side of Ghosting

You'll know you're in it if you've got toxic people wreaking havoc in your life

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Photo by Julian Puumalainen

One of the benefit of taking on a project sending 10,000 notes of encouragement, is that I get to cross paths with a huge number of people (over 2,000 so far!). One term I’ve noticed that keeps coming up during conversations is the term ‘ghosting’. Apparently it’s now making its way everywhere (in friendships and family dynamics)!

An example of this is an exchange I had was with someone who was keen to chat more after receiving my note of encouragement. Whenever I get these requests I usually send them a link to help them decide if I’m their kind of person. In this particular case, I offered to send a series of 10 questions that makes it easier for me to find out if the person is of a similar wavelength.

So I get a message saying that my questions are welcome. Then I notice another one right after asking if I ‘ghosted’…after 12 hours. Wow. I instantly thought: ‘Well looks like we’re not on the same wavelength then!’

I still sent the questionnaire. I hear you though (were you just screaming at your screen? Hehehe), I should have just addressed the person’s perspective about how I ‘ghosted’ them (because I know in my gut that we’re on different wavelengths…even without the questionnaire) and just let them know that I’ll be ‘bowing out’. 

I’ve noticed there are three sides to severing ties with someone:

1.) You successfully communicate that you’ll be moving on and receive a mutual reply

2.) You do nothing (reply to their messages or answer their calls)

3.) The person doesn’t get the message, thinks that you are still in a conversation with them then and accuses you of ‘ghosting’ them. You feel retaliation is afoot: personally or professionally. 

Just like my experience with a ‘Breaking Bad’ viewer who does not share my values, it’s easy for anyone (even in a non-dating context) to twist whatever happened into something that serves them. Because the term ‘ghosting‘ has such a social stigma, it’s a bit off-putting yet it automatically makes you want to jump and defend your choices (and clarifying that it did not happen).

The downside of not cutting communications right away is you’ll be carrying that unnecessary load in your brain. If you are able to say: ‘I’m going to have to bow out of exploring possible projects we can work on together’ as soon as possible, go for it. 

However, if you think it is a ‘maybe’ then you have to stick to it too. Do you feel like this angel investor would be a good fit for something you’ll be working on in the future (and you just don’t want to waste her time by sending a message that says: ‘At the moment I don’t think I’m working on something that you’d be interested in…can I let you know in the future once I have something?’) ? In my book that’s okay.

Just make sure you’re not letting anyone else hang around in the periphery (guilting you to keep engaging wit them), because toxic people are quite good in doing that.

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