I shared the link on social media and talk about it here, because I’m interested in your take on it. Of course, there’s no “one size fits all” answer. In general, I believe it’s emotionally unhealthy to not have closure on a relationship. It’s best to be honest, especially if the answer is as simple as growing apart or no longer having much in common. It’s always best to close a relationship as civilly as possible (I say ‘close’ instead of ‘end’ because life is funny, and you never know when it will bring people back that you thought were gone for good). However, I’ll admit to “ghosting” in many cases, usually when I see they’re stubbornly not hearing me, or when they’re so emotional (usually hostile or angry) that it’s obvious a conversation would make things worse, and a clean break would be best. You do have to protect yourself from other peoples’ emotions sometimes, and there are instances where “ghosting,” while not ideal, is your best answer.
That analysis applies to personal relationships, but what about work? Do the same rules apply in a professional setting? This is a case where interesting conversation can happen. The article I linked above set both sides of the argument: on one side, it’s unprofessional and can burn bridges you don’t realize you need to build your career down the road. It goes back to the strangeness of reality, and how it can bring people back to you later. A failure to see the big picture is a big problem with many people. In fact, my tendency to do this irritates people on a regular basis. We’re too focused on what feels good right now, and the consequences later just aren’t fair. Then again, are there really consequences for anything anymore? But that’s another blog.
On the other side are the people who say that managers and executives have been ‘ghosting’ on people at lower levels for decades, and it’s about time they got a taste of their own medicine. Here, I see the point too. How many times have you applied for a job or promotion, and didn’t back from the hiring managers because you weren’t selected and learned about it from a third party or general announcement? Or somebody you work with got quietly reassigned or dismissed? Or you have a new or additional manager and are admonished to congratulate and welcome them for – what? How are we supposed to improve with no feedback? We aren’t psychic, and the people who defend this say that it’s about time that mind your own business applied at all levels. You don’t have a right to know what’s going on in my head, either. You don’t have time for a call? Well, I’m busy too. Neither do I.
I see the frustrations on both sides, and I wonder where most people stand. The article claims a generational bias for
this (Millennials, of course), but I’ve witnessed some in Gen X doing it, too. Maybe not at the gone forever level, but I’ve had times when people didn’t show up where they were supposed to be, because they didn’t think it was important to tell anybody that they had another obligation or had changed their plans. And frankly, I see signs of immaturity, unprofessionalism, and rudeness in all age groups, across situations both personal and professional. Nobody’s perfect and we all need forgiveness for our failings. The question is; when do we add correction to granting grace? I think the publication of this article means that “ghosting” has grown into a common problem that needs addressing head-on. Now the question is, who has the guts to do it? Who’s brave enough to point at the pink elephant in the room and say “look at that! We need to do something about it?” Here, we have another problem, because people are scared of solving problems these days. But that’s for yet another blog entry.
What say you? Is ‘ghosting’ an acceptable emergence of a social norm? Or is it a beast that needs to be tamed? Or how dare I have the nerve to bring this up in the first place because nobody wants to talk about that? I am the pink elephant spotter around these parts. Let me know what you think, either here or on social media.
That’s all today. Take care. Have a Happy Friday tomorrow and a wonderful weekend.