Ghosting, dissapearing without any comment is not new. According to the Erasmus University in Rotterdam this strategy of avoidance has been researched since the ’80’s. Earlier I wrote about simularities between job apllications and dating. The same thing can be said about ghosting. For example, how often have you never heard back after applying? The Talent Board calculated that approximately 46% of all applicants never get any respons. A recent blog of Indeed states that nowadays applicants ghost as well. No less than 83% of the interviewed employers says they have been ghosted.
Why would one dissapear into thin air without any explanation? Dr. Villhauer of the LA psychotherapy center states that ‘ghosting’ reflects one’s inability to deal with (their own) emotions. The Huffington Post links it to selfishness; the more self-centered you are the less you think about the impact of your behavior on others. Negative experiences such as being fired, can, just like depression or being burned out make the avoiding strategy the most attractive.
Overchoice can also fuel ‘ghosting. If you choose A than you automatically don’t choose B. If A will turn out to be best option is something you’ll never know for sure. This doubt creates stress and might feed avoidance or delay desicion making. Curving is ideal to prolong a process. Responding days after receiving a message, because you were so busy, buys you extra time. Time to do an additional interview or go on another date. The question is if extra time and even more input will provide a clearer insight on what to do.
Side-effect of delaying is that others might make the desicion for you. “This candidate is so slow to respond, let’s make the other girl an offer”. It looks like time passed you by, but in fact you wrote the scenario. Offcourse there is the risk that along the line you may think “what if I..”
Almost no-one likes to dissappoint another person. Therefore empathy can also lead to ghosting. But if you are considering to ‘spare’ someone please know that a bad message will always feel better then not knowing.
Positive counterpart of ghosting is caspering. Exactly, like the friendly ghost. Instead of ignoring the other pary you tell them in all honestly the status of the relationship and why you might not choose to date or take on a position. Naturally it means biting the bullit to deliver the message, but allow yourself to grow both as a person and as a professional.