Was it something I said?

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Human with a white sheet pretending to be a ghost, standing in a forest.

Everything seemed to be going so well. Client feedback indicated they were pleased with the work submitted. When the project was to advance to the next stage and my talents required, the client said they would reach out to schedule the next meeting.

It has now been a while – a long while – since the last client meeting and email messages inquiring about the project’s status have remained unanswered. I’m beginning to think that (gasp!) I have been…ghosted!

I have to admit this is a first for me and I am a little shocked. During my twenty plus years freelancing, I have worked hard to build relationships and ensure clients were happy. As most who are in business for themselves know, reputation is everything and you are only as good as your last job. So when things do not go as well as expected, there is always a desire to find out what went wrong so things can be made right.  

“Back in the day” it was considered professional to deal with situations that may need uncomfortable conversations. This would either move the relationship forward or end it with both parties understanding why it has happened. Either way, this level of professionalism demonstrated respect and good manners. However, as a quick Google Search has revealed, this is not the case today as “business ghosting” is on the rise.

Ghosting cuts off all communication without any explanation. Consequently, there is no opportunity for conversation or closure. Without any discussion, an examination of all previous interactions begins, looking for a reason as to why this situation has occurred.  Most often, it results in second guessing. Was it something I said?  Was it an action that was found to be offensive? Was the quality of the work submitted not really up to what was expected?  

All of this second guessing can be a dangerous rabbit hole to head down because of the impact it has on the self-esteem, self-worth and self-confidence of the “ghostee”. Yet perhaps it is just human nature to have a curiosity to find out what went wrong.  On the other hand, maybe there is nothing wrong and the client is pre-occupied with more urgent projects…(and so the loop begins…)

Maybe I’ll hear back from my client and maybe I won’t.  What I do know is that I will have to let it go. I also know that one day, the reason will be revealed by the universe and only then will I truly be able to understand, deal with it, learn from it and move on.

Picture of Kathy Majkut

Kathy Majkut

Content Development, Copywriting