Ghosts are not just for Halloween

You can see it coming as you drive down the streets. Witches on balconies, skulls on front doors and spider webs draped over fences. Halloween is here.

It’s made me think. Would you rather see a ghost or experience a ghosting? We all know what ghosts are. Whether we believe in them or not.

Ghosting is something else. 

Initially, it was a term used to describe the end of a romantic relationship where one person suddenly withdraws all forms of communication. Yep. Just up and disappears. Vanishes. Gone. Nothing. If you haven’t experienced it. Just try online dating. 

Now ghosting has extended to any relationship. When we just stop responding. We might even block the person from being able to connect on email, phone and socials. It could be someone you don’t want to say no to. So you say nothing at all. You go MIA.

Let’s face it. It’s not that hard to wipe someone. A few commands on the keyboard, thumbing on the phone and hey ‘presto’. Don’t need to see a message from them ever again.

I understand when it’s for our safety. Completely. 

But what about when it’s not? What if there was an opportunity to learn something? For ourselves. About ourselves. If we had a chance to push through an invisible boundary of dealing with the situation, the person, the conversation. What if, we had conversations about our own boundaries. We learned to say no. We let people know they’ve hurt us. What if.

Something to ponder. I don’t like being ghosted. I like learning about my impact on others. Even when it’s hard to hear, otherwise, I will keep repeating the same patterns, again and again. 

What about when it’s at work?  A colleague or, worse, a boss who just doesn’t seem to find the time to catch up or respond. How will we deal with being ghosted in the workplace? A silent retreat wondering where you went wrong as you quietly quit. Or maybe you start playing the blame game – it’s not you it’s them. A toxic workplace culture can quickly take hold if opportunities for difficult conversations and shared learning are not embraced.

When you see a ghost this Halloween, ask yourself. Would I want to be ghosted? Have I been ghosting somebody else by dismissing an important conversation? How can I lean in, not out next time?

If you lead teams or workplaces and are curious about the 7 mistakes we tend to make when planning programs for people and culture, you won’t want to miss our next online event.  Register here