What To Do When Someone Stops Responding (The "Ghost")

Written by Zach Grossfeld

We all know the feeling. You send a text or email, get an initial response, you follow up, then the other person stops responding. Welcome to the “ghost.” What do you do when you get ghosted? How can you frame the situation back into your favor? Here are a few tips that have helped me close the deal:



Everyone's been "ghosted."

After a promising back and forth with a prospective client or romantic interest, they drop off the face of the Earth. Initially, you may think that they missed the message or have their hands full, but after a few follow-ups over an extended window of time, the ghosting becomes apparent. 

How do you react?

I've been there.

Anger boils.

Initially, you think, "Fuck this person. Is a quick 'no' or 'not interested anymore' too long of a response to muster?" Future situations of revenge cloud your vision. The imagination builds of how you're going to unleash the wrath on the person stopped responding:

When I'm CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Susan's going to wish she got back to me about this project. She'll call years from now, forgetting that she ghosted me, but I'll be waiting. Right when she asks me for help, I'll say "Suck my nuts Susan, I'm still waiting for a reply to those emails from the 3rd quarter of 2019!" Then, I'll slam the cordless phone down in my corner office, but not too hard or else I might spill coffee on my silk bathrobe. 

Maybe that's going too far, but you get the point.

Burning bridges and harnessing resentment serves no purpose. When a person exits your life in the form of a ghost, you still have a job to do.

Here are a few mindsets and tactics that have helped me thrive despite the ghost:

You're not special, and neither are they. 

Odds are you're not the first prospect that this person ghosted. Most likely, the ghost is a mainstay in their arsenal. They've ghosted dozens before you and will ghost dozens after.

Cheer up.

Now, you can focus on the task at hand and drop the anger. Use that energy to form new connections. 

Don't build a revenge plan. Treat the person who ghosted you respectfully next time you interact with them.

Nothing says, "fuck you," like not caring.

If you allow someone to change the way you feel, then they have the power. Move on and let go. More pressing matters deserve your attention. 

Treat a ghost from a romantic prospect the same way you would a business prospect.

So, you've sent three replies on Hinge over the past week and no response? Move on. Just like in business, millions of more possible connections are waiting to be tapped.

Unattachment is sexy.

When someone else senses that you have other options, they suddenly want to become your option. The overwhelming opportunities should excite you. Don't emotionally hyperfocus on one person who doesn't find time to text back. 


Gain Perspective.

What's the damage from someone ghosting you?

Really, what has changed? Probably not much.

Things could be much worse.

Building up emotion gives things more meaning than they deserve. Take a deep breath and reset. Everything in play before you reached out to this person is still in play. Zoom out and find the next point of attack to get the job done. 

Make the other person feel like they are giving up. 

Each ghosting situation is different. If you feel like room exists for one last message, send:

"Have you given up on this project?"

This response frames the other person as someone who "gives up." No one wants to be labeled as this person. Losers give up. Winners battle. 

I can't tell you how many times a person has gone weeks without responding only to send a reply within five minutes of seeing, "Have you given up?"

Sometimes, the answer is still "yes," but at least you now have an answer. Most of the time, the person will respond, "No, we have not given up," and provide a reason.

Keep this bullet in the back pocket.

Use it as a last stand.

The "given up" response grabs attention and makes the other person feel like they're losing you.