I don’t matter.
I don’t exist.
The Emmy-winning talk show host, turned billionaire, Oprah. Had this to say after ending her successful 25-year Oprah Winfrey talk show.
“ I've done countless interviews with presidents, mega stars,abuse victims, people in crisis and people in triumph. This is the one thing everyone asked after their interview is :
How did I do? How was it?”
Her conclusion with those two questions was:
“Everyone, from every walk of life wanted to know did you hear me?
And did what I say matter.”
This need, the need to be heard and to matter appears to be a very distinct human need from every human, no matter the circumstance.
“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention”
- Rachel Nemen Pediatric Physician and author of Kitchen Table Wisdom
We know that no matter your station in life one of the most basic human needs is to be heard.
I have a friend who has been a family therapist in Colorado for 10-plus years. One of the top core wounds people have that come to see him, is not feeling heard.
What then happens to a society not listening to each other?
Personally and professionally our ears are plugged with our fingers, I can’t hear you.
What is the definition of ghosting?
Ghosting refers to abruptly cutting off contact with someone without giving that person any warning or explanation for doing so.
In a survey by Dating.com, 95% of respondents claimed to have been ghosted at least once in their dating experience.
The high percentage indicates a widespread occurrence of ghosting in the dating world. This can affect an individuals' confidence and well-being.
According to a study by Leadership IQ, 87% of employees reported that they often encounter disrespectful electronic communication at work, including being ignored in digital communications.
Workplace ghosting contributes to a disrespectful communication culture, harming employee morale, job satisfaction, collaboration, and productivity.
We appear to be a nation of silent ghosts.
But Khrystian is it really all that bad, to ghost?
How bad can it be?
Ghosting can cause trauma.
Ghosting can have detrimental effects on your emotional and psychological wellbeing, causing people to feel:
- Decrease self-esteem
- Risk adverse
Imagine a society with this hidden wound.
Well you don’t have to imagine, we are living it.
According to the New York Times we are in a loneliness epidemic.
Speaking but not listening.
Seldom feeling heard.
A world that feels they don’t matter.
According to a recent study by the New York Times 1 in 4 adults are experiencing chronic loneliness.
1 in 4
Look to your left.
Look to right.
The chance that someone next to you feels this emotion or the emotions listed before is at least a shocking 25%.
This is not to say that they don’t have anyone around.
You can still feel alone, together.
Ok, Khrystian we get the problem.
How do we become the solution?
It is one of my deepest beliefs in society we should operate with rules of engagement and self regulate.
In real life society if we rob, steal, or kill we are removed from society because we have an obligation to each other to not behave that way.
We have to become a non-tolerant society of ghosting.
Look if 95 % of people have reported ghosting or being ghosted it’s safe to say in today's society almost everyone has been a perpetrator and a victim of ghosting.
But I challenge you as you go into 2024, to make a commitment to end your personal ghosting.
In the end, we can ever only control ourselves.
That if you make a commitment and can’t finish, communicate it.
If someone sends you an email, respond even if it’s as simple as I’ll get back to this next week.
If it's a dating app and you're not interested, as awkward as it may be, simply communicate and don’t take their response personally.
When I worked in the Children's Hospital of Colorado as an EMT they called it Closed Loop Communication. If the physician said “ Start a line” the person who was going to attend to that order said “ Starting a line.” This ensured to the physician that they had been heard and someone was on it. Chefs have something similar in the kitchen, they say “ heard chef” this lets the chef know you heard them and you’re on it.
Life should be a series of Closed-Loop Communication moments.
Don’t be the “ghoster” and don’t allow yourself to be ghosted.
Let them know, it was not ok to ghost you and wish them well.
If they are in your workplace re-ask the question.
If that doesn’t work have a one-on-one with them.
Express the need for closed-loop communication, try to get policies changed.
But emphasize the impact on the team and productivity when the lines of communication are closed.
Be diligent in the efforts to eradicate this hidden epidemic.
We must hold ourselves and others accountable and offer them a new way of interacting.
As we each recommit to the art of listening and being heard. We can help the 1 in 4 people to remember that they are seen, heard, and most importantly they matter.
There’s an old saying that I am my brother's keeper.
To end the era of ghosting and the catastrophic effects on a society that feels more lonely and isolated than ever, we must be our brother's keeper.