Ghosting: The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just "get the hint" and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested.
The Urban Dictionary describes ghosting as being a term used in dating. While ghosting happens in dating, it also happens in everyday life situations. It happened to my husband and I (and our realtor) recently and it completely baffled us.
Our house has been for sale since late November 2017. We got a contract on it in January 2018 by a couple that we met several times. We helped watch their kids when the inspector came, asked them if they wanted us to leave certain things behind and had a good conversation or two with them.
The only drawback to this couple is that they did not have their house on the market at the time they put in an offer on ours. This made their offer "contingent" upon the sale of theirs. Within two weeks of their offer though, they did put their house on the market. Unfortunately they put it on the market "For Sale By Owner". I had a bad feeling about this tactic, but just went with it. We still were able to show our home to other potential buyers, so we felt safe in our decision.
Some time went by and their offer was about to expire. The couple called to tell us they still really wanted the house, thanked us for helping them with their kids the last time they were at the house, and asked that we extend their offer. We discussed it with our agent, thought about it, and then said yes. They dropped the price of their house and seemed very motivated, so we again, felt safe in our decision .
Throughout this time, our realtor helped them numerous times as well, with providing a free market analysis and a list of services (photography and an offer to be their agent), but they declined. They seemed to want to do it all themselves. The wife of the couple was a former realtor, so she, I assume, thought she knew best.
We continued to show our house to other prospective buyers. We had someone become very interested in April 2018, but when they found out it had a contingent contract, they declined to try to make an offer. They said they didn't want to get their hopes up and then not get the house. We tried to make them understand a contingency didn't mean a sale, but they still were too scared to try.
May 2018 rolled around. The couples' offer was about to expire again. Our agent tried to contact the couple to see what they wanted to do. They told our agent several times they definitely wanted to renew their offer again, but when she sent them the paperwork, they didn't sign it. She tried again. They still didn't sign it. It came down to the last day before it would expire and they still didn't sign it.
They ghosted her. They ghosted us.
My husband and I had used up all our patience with this couple anyways. They had tied up our house far too long. We had a serious discussion and came to the decision that even if they wanted to renew, we would not do it again. We knew it was time for us to move on to someone else.
Here's the most baffling part about the ghosting: They put $1,000.00 down on the home as a "good faith" to buy it. Our agent has continued to contact them to sign a release so they can get their money back and THEY WON'T CALL HER BACK.
We all assume they found another house they are interested in, as their house is still for sale and they've dropped their price again (for the third time). We totally get it. We aren't upset at all if they've changed their mind. If our house isn't right for them, that's cool and we understand. What we don't understand is the fact that they won't be honest with our agent, or speak to her at all. They paid for an inspection on our home (so they lose that money), but they have $1,000 waiting to be released back to them and they don't seem to care about it. I wish I could be so nonchalant about $1,000.00.
This "ghosting" behavior is so strange to me, yet very common in today's world. I don't think I'll ever understand it. It all comes down to poor communication habits. Humans must start communicating better. Whether you perceive news to be "good or bad" we must all summon the courage to just say what needs to be said and get it over with. You may think people will get their feelings hurt, but you need to push past this. I actually think feelings get more hurt when you leave people in the dark.
I try so hard to be open with communication. I'm sure at some point in my life I've ghosted someone, but the more it happens to me, the more and more open I become so I don't do it again. I'm fortunate to not have to deal with this in the dating world anymore, but it did happen to me one time (that I can remember) and it was not cool. I didn't chase after him though, because I understood on our date we weren't a good match. He didn't feel it, but I didn't either and I was cool with him ghosting me. Unfortunately though, this type of situation drives many people crazy.
When my husband told our real estate situation story to his mom, she wondered if something awful happened to the couple. Since the wife friended me on Facebook (and Instagram) and I continuously saw happy photos of her and her family riding bikes, going to parades and eating ice cream (the most recent) I will assume they are fine and they did, indeed, find another house they liked better.
One thing I'm not doing is chasing them down. I know I could message them myself, but I didn't do it when I dated, and I'm not doing it now. I value myself and my time very much and they are not worth my time. I also know this scenario is one reason why I have a real estate agent. She can deal with them for me, and she is. And my husband and I love her for it. She has to send the couple a certified letter at this point (because they won't answer the phone or return messages and texts) to try to resolve their money situation. We, on the other hand, just keep showing. Someone even better will want the house. I know this because I have faith.
I hope my story can help someone out there understand that you aren't alone in not understanding ghosting. The next time someone ghosts you, value yourself and your time. Decide if it is worth speaking out against to the person doing it. Sometimes it's worth it, but most times it is not.
Quick tip: If you find yourself wanting to speak out against someone that ghosted you, plan out what you want to say and maybe run it by a friend first. Sometimes humans can get harsh when they are hurt, so ensure you aren't setting out to say something out of anger. Hurting someone else because they hurt you is not the answer. It may make you feel good, but trust me, it's not the best option. Peace and grace is better. You will come out on top, looking mature (instead of looking like a sad wet kitten).
****Update: We did a little research on the couple's contingency offer. More than likely, the couple ghosted our realtor because they probably changed their mind about our home (and found another they liked better as I said earlier). In a case where someone simply changes their mind (on certain types of offers), they more than likely won't get back their good faith deposit. They probably ghosted her so they wouldn't have had to say they did, in fact, change their minds. By not saying anything, it allows them to get back their money. Being a former realtor, the wife of the couple would know this. It's totally not a cool way to do business in my opinion, but whatever. Lesson learned. I would never do this, but I know what to watch out for in the future. All they would have had to do is say they were having a hard time selling their house (because they are) and would let ours go for someone else. It really would have been that easy.
Questions to make you think (sorry about that....but sometimes you gotta think about what you read to make it stick in your brain):
- Have you ever been ghosted?
- How were you ghosted (what was the situation)?
- Did you tell the person that ghosted you how it made you feel? Why or why not?