You’re texting with a new romantic interest. You both are responding immediately to each other’s messages. The conversation is flowing and you’re having a good time, but it suddenly comes to a screeching halt. The other person just stops replying.
You wait a few minutes—maybe they had to go to the bathroom? Maybe they’re responding to a message from someone else? You give them the benefit of the doubt and a few minutes turns into 30 minutes. 30 minutes turns into a couple of hours. You send a follow-up message to remind them of your conversation. Nothing. A couple of hours turns into an entire day. And still no response. You’ve been ghosted.
Why Do People Ghost?
This scenario has become an all-too-familiar one with anyone who regularly uses texting or messaging apps to communicate with people. Particularly, people they’ve just met. Being ghosted by someone can be the most frustrating and energy-consuming experience.
So why do people do it? At times it could be innocent—they got distracted, they thought the conversation was done, their phone died, etc. However, it could also be for less respectful reasons—they didn’t feel like talking anymore, something was said that upset them, or they simply lost interest. Regardless, it’s not a great experience for the person who is left wondering what happened.
Is Ghosting Really That Bad?
So let’s be honest with each other: have you ever ghosted or been ghosted by someone while looking for child care work? At Sittercity we’ve gotten feedback from both sitters and families expressing frustration with being ghosted. So because some people do it, does that make it ok? In a word—no. While it can be frustrating to be on the receiving end, that doesn’t make it ok to also be a person who ghosts. It can negatively affect you, as well as other sitters.
How Ghosting Affects You
If you’re actually interested in a job with a family, suspending your communication with them—if only temporarily—could hurt your chances of landing that job. Most families are looking to find the right person for the position as soon as they can. If they can’t get a hold of you, they could move onto working with another candidate. They may also see your inconsistent communication as a quality they don’t want to have in a sitter they need to be able to depend on.
Even if you’re not interested in the job, you could be sacrificing a professional relationship with a family that could be helpful in the future. If a family has a great experience with you, but it doesn’t work out because of a scheduling conflict, they might be inclined to recommend you to one of their friends or write you a review for your professionalism.
Conversely, keep in mind that parents can review any interaction on the site—from communications, to interviews, to sittings. If communication abruptly stops within any phase of the hiring process, a parent may be inclined to review that interaction on the site.
How Ghosting Affects Other Sitters
While you might be ok with sacrificing a particular relationship with a family, take a minute to think about how it might affect other care providers in the profession.
You’re a representation of your industry. Whether you like it or not, because you are in the child care industry, you are a representative of it. The choices you make in your work contribute to how society, and families in particular, see the profession. The more that child care providers interact in a professional manner, the more the industry as a whole gets elevated in respect and honor.
You are also a representation of the online community you’re a part of. If a family new to Sittercity has a negative ghosting experience, that might prevent them from continuing to look for a care provider in that community. This could potentially eliminate a job opportunity from one of your fellow care providers.
Alternatives to Ghosting
There are reasonable reasons for ending conversations. But just because the reason is justified, it doesn’t mean that the other person should be left wondering what happened. Here are a few common reasons for ending a conversation and how they can be handled without ghosting someone.
Reason: No Time to Talk Now
Life is busy—we completely understand that. Sometimes conversations can begin at the least opportune time. There’s a very simple fix for that. Let them know that you have to go, but emphasize your interest in continuing the conversation at a later time and your interest in the job. If you can, let them know when you’ll be available to chat again.
This leaves the family feeling confident in your interest and with clear expectations on when you can follow up with responses. They won’t be wondering if or when you’ll be getting back to them.
Reason: Job/Family Isn’t a Good Fit
A job may look like the one for you in the job post, but then once you start talking to the family you could realize that there are some deal-breakers for you. That’s completely normal. This could be a great job for another care provider, but maybe not for you.
Instead of just leaving the family hanging, take some advice from other sitters and be honest. Thank them for the time they spent with you and simply state that you don’t think this job is a good fit for you. You can even acknowledge that you want them to find the right person and don’t want to waste any more of their time.
Looking for the right sitter can be just as exhausting as looking for the right job. Recognizing this similarity between you and a family can go a long way in keeping you both sane through the process.
Reason: You Got Distracted
Wow, do we ever understand this one. There are so many different things that could be flying at us all at once. And in this day and age, we’re most likely already trying to do multiple things at once. You could’ve gotten another message, had to focus on your transportation at the moment, or started doing something else waiting for a response and forgot about the conversation. Let’s look at this in two ways.
As much as you can help it, try to focus your energy just on the conversation with a family as it’s happening rather than trying to do multiple things at once. This will help your responses to be more clear and your questions to be more effective in learning about the job. Do yourself a favor and make sure that you have notifications for new messages turned on in your account.
If even in trying to prevent it, getting distracted can still happen. You can’t change the past, but you can definitely shape the future. As soon as you notice the email of the new message or the push notification from the app, follow up with the family as soon as possible. It’s never too late to change their experience in finding a sitter. A simple apology can go a long way as well as letting them know that you’re still interested in the job if they haven’t already found someone.
When It’s Actually OK to Stop Communicating
Pay Attention to Notifications of Removals From Sittercity
If You Experience Inappropriate Behavior
The unfortunate truth is that there are scammers and adults who may communicate in an unprofessional manor out there. If this is the case, please suspend your communications with this person and report them to our Customer Success team. They’re skilled in helping you navigate these kinds of conversations and work directly with our dedicated Trust & Safety team who works hard to limit the number of scammers on our platform.