Ghosting. You all know the scenario, chances are you’ve been there…
You reach out to a friend via phone and try to set up an appointment. No answer. You text them and ask if they have time for a quick phone call. Nope, nothing. Then you call again and leave a voicemail. Crickets. Then the process gets a little weird because you call again a couple of days later and still: NADA. Maybe you send another text several weeks after beginning the process, but you don’t know what to say. So you send something but don’t love it, bite your nails and then…na that wasn’t them that texted back…it was just MORE CRICKETS. And you’re wondering…did I just damage a relationship? What if I see them at Target? Do they shop at that one? Maybe I’ll drive to the one on the other side of town that’s farther away from their house. AWKWARD.
So what do we do with this whole ghosting MONSTER lurking under the bed? How do we appropriately handle the FEAR that rejection is happening before our eyes? I’ve got some ideas to combat the SCARY scenarios. Don’t SCREAM, let’s dive in (and okay, I’ll stop using the puns). There are 3 main things to keep in mind when you think you are being ghosted – let’s talk about them.
1. Don’t Jump to Conclusions
When you feel you are being ghosted don’t jump to conclusions. People are busy with their own lives, and your top priority is almost always NOT their top priority. They’ve got their own world swirling around them, so recognize that we have to meet people where they are at and contacting you back may not be at the top of their list. Don’t jump to the conclusion that if they aren’t Johny-On-The-Spot with getting back to you it doesn’t mean they aren’t interested. It could mean a variety of things such as one or some of the following:
- they are bad with returning phone calls / messages / insert media you used
- they are busy
- it’s a hard week
- it’s a hard year.
- they are out of town / country
- they intend to but just haven’t gotten there yet
- they are distracted
- their phone broke?
- they have a new number
- they are potty training their toddler and are laser focused unto getting rid of cloth diapers for ever and ever amen (wait… just me?!)
Thus before making the conclusion you are being ghosted, here are ask some important questions of yourself. If you answer “no” to any of these things – then try that thing before jumping to conclusions:
- Am I using the right contact method to reach them? Have I tried multiple ways to get in touch?
- Are they actually receiving my phone call / message?
- Have I tried enough times over a period of time, and given them long enough to respond?
- Have they already expressed interest in giving but have had trouble responding recently?
2. The Final Contact
If you have have sufficiently tried to reach out to someone but are getting no response (see list above) then you may consider making The Final Contact. The Final Contact essentially is communication that attempts to honor the relationship when someone isn’t responding, and lets that person know you will not be contacting them again about support. Now, that being said I have some pretty strong thoughts about The Final Contact and how it works / doesn’t work that I need to share before proceeding further:
- Consider all of the questions above carefully before doing The Final Contact.
- You should NOT be doing The Final Contact if you’ve only tried calling a person twice or even 3 times. It should be after you’ve made several attempts, tried several communication methods, and given them time to respond. Many people make the mistake of believing someone’s silence is rejection and give up too quickly due to fear. Be confident, and remember you don’t have to apologize for inviting someone to be a part of the Great Commission.
- If a Final Contact is given too early you run the risk of offending cherished relationships.
- If you move to the Final Contact too early you also run the risk of no support from them.
- It’s likely that after you make The Final Contact, you will hear from the person who has ghosted you. It happens often.
- In wording your Final Contact, keep the door open a smidge that you may have a future assignment / time you raise support, and perhaps you will reach out again in the future (see example below – this doesn’t need to be emphasized, just accommodated for).
- You don’t make The Final Contact if someone has answered your calls and methods of communication, only if they don’t (unless it’s a nuanced situation). Don’t make The Final Contact you’re out for any circumstance that gets awkward that you don’t want to follow up on. No no.
So HUGE WARNING HERE: Don’t do it too early. However, well timed Final Contacts can help in putting the relationship in good standing. So what does a good Final Contact look like? This example of a Final Contact is written by my friend Grant Hoel who is a support raising coach and in full time ministry with Chi Alpha.
“Hi [Name], I hope everything is going well for you. I’ve been trying to get in touch with you recently to share about my upcoming ministry assignment to [City or Country] but I have been having trouble. It is possible that this is not the best method of communication for you or that you’ve been extremely busy and unable to get back to me. Or maybe you’re just not interested, and that’s okay. In any case, I wanted to let you know that this will be my last attempt to reach you in regards to this assignment. Also know that I really value your friendship and would love to catch up or hear how I can be praying for you at any time. If you are interested in talking about the ministry and how you could be involved, feel free to give me a call: (555) 555-5555. Either way, I look forward to catching up the next time I see you. Have a great week and God Bless.“
Some thoughts straight from Grant on what a well-crafted Final Contact does:
- It provides the person the most charitable excuse for not returning your call.
- “I know you’re probably super busy…”
- “I understand that now may not be the best time for you…”
- “You may not be able to give right now…” “And that’s OK!”
- Let’s them know that you will not be contacting them regarding support/financial partnership for this assignment. You won’t bring it up unless they initiate it.
- “So I just want to let you know that I won’t be contacting you again about this unless you bring it up. If I’m wrong and you just haven’t been able to get back to me, just give me a call and we’ll pick up the conversation from there.”
- Affirms your relationship with them.
- “I just want you to know that I absolutely appreciate your friendship…”
- “Let me know if there is anything I can do for you or any way to pray for you…”
- “I look forward to the next time we get to see each other…”
3. Don’t be Timid: Its The Great Commission (See Rejection post)
I get it, it can be SCARY to reach out to friends and family for support, and when that friend ghosts you in the process, it doesn’t feel good. But I think alongside having the Final Contact in our pocket, remembering that we are all called to the Great Commission as either goers or senders is one of the most important things to remember in the midst of asking for finances. Asking someone for financial support is okay and it’s even biblical. (If you doubt that to be true, here are some verses to check out) Also, what you are doing is downright cool and inspiring. Seriously. You don’t have to be ashamed about telling people about Jesus and you certainly aren’t the only one since the days of Moses who raised finances to do it. You can be bold. You can be confident (and it actually helps). You don’t have to apologize for following God’s path, and you actually get to be an inspiration for those you connect with to follow their own paths with God! He’s actually the one that set it up for the christian worker to live off of support. If someone doesn’t join maybe someone else is supposed to. I can be as simple as that, if you let it be.
It’s hard to know what to do when a person isn’t responding to you, I hope some of these thoughts help in the process. Below is a song to help inspire you. As Grant put it to me when explaining his process on The Final Contact “Now may you confidently and effectively raise the funds you need to do the work in which God has called you. May you have even deeper and more meaningful relationships as a result of your support raising efforts.”