Ghosted in the workplace? Here’s how to respond.


At first, I believed my coworker’s BS. “Jenna” and I have been good friends for years, and I helped get her a job as our general manager’s executive assistant. So when Jenna said she accidentally left my name off the meeting invite, I believed her. But it happened again. And again.

I can’t stand meetings, but they matter in our company, and missing these meetings cost me. I wasn’t present when others made crucial decisions and thus missed out on opportunities I would have wanted.

We all work remotely, meaning I couldn’t walk down the hall and drop into Jenna’s office. I called her, but my message went to voicemail. I called Jenna three more times over the next two days and, when I got the “mailbox is full” message, drove by her house. That may sounds stalkerish, but we often visit each other’s homes. I saw the lights on, but she didn’t answer the door. I got back in the car and texted her, but she didn’t respond.

If Jenna was only my friend, I could roll with this. But she’s the GM’s executive assistant, and her actions might damage my career. The only thing I can think of is she’s ghosting me because she’s done that with male relationships. I just never expected Jenna to do it with me.

How can I find out why she’s doing this, and what I can do to fix it? I hesitate to speak to the GM, as that feels like declaring World War III. He really likes Jenna and will probably tell me to work it out with her. But how? I don’t know what there is to work out. I’ve been obsessing about what I’ve done wrong.


Stop obsessing. You may have done nothing wrong. In recent years, ghosting — leaving others hanging without explanation or follow-up communication — has moved from the dating world into the workplace. Employers have experienced ghosting in applicants who accept jobs but never report for work. Coworkers who suddenly, completely and without explanation cease all communication baffle their colleagues.

According to the Thriving Center of Psychology’s recent survey, 86% of people 18 to 42 report being ghosted. One in three don’t consider ghosting bad, and 75% even view it as appropriate behavior in certain situations.


Don’t expect to learn why Jenna’s ghosting you. If she’s immature enough to wield her power as an executive assistant by leaving you off two meeting invites — the first omission might have been accidental — and then avoid your calls and texts, she might hide the truth. You might have hurt Jenna’s feelings or upset her. She may feel jealous of or threatened by you. I suspect she’s conflict-avoidant, lacks the skills to be upfront and has learned ghosting works for her.

Your job: respond with professionalism, emotional maturity and respect for her as well as yourself. Give Jenna a last chance. Send her a polite, nonconfrontational message, noting you were left off three meeting invites, understand the first time was accidental but that the two later instances trouble you. Ask her to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Your email might fix the situation. Some individuals ghost to avoid uncomfortable situations, negative reactions or difficult conversations. By offering Jenna a solution, you remove the workplace problem. If it doesn’t, give your general manager the facts. Take a copy of your email along with your documentation concerning the three meeting invitations to the general manager and ask him if there’s a reason why three meeting invitations lack your name. While he may like Jenna, he can’t afford continued ghosting games — nor can you.

Lynne Curry | Alaska Workplace

Lynne Curry writes a weekly column on workplace issues. She is author of “Navigating Conflict,” “Managing for Accountability,” “Beating the Workplace Bully" and “Solutions,” and Submit questions at or follow her on, or @lynnecurry10 on X/Twitter.