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Ghosted....twice...by same client several months later 🤦🏻‍♀️



I'll start by saying I do not solely rely on UpWork to meet my financial obligations, so I do have the luxury of picking and choosing which, if any, projects I wish to work on.  That said, I am not hustling/grinding to secure contracts with clients, so my overall experience with clients has been relatively pleasant, albeit somewhat minimal.  


There is, however, one particular client I have encountered twice now, on two different client accounts.  The project was appealing to me, so I submitted a proposal, the conversation/discussion was positive, then when I was given the opportunity to ask questions, ghosted!  


Fast forward several months later, I encounter a similar, yet different project to which I submitted a proposal.  Come to find out, it was the same client who had previously ghosted me.  I decided to let it slide, as life happens, people die, etc.  After a lengthy conversation, I was offered the position, then when I began to ask legitimate questions that pertain to my profession (psychologist), a few were answered, then ghosted!  I followed up a couple weeks later, but no response.  


This person is still alive or, at the very least, someone is still actively using the account, as I see the green [online] dot by the name.  


What gives?!  


I'm an adult who can absolutely handle rejection (or worse...occupational hazard), but ghosting at this level is simply childish.  It actually made me laugh, then breathe a sigh of relief because I firmly believe I dodged a bullet in this case.  


I feel somewhat foolish even describing what happened, but I'm curious if this is a common practice among clients?  Randomly ghosting someone.  I imagine I'm not the only person who has experienced this, but I'd love to know how others handled their situation(s), as well as if there are any potential indicators or red flags to be on the lookout for with prospective clients?


I hope you all have a wonderful day, and avoid the 👻s.  



Community Member

As a full time freelancer, ghosting is probably in my top 3 despised behaviors on here. I rely on scheduling multiple jobs per day and when someone just disappears, leaving me hours of wasted time, it's really frustrating. Especially when it's a pre-hire thing like an interview. 

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Community Member

I feel you. Definitely not a common practice for sure. I think ghosting is still way better than"users"+"manipulators" who steal your idea and then kick you out and hire someone else with a much lower cost. I call these people  the "soul crushers". 

I have learned this lesson and will carefully review the client's history, especially how much does he/she normally pay. And also don't take it personally. Move on. The great clients who deserve your service await you. 💖

Thank you for your response.  The work I would have been doing couldn't have been stolen because I hadn't come close to producing anything at any point, but I completely understand where you're coming from.  I gotta give that client credit, though, if there was any surreptitious intent somehow involved, I'd have to say well played.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice...   

Brace yourself for all kinds of absurd situations. They will help you to become wiser and stronger. Good luck, Heather!

Community Member

There's no such thing as ghosting on Upwork.


If a client asks for my services, I bill for my time. If a client does not ask for my services, I don't spend time on the client. This is a simple concept.


If the original poster is spending unbilled time on clients, then she may need to work on getting the clients to hire more quickly, so she isn't giving away free consultation time.

I agree I could do a better job at getting clients to hire faster. 


It seems like the point at which you (and the client) determine you're a good fit for the project is when you get the contract signed and start billing regardless of whether the client has any additional questions, details, or information to provide?  You've got 20+ years of experience, so clearly you're a pro at this, although we work in two very different fields. 


Sometimes, and particularly with the case I just described, I'm the one asking the questions to determine if I can legally/ethically/competently provide the services requested.  While I still 100% agree with you, this was a long-term, 30+ hour per week project, so I wanted to cover my bases.  In any event, you've given me a lot to think about.  Thanks so much for your response.  

Community Member

I've been doing this a long time, at a certain point you can read the client just by their job posting. There are a lot of people just phishing to see what the competition is charging and what their portfolio is etc. There are also a lot of bottom feeders here, especially in my field. Look at the feedback given to the client, look at what their average payout hourly per job is, how much they have spent here, Google them look at their Facebook, Linkedin etc. Don't apply to a job that you know you'll never get, decline offers to interview for the same reasons.

Community Member

There are clients who do that. Its almost as if they just need to get relevant questions out of you- kind of like show them the way - then they either create a new, more detailed job post or they just stop responding.
Coming to think about it, the few that i have seen do that dont even have that green dot, they are almost always set to invisible and are very communicative when its them asking the questions - once its your turn, they do not respond.

I just try to ignore that bit, as long as they are not pressurizing me to answer or being rude/passive aggressive - i take the time to respond when i have it. 

Community Member

As a full time freelancer, ghosting is probably in my top 3 despised behaviors on here. I rely on scheduling multiple jobs per day and when someone just disappears, leaving me hours of wasted time, it's really frustrating. Especially when it's a pre-hire thing like an interview. 

Not everyone does the same sort of work.


I am able to accept contracts to provide consultation with zero knowledge of a client. It is common for clients to hire me to talk with them very quickly, with no prior conversation other than arranging a time. I get it that some freelancers might not feel they can do that.


But that's really the nature of consultation. I think MOST freelancers can do this, if consultation is a service they provide.

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