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"Ghosting" clients

Good day everyone!

I wish you an excellent week.


I would like to open the conversation about "Ghosting clients". I don't like to accept it, but it is very common.


I was talking about it with a new client from Australia, and she told me that as a business coach, she has been through this and that it is very common, she even told me that recently a 10-year-old client ghosted her and didn't answer her again, for that, she felt "offended."


In my case, as a freelancer on Upwork, it has been very common that once I finish a job, many times I don't hear back from them. They don't provide feedback, nor answer, much less give a review when I close the contract after one or even two months of no response.


At the end of last year, there was a difficult situation for me, when 3 hourly contracts (each client from a different company and location) suddenly stopped requesting work and didn't even answer back messages. I don't like to push a lot and message people a lot, I just write them once or twice between 1-2 months. I felt bad because they didn't even tell me, there was no more money, or it didn't work or the project was canceled, they didn't give any explanation.


Later on, I realized and deduced it, but there was no communication from the clients and when I closed the contracts after months of not having activity (even up to 6 months), they didn't even leave a review or anything ‌😐


What has been your experience?

Community Member

Literally this just happened to me. I even wrote to Upwork support because I didn't know what to do, and I certainly didn't want to leave that contract open with zero activity for weeks with no answer from the client.


This was my first job on Upwork. It was Spanish tutoring for a person who wished to improve vocabulary and fluency. We had an introduction meeting where we talked about expectations, and they agreed to pay my rate; we struggled a bit to schedule the 3-sessions a week they wanted, but eventually we agreed on a schedule and I was looking forward to our first session. The day came and this person didn't show up. I messaged them a few times on Upwork chat, and even sent an email letting them know I was waiting; 40 minutes later, they finally replied my chat and apologized profusely, asking if we could meet right then. I told them that unfortunately it wasn't possible as I had another class starting soon, and I couldn't do a 1-hour session in 15 minutes. They again apologized and promised to meet on the next date.


Well, I never heard from this person again. I figured they were busy (they mentioned that on our introduction meeting), so I tried to be patient, but every message went unanswered, so 3 weeks later, I reached out to Upwork support asking for guidance, they suggested that I end the contract but let the client know beforehand and to explain why I was doing it. So I did.


Then they showed up with some convoluted excuse about being swamped with work, but also having hired "multiple tutors" because they wanted a "broader experience." In my mind, I called BS but told them it was no problem, that I needed to cancel the contract because I had another student interested in that time slot (which I did) and they could feel free to reach out again in the future.


Honestly, if you are swamped with whatever, just say so. It takes 90 seconds to answer with two lines on a chat saying that you can't make it for a few days and sorry for the inconvenience. But just not showing up and not replying? Please. We're professional adults here.

Hi Ana María,


I completely empathize with you. I have been working through Upwork for over three years, and ghosting is common in clients.


At the end of last year, I closed 3 hourly contracts, which were my main income during 2023. I felt bad because I knew I did a good job, but they no longer replied. They just stopped requesting work for months, and I felt that if I didn't close those contracts, there would always be the possibility in the back of my mind that they would come back and continue the collaboration.


I have to mention that they were completely different projects in different regions, nothing related. I did some research independently, and from what I could perceive, the projects stopped, paused, and seemed cancelled.


The thing is that the collaborations were so nice for months that I didn't even get a warning or an explanation as to why they stopped requesting work. Even after months of no activity when I closed the contracts in December, none of those 3 clients left a review. Those have been my biggest contracts here and that really hurt my motivation. I left great reviews for them because I am grateful for the work they gave me, but I felt unmotivated for months due to their lack of communication.


I wish they could have said, we can't pay you anymore; we don't like your work, but unfortunately, it seems that it is how it works, and it is a common practice for clients.

I think it's better to just cut your losses (after giving them ample and reasonable time to appear with at least some feedback).


I'm very sorry that your clients just dissappeared like that. It's dissapointing that some people regard freelance work as a "one time tool" and don't even take the time to say thanks and leave a proper review.


On a different note, it still isn't clear for me if having an open contract with no activity for several weeks can affect the freelancer's JSS. When I contacted Support, I couldn't really get a straight answer other than "having an open contract that has no activity in a while can affect your JSS because it is considered poor experience for the client." So I didn't want to risk it and better decided to end that contract before another week began.

Hi Ana María,


I like your point of view, thank you for sharing it!


I had never inquired about the effects of having an open contract with no activity. If there was no straight answer from Upwork, and they said it might affect your JSS, I think it was good that I closed those contracts. It doesn't make sense to have active contracts without activity.


I think there should be clearer specifications on the etiquette and best practice when closing a contract that has not had activity in a while.