A Piece of Unsolicited Advice

Over the past few days I’ve received a lot of messages via SMS and e-mail from people I don’t know.

I love when that happens.

It’s nice to chat, however briefly, with people who are focused on improving themselves and their world or just have something interesting to say.

On the flip side, I get a significant number of messages like, “hey, what’s up?” from people I’ve never interacted with before. I’m the type of person who generally responds to anybody who gets in contact (eventually, but usually within a day, and sometimes within minutes), but I’m making it a new rule to ignore these messages. They’re a waste of your time and my time. A missed opportunity to connect under the false assumption that pretending to be friends before we’re friends somehow works.

I understand it on some level. We were never taught how to socialize. Some kids picked it up and some didn’t. Those who didn’t either struggled up through adulthood or eventually worked on it. And those who didn’t work on it kept struggling. I can sympathize with that. But I still don’t see the point of the interaction.

Unsolicited advice: if you want to connect with someone …

a) Don’t put them on a pedestal.

b) Don’t pretend you’re friends until you are.

c) Say something of substance that elicits a response. Ask a question. Offer an anecdote.

d) Keep it short.

If you can’t follow that then wait. You don’t need to contact someone just because you can.

{ 5 comments… add yours }

Paul

I think if that feels right for you then it is right.

It doesn’t feel right for me.

Its overly complex for me. Four steps for deciding if I say hi back to a stranger who has taken the risk of being rejected seems, well, complicated.

I’m happy to find out more about people by a simple hi back to them.

If they don’t follow up and engage that’s fine. I’ve lost little.

I like taking small risks that have a potentially large upside.

Nice site

Namaste x

Reply

Karol

That’s a cop out. But it’s OK.

Reply

Jennifer

Agreed.

a) pedestal = people devaluing themselves which is sad to see plus cheerleader friendships are superficial based on ‘heroic you’ versus ‘true you’, warts and all.

(That’s not to say that I don’t call up cheerleaders when I’m feeling really down, but my closest friends are bluntly honest and especially tell me when I’m being stupid. Cheerleaders can’t do this.)

b) “Hey, what’s up” and c) not offering anything = salesy, desperate, or a leech that wants to suck you dry only interested in what you can do for them.

d) Brevity = respecting others’ time. If people don’t want to respect your time, why should they expect more of it?

Reply

Henk

I agree with Karol to some extent. If he would answer every ‘hi how are you’ email, people who actually have valid questions or want to show results might not get answered at all due to the pile of unneeded emails in his mailbox.

I do however understand, that for many people the socializing part has almost become a standard. You’re not doing business with him however. You have a question or result, he replies. End of story. It can be as simple as that.

Over the past few years I’ve mailed with Karol several times ( and trust me, there were a lot of stupid, unneeded questions between those) which basically resulted in 3 kinds of replies.

-short answers without enthusiasm. This was usually to the casual, friendly mails without valid input. After a while I figured it must have been a pain in the butt answering such emails all the time, so I stopped those type of emails.

-Moderate to long replies with plenty of enthusiasm. When I asked something straight up, or showed a result I’ve reached, I’ve always gotten an honest, direct reply, giving me great value, linking me to additional things he wrote related to the matter to help me out.

-straight up, honest answers. Sometimes I had questions he didn’t knew the answer to. He always told me straight away when he knew nothing about a subject, without trying to sell me any type of nonsense. I appreciated this.

Thanks to people like Karol, I’ve managed to successfully get away from being a slave of society. I now travel the world, teaching in a different country every year, enjoying every bit of it. Thanks to his unique combination of business related matters and self motivational related matters I’ve come over my insecurity and just went for it. Best decision in my life.

I can imagine he wants to help more people, instead of constantly replying ‘thanks, I’m fine’. That time could have been put in creating content or helping a person with valid questions.

Henk

Reply

Rachel

Hi – the problem I have with “Hey what’s up” communications, is they make a demand from me (that I reply with details of what’s going on in my life) while offering me nothing.

I see it as they person is sending me a demand for information about me and my life whilst giving nothing of themselves. Apart from anything else it’s rude & I would never dream of communicating with anyone this way.

And they are lazy.
And pointless.
And they aren’t personal.

Never feel bad about ignoring these messages. If someone really wants to have a meaningful communication with you they will.

Reply

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