When to choose not to connect with people

November 5, 2014 by Joshua
in Choosing/Decision-Making, Exercises

A reader wrote to ask about choosing not to meet or make connections with people. I thought others might find the answer useful.

Hey Josh.

I was just wondering. You seem to place a lot of value on having relationships with people.

Are there times you don’t want a relationship with someone?

I suppose in negotiations it is in your own interest to have a good relationship for at least the duration of the negotiations.

Are there times when you think, “I just don’t like this guy, fuck him”?

I think I remember you talking about people being worth your time or something like that. I might remember wrong.

I guess it’s a lot different in business, than in just normal life.

What’s your thoughts on this?

I answered:

Yes, there are times like that, although I don’t think “fuck him/her.” I think something more like, “Time with this person isn’t improving my life and it’s taking time from someone who does improve my life.” Then I move on. No ill will, but there are seven billion people in the world and there isn’t enough time to meet them all. Meanwhile, I want to enjoy my life as best I can.

At networking events, a lot of people try to meet as many people as they can or walk away with as many business cards as they can. I don’t work that way. I try to make meaningful connections with the people I connect with most. That doesn’t mean the first person I talk to. Until I meet a few people, I don’t know whom I’ll make the best connections with. I have to talk to a few to learn something about them first. That means meeting and moving on quickly with a few. Walking away opens up both of our times to meet someone we can connect with more.

That’s why I’ve valued learning to make meaningful connections fast. So I spend less time talking about weather, sports, and traffic, which I hear a lot of people talking about at social events. I don’t find such conversations meaningful or improving my life.

My answer reminds me of my post, “When and how polarizing helps.” I think the principles of that post apply.

Read my weekly newsletter

On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Reply

Sign up for my weekly newsletter