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