I’m friends with Sophie on Facebook. She was an acquaintance during high school; we might have spoken in passing a handful of times, but we weren’t really friends. We connected on Facebook in that early newcomer frenzy of requesting anyone who had graduated in your class.
It’s now twenty years after high school and through her posts, I see that Sophie and I have a common passion for sewing. She posts weekly updates about her projects, which are beautiful, and I’ve been commenting on them since we became “friends.” I’ve mentioned how lovely her work is, I’ve thanked her for sharing, I’ve even asked a related question. No response. Ever. She will reply to comments around mine, and always leave me unacknowledged.
I’ve tried to put myself in her shoes. Perhaps she can’t remember who I am and why we’re friends. Or she doesn’t like my other (often political) posts. Maybe she just doesn’t like me, period. Even so, nothing precludes her from simply answering, “Thanks.”
Today, I’m unfollowing Sophie. And here’s the thing. I have a new house with two dozen huge, bare windows. Sophie is an interior designer whose work I enjoy. I was hoping, after striking up a conversation, to hire her (for pay) to consult on window treatments for my home. Now, when I see her name, I feel rejected and I think unkind thoughts. She has lost my business.
My takeaway lesson is to be more responsive. I don’t need to be best buddies with everyone, but I will do my best to offer an acknowledgement when someone has connected with me — especially in a positive way or over a shared interest. Just think, Sophie could be cashing a check from me right now.