Let’s Be Interesting Together

Someone contacted me via LinkedIn
with this message:
“my mentor suggested I contact you
to activate my professional network”.
This made me sad.
Sad because either the mentor is woefully
disconnected from how actual human contact works
or the person so grossly misunderstood
the direction as to render the mentoring useless.
It’s the professional equivalent of
a match.com message that reads:
I would like to buy you a drink for
the purpose of having sexual relations
with you.
Letting me know up front you’re using me
doesn’t make it any more okay or
any less icky.
Further, it violates my first rule of
relationships, professional or personal:
bother to be interesting.
I believe I learned this from an early boss
who made us practice having an opinion.
I mostly worked in fear of her throwing out a
question I could not volley back with informed curiosity.
But, like the best lessons, I learned from my
failure and never forgot it.
I like meeting strangers – I dedicate a portion
of every week to appointments for exactly this purpose.
When people reach out, my response is always the same:
I’m always interested in meeting interesting people.
The rest is up to you.

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