I saw you see me and try to act like you didn’t.
I could have ignored you, too, and at another time I would have, but not this time. This time, I walked over and said hello. Why not? I know you. You know me.
I used to order flowers from your company back when I had “the title.”
When I said hello, you stopped and got ready to settle in for a conversation. “Hope you’re having a good summer,” I said and walked away to find the merchandise I was planning on buying.
I know about private time.
I know about just planning to run into a place and do what you need to do to get out.
But Boston, well, Boston is small and it’s fairly certain you’re going to run into people you know from your professional life no matter where you go. So you’ve got to be ready. Saying hello, acknowledging the other people’s presence is all that is required.
If the other party seems to want to take up more time than you want to give, it’s okay to say, “I’d really love to chat but I’m dashing right now.” You might even add, if appropriate, “Let’s together soon.”
I saw you (different you than above) see me and dismiss the thought of acknowledging me. After all, I no longer have “the title” any more. I have no juice or at least no juice that you find useful any more. You’re not trying to get a film into the film festival I used to direct, or participate in the open studios that I founded, or get your child’s piece published in the literary annual I published, or attend a reception for these or other events that I used to produce. The process to get into any of these events was always open and publicized but still, you were one of those people trying to curry favor (or get a free ticket). I understand. But did you have to be so blatant?I saw you (still a different you) see me and dismiss me with a smirk because I am no longer at the head table. We used to collaborate together. I reached out to you to join the program. Remember? I found the grants, shared the photo ops, wrote the recommendations, etc. I shared information , ideas, time and resources. I can not for the life of me figure out what I did that would make you no longer feel the need to speak. I realize, now, that we were never friends, only long-term acquaintances who collaborated on several events.
Hello. Hi, there. What’s up? These are simple words. Their really all that we owe each other as human beings when we encounter each other, simple acknowledgment.
I apologize to those people that I’ve dissed (although sometimes I really didn’t see you ’cause I don’t have the best sight in the world). I’m doing better at that. Sometimes I didn’t speak because I was shy. Sometimes because I didn’t want to interrupt the conversation you were having. I do aim to speak to everyone I see when I walk these days, not worrying ‘bout whether or not they speak back.
I don’t mind, so much, when strangers don’t speak. They don’t know me, haven’t been to my house, eaten food I prepared, benefited from information I researched and shared. I do mind when people I know choose not to give me the courtesy of a greeting.
There. I’ve vented. I feel better now.
You know, I’ve read your blog on and off, and just saw the previous post (about the books) and this post. I’m amazed that a school would get rid of books. What in the world are they thinking?
I totally understand this post too. I felt the way you do right now for a long time. Like people looked past me because of the fact they didn’t think I had anything to offer them.
I applaud your commitment to speak to people and engage them.
Thanks so much for your comment. To paraphrase a line I read in a book, What’s Next: Career Strategies after 35, “any friend that doesn’t protect their interest in you, deserves to lose you.” I am not feeling low self esteem or anything like that. I have just noticed the slights that have come from these few people who knew me in my previous position. Luckily there are dozens of others who have spoken and even hugged me when they see me.