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Following the Rules

How Not to Network

“You’re not actually reading that.” Our babysitter sat on the floor listening to me read for the first time.

“Yes I am!” I tried to convince her.

I’d been working on this performance for months, memorizing the words adults used when they read the book to me. I’d heard it hundreds of times.

Best book ever.

Best book ever.

The preparation made no difference; she saw right through me.

I lied to a girl. We scheduled a time and place, and I went to where we were supposed to meet. She said she’d be a little late and I just went home.

I told her I’d gotten the restaurant wrong and was lost, so we texted back and forth for twenty minutes before she stopped responding.

Later that day I told her the truth, I told her I’d messed up. I tried to reschedule, but I never wanted to go and she could sense it. She knew I didn’t want her.

“People disappear sometimes.”

That’s all my roommate could say.

After freshman year of college, half my friends moved away or dropped out. I was sitting in the middle of our living room about to cry.

“People disappear, and they never come back, and that’s how life works.”

I didn’t want to believe him.

A few days ago I was sitting in a simulcast of the New York Tech Meetup. Afterward a group of us were standing around having a conversation, I got their contact info, and followed up with all of them. Then it was time to go.

“Here.” A man handed me his business card. He half smiled.

“Thanks.”

There was no connection, no “let’s talk,” or “sorry we couldn’t connect.”

He gave me one syllable and wanted access to my entire network; he wanted me to do something for him.

He didn’t know me, he didn’t know what I thought about or who I was, he didn’t even know what job I did.

I left his card on a table and walked out.

When was the last time you lied?