Life Advice



Rolodex rancher trolls contacts

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I like to reach out to former co-workers, former bosses, and former acquaintances from time to time to keep in touch so as not to lose a possible connection.

Sometimes the conversation is lovely and it's nice to hear about a person's life once or twice a year. I am genuinely happy when I get to hear about other people's successes. However, about a third of the time, I never hear back.

It's hard to know why some people don't respond. I've been told in the past that I can rub people the wrong way, and I have reached out to a few people expressly to apologize for professional disagreements we had previously. I let go of past personal and professional problems very quickly because life is too short to hold grudges.

Amy, I don't understand the satisfaction somebody gets over ignoring these quick "How're you doing" messages.

If someone is angry or thinks I'm a terrible person, why can't they just tell me?

It would take five seconds to say, "I don't think we really got along, and I wasn't very fond of you as a co-worker." I would just respond, "I'm sorry you feel that way" and then remove that person permanently from my Rolodex. Piece of cake! Instead, I imagine they just delete my email or text without reading it just because my name is attached.


Do you have any suggestions? Should I be more persistent until I get some sort of a response?

-- Dis-Connecting

Dear Dis-Connecting: You are making a choice to contact people, unsolicited. This does not obligate them to answer in any particular way.

Your insistence that people are obligated to respond honestly - even if they think you are a terrible person - is putting the burden on someone whose only crime is to be in your Rolodex. Maybe they don't think you are a terrible person, but they just don't feel like corresponding with you. Maybe they do think you are a terrible person, but are too polite (or intimidated) to say so.


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