This one will be brief… I wanted to expand upon some thoughts I initially was going to post on Twitter, but felt would be better suited for long form.
Recently I had been giving some thought to this idea of admiration — not necessarily confined to famous people — but admiration of another person, infatuation even. We choose to interact with people on the basis of common interests, similar beliefs and values, and presumably because we also like the person. However that level of interaction can also exceed its limits, and that is what this post is about.
Recently I had been put into a few situations where I found myself interacting out of habit, not necessarily because I wanted to. I am a laid back person, and consider myself very nice. I don’t like to ignore people, or seem indifferent, I aim to please. However it took me a bit before realizing that I felt uncomfortable in my interactions with some folks, and that was because I felt like they had become too frequent, too much.
Interaction is really a two-way street. Especially in instances where you don’t know the person on a one-to-one, in person basis. Sometimes in our enthusiasm for another person, we don’t realize that we are not giving that person enough space. We don’t pause to consider how they might feel by us trying to talk to them all the time, especially if they’re not the person initiating conversation.
Even if the person likes talking to you, or likes you as a person, it’s not personal. There are limits to whether any individual is going to want to engage. It feels kind of creepy when conversation and engagement is too much. Even if you don’t suspect the person doing this is crazy or insane, it’s just too much and so the interaction feels a bit… unhinged. It’s lopsided, it lacks a natural give and take — and at the end of the day we’re all just people. We put our pants on the same way, we all shit and eat (albeit some eat better than others).
I made this very mistake with a former mentor and perhaps in my own dealings with this, I finally have come to see his point of view. I’m not crazy, I would never do anything to hurt anyone, I don’t have any mental illness. However, in my enthusiasm, I would try and extend DM conversations or fav his tweets once too much. And at the end of the day, no one wants to be overly flattered. No one, because it just feels like a violation of natural space (even if that space is digital).
If people start to feel uncomfortable, if conversation lacks that natural give and take, no mater how much someone might like you, appreciate you, or even want to mentor you — they’re going to move back or possible away entirely.
So as a parting thought, always be sure you consider the other persons point of view, despite your enthusiasm. That no reply isn’t personal, it may just be because they don’t like the nature of the interaction. No one is entitled to attention, everyone is entitled to respect. Part of that respect is to also respect another persons space and time.