When you’re being proactive about going out into the world and trying to connect with people, unfortunately, at some point you’re going to get ignored. It’s just part of the process.
There is always a really awkward, unpleasant window between reaching out to someone new, and getting (or not getting) a response from them. I’m a seasoned connector and reach out to people A LOT and I still feel this every single time!
First off, I want to acknowledge the fact that it sucks. Being ignored, or even outright rejected, never stops being painful. But there are a few things you can do to mitigate the feeling.
There are a number of reasons why people might ignore or reject you, and it rarely has anything to do with you. For example:
They didn’t see your message – in this digital era we’re flooded with messages all the time. Sometimes stuff gets lost.
They’re dealing with something in their own lives and are therefore on a ‘bare minimum’ routine – I’m sure you’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s just a case of bad timing.
They’re busy – especially true if you’re reaching out to someone who is super popular or successful.
You didn’t give them a compelling enough reason to respond – maybe you just struck the wrong note in your message or didn’t give them anything to actually respond to?
You misjudged the connection and asked for too much, too soon – I still do this sometimes. It’s salvageable.
It doesn’t feel like a good fit to them – this is awesome. They’ve self-selected themselves out of the equation and you can move on to people who adore you.
How do you deal with being ignored?
Here are a few of the best ways I know to take the sting out of being ignored:
Don’t take it personally
Whether someone is interested in you or not is very rarely about you. As I mentioned above, maybe it’s a timing issue, or you just don’t seem like their cup of tea. It’s absolutely fine – you’re not going to appeal to everyone. Let it wash over you and move onto the next person.
Focus on the process
Concentrate on perfecting your outreach process. Where you find new people, how you connect with them, what you say in your messages. Keep going, and keep reaching out. Try and detach from the outcome of your efforts as much as possible.
Reach out to a lot of people
The more people you’re connecting with and interacting with on a regular basis, the less it matters when someone ignores you. Your brain simply can’t keep track. If you pin all your hopes on connecting with just one person and they ignore you. It’s much more painful than if you reach out to fifty people and ten of them ignore you.
The more people you reach out to, the more rejections and unanswered messages you’re going to get. But it also means that you’re being brave and putting yourself out there which is something to be celebrated. Every rejection gets you closer to a yes.
Follow up and move on
If I don’t get a response from a message I usually follow up a week or so later. If I still don’t get a response I leave it alone and move on. If they’re interested they’ll get back to me eventually.
Stay open, curious and playful
The key to all of this is, really, is to simultaneously take it seriously and also not take it seriously. What I mean by that is that it’s important to take the idea of building connections and relationships seriously, but lighten up on each individual interaction. Stay open to the process and allow for magic and miracles. Stay curious about everyone. And stay playful about the way you interact.