My post two months ago on staying in touch with your network brought out some folks I hadn’t heard from in awhile. They were all welcome reconnects, save one. I barely knew her—my only memory was having my brain picked shamelessly on our sole meeting. Her immediate request after 2 years of radio silence was (more) free advice on shuttering her business.
Now I have a very simple philosophy about people in crisis. They are in a sucky spot, so if I can help them, I almost always say yes.
While I didn’t accept her lunch invite, we set a date to meet by phone. When she didn’t call on time, I called her. No answer. Left a voicemail. 5 minutes, no response. Sent an email. 10 minutes, no response. 15 minutes turned into never. Yep, I never heard from her again (I actually trolled the obits for a couple of days thinking something terrible must have happened).
I don’t know if she was run over by a truck, overcome by catastrophe or just a thoughtless airhead.
She burned a bridge.
Not with any flair, but in the most dull, unimaginative way possible. I’ll always wonder what happened to her (and not in a good way).
So I decided then and there that if I decide to burn a bridge (which I’d only do with careful thought), I’m gonna do it with style. I will pirouette as I light the match. There will be no guessing as to my intent.
Note: while full flaming public bridge burning should be a last resort, here’s an example of a plagiarizer who sorely needed a bitch-slap to change her copyright-infringing ways.
None of this changes my mind about doing favors for my pals and those in sore need. But this particular person won’t be seen again on my calendar.
When is it good—or bad—to burn a bridge?
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