It bugs me when people don't reply, can't say no, can't admit they're not interested.
This happens quite a bit when I query agents. I may not hear back after following the agent's guidelines, filling out a Query Manager form, and sending a professional query letter. No word = no thank you. In the past this wasn't the case. Agents actually got back in touch through snail-mail. But these days, agents claim they're overwhelmed with submissions and don't have the time to respond.
What surprised me was other professionals have adopted this behavior, too. Six years ago, when I tried to promote my book, I found that newspaper journalists, librarians, and teachers didn't have the courtesy to get back in touch with me. None of them returned my phone calls, texted me or emailed me. I was left hanging with the hope they'd be interested in writing a newspaper review, or having me lead a storytime, or inviting me to school to meet young readers. Though my book was traditionally published, it didn't warrant their attention. This was eye-opening, sad, and disappointing.
Unfortunately, this attitude is prevalent beyond the book world and into our daily lives. Last month, I contacted a handyman who was recommended on Next Door . He stopped by our house to look at the projects and told me he'd send a quote. After waiting two weeks, I sent an email to remind him. He never responded. Okay, I get it. He really wasn't interested, but couldn't he have responded to my email?
Now here's the thing. I'd like to warn other people about this fellow. This guy is not reliable and may not follow up. But I won't. He has my email and my cell phone number. And he knows where I live. I'm not careless or stupid. It takes very little to set someone off. So, I'll do nothing. Stew, yes. But quietly.
It's a shame some people feel that they don't need to respond, that no response speaks for itself. But come on man, that's so rude. And it boils down having no respect for others. People have gotten self-centered. They don't think about (or care about) another person's feelings. It doesn't occur to them to be nice, to get back in touch, to send a reply.
While writing this post, I found an article that was helpful in dealing with people who don't have the courtesy to say no thanks. In "No Thanks, 3 Things You Can Do When People Don't Respond to Your EMail," I learned not to take it personally and to move on.
This article made me feel I'm not alone. It gave me the go ahead to reach out to other people. People I can count on. In the future, I will reach out to my publisher to help me contact journalists, teachers, and librarians. And outside the writing world, I will reach out to more conscientious handymen.
Sometimes it's hard to avoid people who choose not to reply. The thing is, I don't have to let them get me down. True, their rudeness gets under my skin, but the power is in my hands. I don't have to deal with these kind of people. When someone shows me their true colors, I can move on. I have the choice to work with people who will treat me with the decency I deserve.
À la prochaine!