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Hey A-hole, YOU gave me YOUR business card

on March 9, 2011

I go to many conferences.

I have nice conversations with people.

They give me their card.

I follow up with them.

They don’t respond.

You know what would have saved us both a lot of time and effort?

Is if you didn’t talk to me and didn’t hand me your business card. That way we both could have avoided a conversation you didn’t want to be a part of and you could have saved yourself two cents by not giving me your business card and I could have saved myself the time of entering your card into my database and writing you an email following up from our conversation.

Why are we wasting each others’ time?

Argument for fake business cards

There was a time (it probably still happens) where women would give out fake phone numbers to guys who kept hitting on them. It was a way to get rid of them while leaving them with a sense of success. The woman could have said, “Thanks, but I’m not interested.” But that may turn into a moment of confrontation, and not every woman or person has the fortitude to accept the immediate visible response of a rejection. So the fake phone number allowed one to avoid witnessing and being a part of that moment. It allowed the recipient of the fake phone number to have that false sense of accomplishment (“I got her digits!”), let him build that confidence up over time (“Where should I ask her out?”), and then let him call only to experience a more severe level of delayed rejection (“All that and she gave me a fake phone number?”). The benefit to the woman is they don’t have to witness any of this. The problem is if and when the woman runs into that guy again, it will definitely be awkward, just like it is when you run into someone who doesn’t respond to your emails.

“Oh man, I owe you an email. I’ve been really busy lately.”

Obviously not too busy to come to this party.

To send an email to someone you just met in person and not have them respond is another form of delayed rejection, but it’s even more severe, because you know the person saw the message and they chose not to respond.

For more, read “16 annoying communications that must end in 2011.”

I propose that for those jackasses who refuse to accept follow up communications with someone they just met, that they be required to carry TWO business cards: a real one and a fake one.

Here’s why a fake business card would be valuable:

  • Can avoid the awkward, confrontational, and never uttered comment, “Don’t email or call me.”
  • Upon bounce back, the person immediately knows you’re not interested in talking to them. (That’s assuming we know fake business cards are commonplace like we know fake phone numbers are common place.)
  • When you get a bounce back email, there are no more follow up emails or phone calls. This saves time for both of you.

But as mentioned above, if and when you run into this person again, you’ll have a nice awkward uncomfortable moment.

While I think it’s critical to follow up with everyone you collect a business card from, it’s impossible to change human behavior. That’s why fake business cards are the best solution. You can still be an a-hole and not respond. But this way you can quickly let someone know you’re not interested without telling them you’re not interested.

So I’m offering everyone who hands out their business card a choice. Either:

  • Print up fake business cards with fake information and hand them to people you don’t wish any further communications.
  • OR respond to emails from people who just received your business card from YOU.

Who’s willing to print up their first fake business card and send it to me? I promise not to respond.

Stock photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

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