Imagine if you will, a friend tells you they found an unwelcome guest had been in their house. Not necessarily a burglar or anything like that, but simply someone who saw the door was unlocked, and decided to walk in, grab a cold one, pop it open and then put their feet up and start watching TV. Finally they finished watching TV and left. The only thing left behind was a note that said, “Hey, I noticed you had a really nice house, and a nice taste in beverages and your TV is really kick-ass. Hope you don’t mind me checking it out. I’d love to get to know you better and perhaps replace the cold one I drank. Thanks”
Your friend is understandably upset. They feel violated and they post their anger about it.
Now I want you to ask yourself, how would you react?
Would you tell them, “well you should lock your door?” That may seem like good advice, but I suspect your friend has already thought about it. And perhaps they had good reason to leave the door unlocked (perhaps they were just out for a bit and expecting an actual welcome guest to pop in?) In any case, probably not the most useful advice and in a sense is putting the burden on your friend.
Would you commensurate with? Give them a hug and tell them how you sympathize and how you share their concerns? I’d hope so. Your friend has just shared something traumatic with you. They are most likely looking for some comfort.
Would you suggest to your friend that perhaps they should figure out who this person is and take the time to tell them that going into people’s houses uninvited is not a good idea? Let’s ignore the difficulty of figuring out who the person is (perhaps they left their address in hopes your friend would contact them). I would certainly hope you would not do this. First of all, it’s not your friend’s responsibility to tell a complete stranger how to behave. Secondly, you’re now putting the pressure on the victim here and potentially adding to their trauma. There really is no upside to this approach. Just DO NOT DO THIS!
Now, imagine it’s the complete stranger is actually your friend who did this. You hear their story of how they basically played Goldilocks for a day in someone else’s house. This time, ask yourself the question, would you expect the home owner to tell them what they did was wrong or would you think perhaps you as a friend should point out how egregious their behavior was. This is where your focus should be. Making sure the people around you don’t do this. Not telling the homeowners to give this lesson.
To whose who are saying “well the above is a made up scenario” you’re right. It is.
But replace the house and the cold one and the TV with an unsolicited email via a professional site like LinkedIn. It’s the same effect.
Let’s play a little game here. You may recall it from Sesame Street. It’s called “One of these things is not like the other.”
- Adult Friend Finder
- SQL Saturday
- Local User Group Meeting
- Your local Singles Group
In the first case, one of those sites is definitely not a place to try to hit on people. It’s a professional site to maintain professional contacts. The other sites are designed to find dates
In the second case, one of those places is definitely a place appropriate place to try to hit on someone. The other two, not so much.
If you can’t tell the difference, my advice, stay away from all of the above until you can.
The take-away: Don’t put the burden for teaching proper behavior on the subject. Take it on yourself and make sure you don’t know anyone who would presume to use a professional site in such an unprofessional manner.
This post may or may not have been inspired by true events. Does it matter?