Five years ago I wrote about a guy who's in the people business, who I assumed was helping people and speaking to groups of people because he liked people. But when I met him he was quite unfriendly and didn't want to talk to anyone. He had no problem talking on a screen or lecturing to a group, but after he was finished, he was squeamish and avoidant, which didn't match his public persona. So I concluded that he was a phony and was only pretending to be people-oriented to help him sell books and get a following online to appear to care about helping people. It was disappointing and a turn-off, and I regretted buying his books, and decided to no longer spend time looking at anything else of his online or engaging with his content in any way. So I concluded that people who are in the people business should actually like people.
Then a couple of years ago I wrote about how I like people who like people, and I still feel that way. I've worked with people who don't like people and they think it's weird and obtrusive if anyone tries to be friendly or tries to connect. I thought I was going to meet such a person recently because they said they're outgoing, but of course it turned out to be false, which made me think about this topic again. At this point, and especially since the pandemic is over, I really don't have time for posers or people who show fake enthusiasm only to cancel at the last minute because something better came along or they've decided I'm not as important as someone else. Why waste my time? But amazingly, around the same time, I met someone who is outgoing, works with people, actually likes people, and follows through. I was surprised that the person is authentic. Especially with social media, there are so many people who craft a public identity or act like they're accepting but are really selective and superficial.
I was eating breakfast in a hotel restaurant and saw someone doing an interview on his phone, and afterward I walked up to him and asked if he had just done a livestream. He said he was recording his podcast, and we chatted about digital content and other things, then I gave him my contact info and returned to my table. Then he came to my table and asked if he can join us (my husband and me). Of course! Because we'd already gotten along, had already established a connection, sitting at our table was a logical and natural continuation of what had been previously established. There aren't many people who would do that, but it's no big deal for people who like people. We continued our conversation and talked about a lot more, then he went to a conference and I went elsewhere. He even invited us to go out that night with a group from the conference, but I thought I had plans, so I didn't go. But of course, the plans I had were cancelled at the last minute by someone who I thought would be people-oriented, so it was too late to go out with the seemingly fun group. It was one of those situations where I should've trusted my gut; sometimes I can tell if someone is going to follow through or not, but I ignored my instincts (and this has happened other times, and has even led to a Tonya Harding-type of situation, but I won't blog about that unless I become so rich I don't care anymore).
Since the guy was friendly, sincere, and interesting (and such a combination is rare), I texted him about breakfast the next morning. I didn't expect him to show up, but he did, which again seems rare in the 21st century (unless you're rich, famous, and/or powerful; then people will show up). We had another interesting conversation, and I told him I wanted to interview him for my livestream. I figured at this point he'd flake (because other people have agreed to interviews but then disappeared), but he didn't. At first, it looked like he wasn't going to show up because I heard nothing from him for half an hour. Then, just after I deleted the meeting and went to another room to watch TV, I got a text saying he was available to do the interview and was sorry for being late because he was with a client. So I reestablished the link and we did the interview for more than an hour. So again, he followed through and he was the same kind of friendly, people-oriented, authentic person he'd been when I first met him.
So all of this is to say that I still like people who like people, and people who like people follow through and aren't fake or opportunistic, and communicate appropriately and respectfully. Hopefully I'll keep meeting such cool people as the year progresses.