Reach Out, or Let it Be?
November 19, 2017 10:31 PM   Subscribe

I’m trying to decide whether to make one last attempt at contacting a person I admire, or to let it go and move on. I'm a little concerned about seeming intrusive since I discovered the person through an older blog and only found contact information indirectly.

I discovered this person via their blog (personal journal style, with few to no comments, and non-commercial). It struck me how much we had in common; I realize that may not be as rare or as meaningful as I think, but in some ways it seemed downright uncanny. After a thorough reading, I came away really admiring this person.

A while ago I left a comment on a newer blog post, hoping to get in touch. The blog had been dormant for a few months at that point and still is; I’m almost certain my comment was not seen. I also was able to find this person indirectly via Facebook search. It’s definitely the same person, and an active account with a lot of public posts. I eventually sent a brief private message referencing the blog. I have no way of knowing whether it was rejected (meaning I can’t contact the person again), ignored, or went unnoticed.

Although I’m wordy and socially awkward, I think I have a good handle on how not to be creepy, intrusive, or annoying. I would like to know if it’s okay to make one more attempt to contact this person. I was thinking of sending another short message along with perhaps a friend request.

Is this fine, or too much? I’m thinking about it three different ways:

a) Stop worrying and go for it! No matter what happens, you’ll be glad you tried. This is somewhat normal and you’re overthinking it. You’re going to be respectful, so it’s not a real imposition on the other person, who can easily ignore you.
b) This is just too much of a stretch. It’s two ships passing in the night. Appreciate what you’ve learned, and move on.
c) This is too much of a burden on the other person! There’s no way to know whether you’ll come across as intrusive. Unfortunately, you can’t prove you have good intentions, are non-creepy, won’t be annoying, and are not dangerously different than who you present yourself to be.

What am I missing here, if anything? What do you suggest I say, if I say something again? How can I get over it if I decide not to do this, or if nothing comes of it? I speak of “moving on” because I suspect my admiration for this person represents something I’m missing in my own life, so I’m wondering how to identify exactly what that means to me and how to cope with it.

NB: By all appearances, we are both women. There is no chance of romantic attraction. We are both in our twenties.
posted by Carouselle to Human Relations (9 answers total)
I would lower your expectations and assume she is not interested in connecting. That way, if she replies later, you'll be pleasantly surprised but it won't be something you've anguished over.

You commented on her blog, AND sent her a private message to a Facebook account she actively maintains. She didn't respond to either. If she is active on Facebook and is internet-savvy enough to have a blog, she likely uses the FB messaging feature and is aware of the "Message Requests" tab.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 11:01 PM on November 19, 2017 [9 favorites]

Any further attempt will come across as intrusive
posted by Kwadeng at 12:50 AM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

If she's young and has an active Facebook page, she knows how to use it. It sounds like your message has been received and she either hasn't got around to responding or doesn't want to. I'd leave it.
posted by Jubey at 1:30 AM on November 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

I would let it go. If you said what you wanted to say in the FB message, then I wouldn't try again unless she responds. I get the desire to see if she read your message, but a third try for me crosses the line into being a little bit strange.
posted by frumiousb at 1:33 AM on November 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

I agree on letting it go. For getting over it, is this an active pattern in your life with admiration and disappointment? Look at your own roots, as people are busy, and overwhelmingly have very rational reasons for no, or very slow, response. Given that there is no mutual relationship, it’s best to grant them grace and get back to living your own life.
posted by childofTethys at 4:27 AM on November 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Many people don’t accept Facebook friend requests from someone they don’t already know in another context, so I would not expect this attempt to be successful.

Truth is, a stranger saying “I love your work and I think we have a lot in common and I admire you” is a lopsided dynamic and provides little incentive for the creator to reply. She doesn’t know anything about you as well as you know her work, and you can’t provide a crash course without sounding intrusive. And, paradoxically, the more you feel like she “gets” you, the weirder it will feel to her. The best you can get is “I’m glad you enjoyed it, good luck with life.” And the more you try to get a response, the less likely she’ll want to respond. Twice is enough.

Instead of trying to reach out to her directly, think about what in her writing speaks to you, and try creating your own work using that as an inspiration. It’ll take your focus off her and more directly engage the things in your mind you’re wrestling with.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:27 AM on November 20, 2017 [9 favorites]

FWIW I am pretty computer literate and I sometimes forget check the Message Requests tab for months at a time. I think you could wait a few months and then maybe leave another blog comment.
posted by katrielalex at 7:04 AM on November 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

I speak of “moving on” because I suspect my admiration for this person represents something I’m missing in my own life, so I’m wondering how to identify exactly what that means

You already know you need to move on. Even if this person said "hey, thanks!" after the first one, you'd still need to let go of the idea that there's anything uncanny about relating to someone's writing. I'm not saying people don't connect this way, but they definitely don't connect this way after two ignored attempts.

The reality is that you don't admire the person, you admire their work, the image you built up from what they've written plus whatever you've unconsciously added, and whatever that represents to you. You don't know the person.

A ripped from the headlines exercise: imagine a filmmaker whose movies speak to you to the degree you want to personally connect. Imagine you discover they are a harasser/assaulter.

On the other side of it: a few times I've been asked out by strange men on twitter who like what I write. Each time I've been disappointed to discover they'd totally pre- constructed a version of me in their heads that I could never live up to.

In general, two unanswered contact attempts is where you draw the line. Wordiness itself is an intrusion if you don't know that it's welcome. It leaves the target thinking "what do they want from me, why do they want so much?"
posted by kapers at 8:44 AM on November 20, 2017 [4 favorites]

Been there many times. Cut your losses now and move on, appreciate the art and try to separate it from the artist. I've met tons of bloggers I admire and every single one was a huge disappointment. Your heroes are just people, unfortunately. Sometimes not even good ones.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 8:48 AM on November 20, 2017 [3 favorites]

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