Death of the Courteous Reply

On an almost daily basis I am astonished at the lack of response from people I email. Some of them I know and some of them I don’t. Some of the emails that I send are to friends or colleagues and some are sent for business reasons to people I know and some I don’t know.

But no matter, there are still a number of people who just don't respond. I wonder: should I take this personally? In short, the answer is no. Why not? I think of it as people leading busy lives. It kind of lets them off the hook and somehow it says that it's ok. But in a business setting we all are busy and yes we do receive the odd email wanting something from you that you just are not interested in giving. This has become a cultural epidemic in some countries and some cultures and I suppose it has somehow become acceptable.

But, there are many countries and cultures that find this lack of response both disrespectful and offensive. I was given some very sound advice in the early 90s:

"Bill, never be rude or disrespectful to a Headhunter. One day you may need one as a friend..." ; -)

I have since applied this to many areas in my professional life with great success, and most specifically, when dealing with other cultures.

So, when receiving emails from someone whom you are not interested in communicating with, think about taking a couple of seconds to write them back and at least telling them, "thanks but no thanks". You never know. You may find that one day you need something from them.


Leave a comment

Available formatting commands

Use Markdown commands or their HTML equivalents to add simple formatting to your comment:

Text markup
*italic*, **bold**, ~~strikethrough~~, `code` and <mark>marked text</mark>.
- Unordered item 1
- Unordered list item 2
1. Ordered list item 1
2. Ordered list item 2
> Quoted text
Code blocks
// A simple code block
// Some PHP code
[Link text](
Full URLs are automatically converted into links.
© HSA Global