This morning, I declined a request to connect on LinkedIn. It was tougher to do than you might expect. I’d delayed it for months. Why did it take so long? Because of the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
We live in the era of FOMO. That fear leads people to do things simply because they don’t want to forgo possible positive consequences. Note there is no guarantee of positive consequences, just the perception that they are possible.
Let’s look at this particular LinkedIn request. I didn’t recognise the name or profile photo of the man who sent me the request. I didn’t know the reason behind the request. If he hadn’t made the request to connect, I would have had no reason to do so myself.
Yet I wondered if connecting with him might have some positive result. I had no idea what that result might be. Perhaps a job offer? Or an opportunity to collaborate on some potentially interesting project? The defining feature of the potential positive result was that it was undefined.
I delayed declining the request due to my own FOMO.
And then I came to a conclusion. I have not a single reason in the world to connect with someone I don’t know or know of. I have real connections that are much more worthwhile and there are people I’m not yet connected to who could actually enrich my life.
I was wasting my time and energy worrying about this one person. In the grand scheme of my life, he doesn’t matter at all and never will. And at that point, I declined the invitation and started to write this blog post.
It’s easy to get stuck in the detail of a small decision. When that happens, the solution involves stepping back and seeing things from a global perspective. If it’s not important then, just make the decision and move on.
And if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn (or any other platform, for that matter), make some effort. Give me a reason to say yes. Claire Diaz-Ortiz has some solid advice in this regard:
From now on, if I get generic requests to connect from people I don’t know, I’m just going to decline them. It’s not worth my time and effort to even consider accepting such requests.