Something bad happened this week. Or maybe it happened in March.

I've been using LinkedIn to help build professional relationships for mutual benefit. I also happen to be for hire. In March, I successfully used my network to get introduced to someone at one of the companies on my short list. (If you know me well, then you know that it is a very short list and you can recite it.) He called me and we had what I thought was an interesting and friendly conversation. He gave me a green light to invite him to connect on LinkedIn. So I did.

Four months later he still hadn't accepted my invitation. There are all kinds of LinkedIn users, so it's not unusual for someone to not notice for several months that he/she has been invited.

This week, as I'm attempting to strengthen my relationships with that company and leverage my specialization in a particular instruction set architecture with mixed results, I decided to give him a call. I reached his voice mail and left him a short and pleasant message, reminding him that I would like to connect on LinkedIn. Keep in mind that this is my first contact with him in four months, hardly to be considered nagging.

The next day I received the following email from him with the subject, "Please leave me alone":


I received you phone call last night. I did not forget about your invitation, it was ignored. I initially was glad to help you but after talking with you I do not feel comfortable having you in my network. The damage is already done with me and would recommend that you careful when you are dealing with others. I know that I am not the first person who you turned off.

Please do not attempt to contact me. This issue is closed.

He sent this from his corporate email address and sent a copy to a friend of mine at the same company, also to his corporate email address!

Am I stumbling through life pissing people off without even realizing it? I'm really a nice guy. I want most to apply my considerable talent and join the cause that any one of the companies on my short list represents. I also want to learn from the capable people around me and enhance their careers through my presence and actions. The focus is unselfishly on the product and things tend to fall into place when we do that. It's hard to believe that I would be so misunderstood (or underestimated).

The email above is not particularly helpful, except perhaps to point out that I need to be more perceptive in interpersonal relationships. I have absolutely no idea what I did to turn this person off. Feedback would be constructive. I am very thick-skinned. I can take it and I invite it, from all of you.

Life is too short to bad mouth this person for ...

I don't need to finish that sentence. Just know that I want to make people happy. And there's no way that I'm going to cross that company off my list.