Recently, I gave some free professional advice to a former colleague. They responded with very sharp words saying they did not want unsolicited advice. My reply was that I would no longer give any advice.
The former colleague’s sharp words resulted in my future unwillingness to help them. They basically burned their bridges.
As a follow-up, I sent a separate email the next day, apologizing for my quick response. I haven’t heard back. My initial comment may have been on a bad day for them, but their sharp words really put me off.
The main lesson from this little story is to be gentle in your responses to people. You don’t know when you will need their help in the future. Read your comment or email again before you hit the “send” button.
Image credit: Nick Perla on Flikr.