One of the most empowering moments of my professional life was when I walked out of an interview I nailed, got to the parking lot, and thought, “You know… not for me.” I sent them an email the next morning withdrawing my application, and soared high for a few weeks off of it. I had choices. What was up with that?

A few nights ago, I sent an OKCupid message to a guy who responded promptly and warmly. We traded some messages back and forth, in which we talked about geeky stuff and about work things – he and I are in similar lines.

After about ten messages, though, I had nothing. He seemed nice! He could carry on a conversation. But he hadn’t asked to meet me.

So I decided to ask him. I started a message. “This has been really fun,” I wrote. “Would you be interested in –“ No. Not working. I deleted. “This conversation has been very–“ Yick. No. Delete. “Ha! That’s true. Hey, would you like to –“ Delete delete delete delete.

I couldn’t get the message to come out feeling right, and the reason, I realized at last, was that I didn’t really want to meet this guy. He was nice! He could carry on a conversation. But I was having polite smalltalk, and neither of us was feeling a drive to move beyond it.

So I started over. “Ha! That’s valid. At least I got out on time. I need to do a load of laundry, too, but at this point I think it’s waiting for tomorrow.

Best of luck with things here!”

“Yeah, you too,” he said.

And that was all. And that was enough. I have choices. I can walk away.


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