You do not owe anyone your time, energy, or attention. No matter how “little” that effort is, you are never obligated.
Nearly every aspect of our lives functions in opposition to this Truth.
We are expected to exchange pleasantries. We are expected to blur the lines between professional and personal interaction. We are expected to build relationships with people who we do not wish to know more deeply.
It is the polite thing to do.
It is a poisonous thing to do.
SO many of our pleasantries are enacted in a way that create, reinforce, and perpetuate power imbalances (usually ones in which we see who can bow the lowest, and be the most apologetically servile). They intentionally blur our boundary lines.
And we are made to feel as if even w
anting these boundaries is somehow detrimental to society, shamed with “you’re too abrasive,” “you are just using people,” “you need to show you care more.”
It is not required that you bend to the whim of every entitled child who believes that you are indebted to them because they deigned to speak to you. You need not be resigned to smiling and nodding your way through a conversation so boring your brain is dying. Entertaining every person who passes through your space is not a prerequisite for being a good person.
It doesn’t matter if they are a friend
A potential client
A never-going-to-be-a client
A family member
A person who you’re not sure how they’re related to you, but they’ve always been there