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You see a person’s name in your daily online activity, though you probably haven’t had any real contact with them for years. It’s not that you don’t want to, because you harbor no ill will to the person, but you wonder if you’ve done something that may have annoyed them in the past. And though they haven’t pulled the trigger on removing you entirely, you wonder if maybe you’re on the bubble.

You try posting something subtle, perhaps to get their attention, perhaps to prove to yourself that you’re worth talking to, that you’re still witty and fun. But there’s no response, and you’re left to wonder if it would be weird to just say hi and get it over with.

Of course, then you get gun-shy, worrying that you’d likely catch them at the worst possible moment, like right before they sign off to go to the bathroom or into a crappy meeting or to lunch. And, you don’t want to be a bother, but you’d like to remain friends with the person, maybe spending a few minutes to find out what they’re up to.

But the fear of saying something overwhelms you, and rather than put yourself out there and being a bother, you just stare at their name idling in the chat screen, from green to orange, from orange to green, until the day is over and it’s time to go home for another day.

And, so is born the feeling of being completely connected and yet totally isolated from the people in our lives. Sending only the energy waves of positive regard to the people you can’t quite muster the courage to say hi to. Being rejected by strangers is nothing compared to being rejected by people who actually know you and can thereby make an informed decision.