When I was a student, our flatmate Ian would constantly badger us for advice about his relationships, which always foundered after a week or two.
I’m not surprised if I’m honest – he was good looking but he was also a tw*t – and his main problem was he had no emotional intelligence. He thought human relationships could be reduced to a mathematical equation. If you only put in the right data, you’d get the result you wanted. “Sally said she really enjoyed our first date but that she’s too focused on her work right now to commit to a relationship. Is it because I took her to the cinema instead of for a pizza?” he’d ask. No, Ian, it’s because you are a tw*t, we’d helpfully say.
Because, as everyone except Ian knows, relationships can’t be prescribed in that way. They don’t run according to a formula, and what’s true of romantic relationships is true of professional ones as well. There is no system you can follow that will guarantee success. For all that we columnists might say “address us by name”, “keep your emails brief”, “think about the subject line”, “give us three examples to establish a trend”, “include good photography”, etc, often it’s just about whether an idea clicks.
So yes, you can follow all this advice if you like – and I hope some of it is useful – but don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t bring immediate results. You are probably doing everything right. It’s not you, it’s us.
So the most important thing? Don’t lose heart. Keep plugging away and your hard work will be rewarded.
It worked for Ian, by the way. Last time I heard, he was happily married with two kids. Bet he’s still a tw*t, though.