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Where Is The Line Between Professional and Personal?

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Recently I had an exchange with a vendor. My personality dictates that I consider everyone I interact with as a person, and not as someone I can yell at and throw insults towards. We all have a job to do, right? But this recent exchange left me wondering -- where do we draw the line between being professional with a business contact, versus treating them as a personal one?

What made this particular exchange confusing was that the vendor invited me to text with him to save time. We texted about possible orders, designs that needed drawings and specifications, etc. Then, as texts often do, we tossed around a few jokes, at which point the vendor just stopped replying. I was left feeling like he got what he wanted from me, and just walked away. I felt used.

Welcome to business, I guess..?

Now, I consider texting to be a personal means of communication. It's one thing to exchange email addresses, but when you give someone your cell number, that is a whole other level of contact. After all, we share our cell numbers with family, with friends, and typically those close to us. Is it too much to assume that if you give your cell number to a person, any person, that there is a personal level of communication there. Maybe I'm just wrong, or else I assume too much. He was after all a salesman.

The point is that I assumed that using texts opened up the business relationship into a personal one, and apparently I was wrong. Yet I have many vendors who I am friends with -- great folks who are friendly but also sincere when they ask me "how's your day going?". This is how all business relationships should be.

... because at the end of each day, we are all just working for a living, right..?