What to do when people walk away

what-to-do-when-people-walk-awayI’m going to share something with you.

Whenever I write something new on my website, people get rid of me.

It’s true.

I have an electronic mailing list of subscribers, and whenever I send an email to say that I have updated my site, someone always leaves.

I know when people leave because my mailing list provider sends me a message to tell me that someone has left.

So every time you see a fresh update on here, it will result in someone getting fed up of hearing from me, and so unsubscribing from my list.

It will happen now that I have posted this. I can almost guarantee it. It’s like a law of nature.

There was a time when this might have worried me, and I would hold back from sharing with my subscribers for fear of people getting irritated.

But let me share something else with you.

When I write something on my site and share it with people on Facebook, Twitter and my mailing list, TEN times the amount of people read my site than on other days. That’s right. Ten times the amount.

I realised that it makes no sense to stay timid for fear of annoying those already on the edge of annoyance with you. Let them go.

Instead, it made more sense to keep sharing for those hundreds who were eager for more.

I think this has a lesson in life too.

When you are relentlessly you, it acts as both a magnet and a filter.

Some people will run a mile to get away from you.

Others will run a mile to get to you.

But hide yourself and what happens? Nobody is moved at all.

So be bold enough to be who you are. Know that there are tons of others just like you, and they need you to be as true to yourself as you can be.

You can live life in fear of offending those who aren’t that bothered about you anyhow. Or you can live expressing yourself and your personality for the ones who can’t get enough of you.

If I followed my fears, I wouldn’t be posting this, and I certainly wouldn’t tell you about it for fear of getting on your nerves.

But I’m okay about getting on your nerves. Because I know you can just walk away. And that’s okay too.

Many people with mailing lists ask me how often they should send out mailshots. “Should I only do it monthly?” they ask.

Hell no. Share what you want as often as you feel like sharing it.

Yes, some will walk away. Celebrate it.

Why live your life timidly hoping to keep hold of those who aren’t that interested in you anyhow?

Be you. Express yourself. Share yourself. The people you’re meant to be around will naturally swarm to you.

Oh, and this post isn’t really about mailing lists.


  1. Sandra Burlace - January 4, 2014 @ 1:25 pm

    Those lines:

    When you are relentlessly you, it acts as both a magnet and a filter.
    Some people will run a mile to get away from you.
    Others will run a mile to get to you.
    But hide yourself and what happens? Nobody is moved at all.

    Those lines are very powerful.
    I wanted to be loved for being me.
    That doesn’t mean I won’t act in ways that are Sandra centred or impulsive or without care for those around me …in fact its the opposite because I’m busy polishing myself into a more rounded version of me.
    It really hurts when someone leaves because I’m me…but one thing is sure….I’m me in glorious technicolour and I revel in using all the colours of the rainbow in all areas of my life.
    I’m learning to love me x

    Thanks for another excellent post Al.

  2. Janet Mears - January 4, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

    How right you are Alun, I used always to worry what others thought of me & it worried me to the point of making myself ill. Now I think if you dont like me the way I am that is your loss not mine.Keep emailing.
    Good post Sandra.

  3. alunparry - January 4, 2014 @ 2:00 pm

    Thanks for sharin your thoughts Sandra.

    We all want and deserve to be loved for who we are.

    If we get love by not being truly ourself then we can’t ever be truly loved. It is the fictional character that we play like an actor that gets the love.

    So once again we miss out.

    The very manipulation of changing ourselves to attract love is also the device that ensures that we don’t get it.

    The fictional character we built is getting that love instead.

    I’m happy that you’re learning to love you, and to be you.

  4. alunparry - January 4, 2014 @ 2:05 pm

    Hi Janet

    Fear is a distorting thing. So much so that being myself feels really hard sometimes and I feel myself get bent out of shape.

    The best I can do is to remember that by being me I am sending out the right broadcast signals to the kind of people who will nourish me, and me them.


  5. alunparry - January 4, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

    NEWSFLASH : Someone just unsubscribed from my mailing list. Told ya ;-)

  6. Louise Baldock - January 4, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

    Hi Al,

    Happy New Year, I hope that 2014 sees you enjoy yet further the new spirit of openness and self-awareness that you began in 2013.

    I wont be unsubscribing to your emails (as if!), but wanted to point out what we all know really; some people unsubscribe because they simply have too much stuff in their inbox particularly after a long festive period when they have not been looking at their emails and can’t face wading through everything.

    It needn’t be anything to do with the person who is sending emails or the contents within either.

    I have unsubscribed to all sorts of things lately simply because I am overwhelmed, so you don’t have to take it as a personal response in any case – unless you want to.

    Lots of love, Louise xx

    PS the link didn’t work properly for me so I have come to this post via Google

  7. malika - January 4, 2014 @ 3:33 pm

    ‘Why live your life timidly hoping to keep hold of those who aren’t that interested in you anyhow?’

    This is a very relevant message to me right now. Thank you for sharing

    Happy new year xD

  8. Del Pickup - January 4, 2014 @ 9:44 pm

    Thanks Alun, that is a great observation and analysis, and a viewpoint I will try to adopt. Cheers :-)

  9. alunparry - January 4, 2014 @ 11:47 pm

    Hi Louise

    Happy new year to you.

    Thanks for the pointer. You’re right, I did send the wrong link. I’ve sent the right one out now.

    You’re right that people leave for all sorts of reasons. Which is another reason not to fret.

    I see it as a metaphor. It’s easy to rein yourself in to avoid annoying those who aren’t mad keen on you. But it’s okay for them to walk away. We can too easily give in to fear if we’re not vigilant, but the magic is always elsewhere.

    Thanks for loving me so much that you went to the trouble of finding it on Google :-)


  10. alunparry - January 4, 2014 @ 11:49 pm

    Hi Malika

    I’m glad that the post helped.

    Here’s wishing you a bold and brave New Year.


  11. alunparry - January 4, 2014 @ 11:51 pm

    Hi Del

    Thanks for the feedback. Let’s know how it goes now you’re choosing to live life without focusing and being limited by the fear. Exciting times!


  12. Kay - January 5, 2014 @ 12:22 am

    Wise words, Alun Ji.
    Sponteneity is a great wisdom.
    Proud to know you xx

  13. Tony - January 5, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

    Thanks Al
    Its just nudged me into doing something id been putting off for some time.


  14. alunparry - January 5, 2014 @ 9:08 pm

    Hi Kay

    Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you found sometihng in them.



  15. alunparry - January 5, 2014 @ 9:09 pm


    I really love that it’s had that effect. If you’re willing to share, I’d love to know what it nudged you to do.


  16. Tony - January 6, 2014 @ 8:48 am

    Hi Alan
    Well it feels trivial of course and so i even delayed coming back to you because of that. Ha!

    Im in my 50s living in Newcastle.Just getting to grips with social media. In particular I’m finding twitter really useful and interesting. Im following many interesting people and organisations which stimulates me in many ways and motivates me to do more political and charitable work.

    My teenage niece down in Halifax at University at leeds is an expert on Facebook as might be expected. I don’t know her very well.
    She posted on FB asking generally for help with Twitter as she didn’t understand it and wanted to get started, however nobody responded

    I deliberated going on to FB and giving her guidance. I feared ridicule by her and maybe her friends, but did think Twitter could really help her in her studies and in many other ways. Anyway i did it and it went fine.
    Not sure how i feel about it yet but i think positively

    Fear of ridicule eh !

  17. alunparry - January 6, 2014 @ 9:04 am

    Hi Tony

    I relate to that. I’m sure many others do too.

    I think this stops us doing lots of things.

    I have something closely related to that which gets in my way. It’s five words that I hear when I decide to do something new.

    “Who the fuck are you?!”

    So when I decided to train as a psychotherapist I was anxious about telling people as I thought they’d laugh, and say “You? Who the fuck are you?”

    In fact, I’d say it’s a limit that has held me back lots and I’ve spent a lot of energy overcoming that voice.

    It’s great to do what you’ve done and just go ahead and live your life as you see fit, rather than worrying about the ridicule of others.

    The odd thing is, the things we fear are typically our own creations, as when we go ahead and do them, much like in the case you’ve described, it’s been welcomed and I’m sure she is hugely grateful at your assistance.

    Thanks for this Tony. It struck a chord.

    I try to counter mine with this simple phrase that I return to when I struggle.

    “You have the right to be wherever you are, doing whatever you’re doing.”


  18. Tony - January 7, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

    Hi Al,

    Well in the spirit of getting to know you, here is a bit of a story id like to tell you, and that I’ve felt guilty about for almost five years, and yet the last feeling that should really be associated with the events is guilt.
    Im a community psychiatric nurse up here in the frozen North, and good at it i think, for all the right reason.
    Im also a union and political activist and do some work supporting trade unionist on the Thailand/Burmese border.

    Some years ago myself and a good mate put a fundraising gig on, and the performers were David Rovics and Attila. The gig was great, and successful and i had the pleasure of having David and Attila stop with me that night, though Attila is a bullshitter

    Whilst these good things were going on in my life, i was being witch hunted
    by my employers and had been for a year. They eventually sacked me in May 2009, the week of the gig

    Just after the gig you contacted me to ask if i would try and organise a gig up here in Newcastle, but i said i couldn’t .I would have loved to have done it
    The main reason was i had just been sacked days earlier after over 20 years in the job, and was desolate

    But I still feel guilty when i think about it !!

    The job story has a good ending by the way, though it did take several years

  19. alunparry - January 7, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

    Hi Tony

    Thanks for sharing your story. I’d love to know the happy ending too.

    The thing I like most about your story is what a great case study it is. For the past five years you’ve used up mental energy feeling guilty, and maybe you were even fearful that I was upset with you.

    Yet for me, I took you at face value and trusted what you said, I knew anyhow that you were under no obligation to put on a gig for me, and I moved on to other options.

    I’ve not given that happening a moment’s thought because I was completely okay about it, and also because I never felt you had any responsibility to go out of your way to put something on.

    Whereas you have felt guilty.

    I really relate to it because there’s loads of fears and anxieties that I’ve carried around too that are completely self created and had no relation to what was really happening out there.

    I’m glad you shared this because, hopefully, now that you know that I was always totally ok with it and that it caused me no problems, you can get rid of the guilt about it.

    Now, the good ending to your work story…


  20. Tony - January 9, 2014 @ 8:06 am

    Hi Al
    Thanks very much for your comments

    Yes the happy ending was after sacked, i was unemployed for a few months, then a job in a nursing home, and then after a year of difficulties i won the appeal and was reinstated. My pension was restarted and back dated and so very luckily in this day and age i was able to retire at 55. I do feel lucky.
    I live close to the river Tyne 10 miles west of Newcastle and so most mornings drop my wife off at the local station, she goes to work and i walk along the banks of the river for a couple of mile, and to quote the poem, have time to stop and stare. Cormorants, Cranes, Wrens, even salmon.
    The i i have time and energy to get cracking to make this world a better place in whatever ways are available

  21. alunparry - January 10, 2014 @ 9:41 am

    Wow Tony, that’s a fab end to the story. I love that. My own view is that we need to start campaigning for the 3 day week. 5 days is too long. Everyone deserves the chance to earn a living and plenty of time to stop and stare. I’m delighted that you’re having the chance to stop and stare and shape your own life. Thanks for sharing!

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