Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Accidentally “ghosted” someone you liked but didn’t mean to? Feeling frustrated over the lack of “thank you” notes?

DEAR NATALIE: I recently went out with this great guy and we had a wonderful first date. But then, he didn’t call me or follow up. I sent him a few text messages, but he never responded. I was out recently and literally ran into him in the grocery store. He acted all offended that I had never returned his text messages. I said to him, “I never got them.” But he didn’t believe me. I tried to show him on my phone but he acted like he didn’t even care and walked away. I was really frustrated. I really liked him and I thought he liked me. Why wouldn’t he give it a second chance? --TEXT MESS

DEAR TEXT MESS: This is why text messages make me crazy. Sometimes they do genuinely get lost in the great text cloud in the sky. Other times, I think people say they didn’t see it, but that’s a lie. In any case, if you do believe that he did reach out and you didn’t receive it, you could try reaching out one more time. But this time, I would call. Yes, actually call him. If he doesn’t pick up, you could leave a real voice message. He may not even listen to it, or have his voicemail activated on his phone, but if you really like the guy, it could be worth the try. My only hesitation, however, is the way he acted when you tried to defend yourself. His poutiness doesn’t bode well for how he handles anything that doesn’t work out perfectly. Take this into consideration before contacting him. If he can’t deal with a text mess, what other messes is he unable to handle?

DEAR NATALIE: We were invited to two high school graduation parties in the neighborhood this summer, but for different reasons could not make either one. In each case we sent a nice card with a nice note and a nice check. It took the first girl about six weeks to send a thank you note. The second girl never did send one. Question: Are kids these days ungrateful, lazy, feel like if they can’t text a thank you why bother, poorly parented, or a combination of all four? --A MEMBER OF THE GREAT UNTHANKED

DEAR A MEMBER OF THE GREAT UNTHANKED: I was raised in a home where you wrote thank you notes immediately after your birthday/ holiday/ graduation/ whatever the occasion. To this day, I send thank you notes because I feel as though my mom will somehow know if I don’t. So, I do think part of this is upbringing. If you weren’t raised to do it, if your parent or guardian didn’t sit you down and make you do it as a kid, it probably didn’t become a habit. Unfortunately, our society doesn’t really teach “niceties” like this, and texting has become the new way of communicating. I’m sorry you didn’t receive a much-deserved thank you. I always appreciate a note in the mail after I give someone a gift, or at the very least, an email acknowledging that they received it. While six weeks is a long time, at least you received one. On the other case of never receiving one: Rather than following up to see if she liked the present, which might trigger something in her to send a thank you, I would just let it go. While annoying, I don’t really know what else you can do unless you want to shame her into sending one, in which case, the thank you is tainted. I’m not trying to speak for all of us, but many of us do send thank you notes, and do appreciate it when our gifts are acknowledged. We do respect the rules of etiquette, but for others, not so much. I guess it really is a 50/ 50 shot!

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Volunteer to work the networking event if you are shy. This way, you will definitely meet people who are “important” to the event, as well as meet many more in attendance. Because you are working the event, you may more easily start conversations, especially if you work at check-in.

Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to her email, nbencivenga@post-gazette.com; or through postal mail to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Follow her on Twitter at @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)