How a Relationship Starts Predicts How It will Continue

Last week, my radio show guest (who helps me fill 20 minutes, so I’m not doing an entire hour all alone) was a no-show. Yeah, I was annoyed, partly at the guest, but partly at myself. I should have known better.

Every time I called the guest, it took 4 or 5 days for him to return my call. I actually gave up on having him on the show. But each time, he apologized for taking so long to get back to me. Anyway, I wanted someone who would cover his subject matter, non-violent communication, so I overlooked this issue.

On Monday, I sent him all the info I send everyone before the show, things like what they need to send me (a bio, e.g.) and when and how to call in. I know he got it, because he answered my questions by email (and I have copies of the emails). I got all that yesterday, and sent him an email reiterating the time and phone number. I don’t typically remind people to call — if they are professional enough to have done things that are worth talking about on my show, they should be professional enough to keep a calendar and use it. This has never been a problem before (and I did a weekly show with interviews for 3 years).

And what do you know? The guy who couldn’t return my calls promptly didn’t call in for his interview. Maybe there was some mix-up on his end, I don’t know. But the relationship started off with him returning calls late — and ended (at least for now) with him not showing up to an on-air phone appointment.

It reminds me of my first post-college job. I interviewed on campus with Arthur Andersen in November of my senior year at Princeton, and was thrilled when I got an interview at their offices in New York. I expected that at the end of the interview day, either I’d be offered a job, and feel great, or not be offered one and feel terrible.

That’s not what happened. I had about 6 interviews — and really enjoyed them. At the end of the day, they offered me a job. Then they leaned on me so hard to take it right then, which I refused to do, that I felt terrible. Job offer — feel terrible. What’s wrong with this picture?

In the end, I took the job. Big mistake! I was treated horribly for 2 years, as was everyone else with whom I worked.

The lesson: Be very aware of how you are treated at the beginning of the relationship, when the other party wants something from you, like PR or your body. If it’s not good at that point, it isn’t going to get better, when they have what they want. 

PS – The guest did email me the next morning to apologize. There was no good reason — he just was working and… forgot! I accepted his apology, and I’m no longer upset, but I’m looking for someone else to talk about Non-Violent Communication on the show.  

Hollis Polk is a personal coach (, who has been helping people create lives they love for 15 years, using neurolinguistic & hypnotherapy techniques, decision science, clairvoyance & the common sense learned in 20+ years of business. She is an NLP Master Practitioner, hypnotherapist & has a BSE in engineering from Princeton & a Harvard MBA. She is also a successful real estate broker, investor & business owner.