Good Question: How can I write to someone I admire & get their attention?

“Hey, Alex. Can you write a script to introduce yourself to someone you admire, that segues into you being BFFs with them?”

… asked a nice lady on Twitter.

Yes, I can.

And here it is:

. . .

Subject: You’re amazing. And here’s why …

Hey there, [name].

Remember when you were a little kid on the playground … and you’d see someone doing something cool … and you’d run up to them and say, “Let’s be friends now, please!” … and they’d say, “OK!” … and that would be that?

I miss that.

If we were on the playground, I’d totally hopscotch up to you and say, “Hi. Can we play?”

But we’re not, so this email will have to suffice.

To cut to the chase: I think you’re amazing. I love all of your work, particularly [describe something specific here]. If you were my [brother / sister], I’d brag about you constantly to anyone who’d listen.

The reason for this email is: I’d love to send you a just-because-you’re-awesome gift, to say “thank you” for all that you’ve given to me and the world. (Hint: it includes [chocolate / caramel / a brick of solid gold / describe it here]).

When you have a sec, let me know a good place to mail it. Or if snail mail isn’t your thing, I’ll come up with a virtual version. ;)

And that’s it.

Thank you for being … you.

Waving across the digital playground, with gratitude.

[your name here]

It goes without saying, but if you’re ever passing through my hometown, [name of your city], I’d be honored to take you out for a grown-up beverage. Or take you on a tour of the hottest local [describe something they like, here]. No pressure whatsoever. Just an open invitation.

. . .

I hope that script works beautifully for you. Go forth and be friends.

But I feel compelled to say one … more … thing.

Maybe … don’t.

Be friends, that is.

You don’t have to become “BFFs” with every single human that you like or admire.

You don’t have to collaborate with every single artist whose work speaks to your heart.

You don’t have to “do coffee” with every single peer who might maybe, somehow, be a good “networking contact” for your career.

Sometimes, it’s OK — better, in fact — just to admire and appreciate from a distance. To be a FAN. Not a friend.

I recently had the chance to walk up and say “hello!” to one of my personal heroes — a fellow who started one of the best independent podcast and radio production companies in the country.

I was nervous. I was excited. My heart was beating SO fast. I rehearsed a few opening lines in my mind.

And in the end? I wrote him a heartfelt letter of gratitude, for all the great work that he’s done. I handed him the letter, along with a cupcake (it was the day after his birthday) and a small box of candles. I shook his hand. And I walked away. The end.

It was a perfect encounter.

Because, really? I don’t “need” to be his friend. He has plenty of friends and so do I.

My real intent was to say, “I love your work. Thank you for doing your thing.”

Which is exactly what I said.

And it felt clean.

And it felt good.

And maybe that is what you should do … instead.

(Just my two cents. Or, ignore me and go be friends.)