Friday, January 25, 2013

Too Connected to Reply

Being kind to others through good manners seems harder to do these days. The social graces we used to employ now take more time or more effort or more brain power. I refer to the social grace of answering notes and being kind in responses. I refer to Facebook and Twitter and email and texting.

In an age when our technology keeps us in touch with each other more than ever before, a new phenomena occurs: ignoring others. Now that we can easily rely on word messages, we no longer have to answer phones to talk to people. Now that we can instantly message one another, it's easier and easier to ignore messages. Now that we have all the power in the world to connect, we seem to be falling into bad manners way too often. We ignore.

I'm guilty. If a message comes in at the wrong time, I can easily ignore it. If an email is lined up with 100 others, I can ignore it. I don't text...yet...but I'm guessing I will be able to ignore that, too, when I have the technology to do so.

I asked myself why I am prone, why we all are prone, to doing this? Why do we ignore others?

Often it is a matter of time. Too little time. We fill our days from morning until night with all kinds of time users. Some is work. Some is family. Some is maintenance of home or possessions. But let's be honest: sometimes, we just waste time and don't feel like being nice or bothering to answer.

We are making ourselves more selfish. We pick and choose. We hesitate in order to go on to something that may be more exciting. Sometimes we don't know how to answer. Or we're tired. Or we're not sure of the person contacting us. It boils down to being selfish with our time and our manners.

But really: It never takes too much time to frame a polite response.

Sometimes we have legitimate excuses: we miss messages and we do forget. Sometimes messages do not arrive in time or get lost in the mix or the sending. But many times, we ignore because we just plain don't want to deal with others.

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling bad about the amount of time I spend ignoring others. I'm not talking about ignoring mass mailings. Those are annoying time wasters. But when dealing one on one with each other, I know I need to be nicer, kinder, and more open. In a word: polite. Acknowledging my fellow human being should not be sloughed off, no matter how busy I am.

I think I'm going to try harder not to ignore. I think I'm going to try harder to be polite. I think I'm going to try harder to let someone know their written communication is a good thing, and not an annoyance. I think I'm going to try harder to reach out and...connect. Being polite is never wrong.


Joanne Sher said...

Totally with you on this one, Dee. Thought-provoking post. Thanks. said...

I agree. I'm sometimes one that puts off replying, then ultimately forget to reply.

DiscConnected said...


I noticed your post title on Tossing It Out's blog border and it piqued my curiosity, as I have often pontificated about what many of our technological innovations do to our society.

Interesting observations.

I actually have one thought defending you not responding to everyone.

Not very long ago (maybe 35 years) if someone wanted to contact you, they called you.

And if you did not answer, there was no voice mail or answering machine, so they sometimes had to accept that they could not get in touch with you.

There comes a point where you get bombarded with e-mail at work, then at home, then text messages and voice mails and the phone rings...and maybe you just want some time for you.

And I think that's okay.


Dee Yoder said...

Larry, thanks for taking the time to stop by my blog. And I agree with you. The way we communicate now means we are always on stand-by. I do need time off from communicating--that is so true. And I'm also learning to set parameters and priorities, along with being better about replying in a reasonably timely manner. I appreciate your comment. :)