Wednesday, June 08, 2011

JUNE JOURNEY: I Expect to Hear from You!

At least five times a week I find myself mulling over the question, "Why aren't they e-mailing me back, calling me, texting, or touching base on facebook?" Lack of communication. I expect them to reply in a timely manner. Why? Because I try to reply in a timely manner when people contact me. For business: urgent issues, same day, and non-urgent situations hear from me within a week (I have time slots each week to deal with each client's projects). For friends, they get a return reply in the first 24-hours (unless I miss a text since I don't check it often).

What happens when I don't get a reply in the time I expect? I start to worry with "What ifs." "What if I did something wrong?" "What if they don't like me?"

Then I confess, I check their facebook to see what they're up to. If it seems like they are responding to everyone but me, I start to get insecure. "I don't matter to her." "I'm at the bottom of her list."

See where expectations get me? I go on a downward spiral that's no good for anyone.

I've learned several lessons from this ongoing problem of mine. 
  • E-mail can be glitchy. My e-mails aren't always delivered to them, and their replies aren't always delivered to me. If in doubt, double-check by sending a "touching base" e-mail. If that gets no reply, try a direct message on facebook, a text, a phone call. Don't assume they are not replying.
  • Some situations paralyze people. They want to respond but they don't know where to begin. So they keep it on their "to be done later" stack. And they find every reason to do other things first. People avoid conflict, misunderstandings, and resolution because it requires transparency and truth in communication. It's not that they're mad so much as they don't know how to proceed.
  • I need to give the benefit of the doubt more when it comes to lack of communication. Rather than jumping to the wrong conclusion, since I'm not a mind-reader, I need to cut some slack. The Golden Rule comes in handy here!
  • Sometimes, people have a different priority system for communication than I do. People don't have to be like me in the way they handle their life stuff to be right or wrong. We're just different. No need to judge and no need to assume the worst.
  • People get burned out over communication. It's too much input. Too much to keep up with. Sometimes it gets so overwhelming, it's like a hoarder's house--it just piles up with the communication hoarder having no idea how to whittle away at it a little at a time. So, not hearing from someone doesn't mean they're mad or hate me, it might mean they are overwhelmed. And maybe, because I'm such a nice girl, they figure if anyone will understand them not having a timely response, it's me.
I'm still working on this one. Can anyone relate to this struggle, and if so, how do you handle it?


Joy Weese Moll said...

Oh, yay! Thanks for making me feel like I'm not the only one to feel this way. And you're so right. A lot of the time what I need to get over this is: It's Not About Me.

Karen Jordan said...

I totally relate, except a lot of times, I'm the one not responding promptly. I read the e-mail and start to respond; then, the phone rings (or some other distraction). I'm also trying to schedule my social networking and e-mail times to focus on my priorities. So, I might not check it for several hours. Just saying ...

Hally Franz said...

As Dave Glover (a St. Louis radio personality) would say, "I git it." So many times, I have thought I did something to offend or bother someone, causing the lack of return communication. I have to remember that those situations have nothing to do with me; it's just that others have different communication rules. On my end of the communication, I've not visited FB to comment in a couple of weeks. I must confess I feel a little dread, because when I do return to it, I will feel compelled to comment on or validate lots of what is there, and that takes time. That's my own OCD (and "hoarding" behavior). I should just give it a quick, more frequent look rather than trying to address every item posted...