Communication is a funny, funny thing. But like any one-sided joke, I feel like one side of the conversation is always left hanging and unamused.
Some people are great communicators. Some people can talk and talk and talk about everything from the weather to their job to their passions to themselves to what the next door neighbor did this morning with his wife to their own desires to what other people desire. Some people are bad communicators. Some people are good listeners. Some people are me and will gladly pull teeth before they start to converse about their emotions. Some people are awkward communicators.
And then there’s men.
This recently came up while talking to a friend who was wondering why a guy hadn’t responded to a text she sent him.
I thought about what she said for a minute, weighing in with my personal experience before responding, and trying to be as helpful as possible. “I would have said something more than ‘Happy Easter’. I ‘Happy New Year’ and ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy Thanksgiving’-ed, and never got responses back. Many men have never responded to my holiday greetings, and both men that I have and have not slept with. I think men just look at those texts, grunt, file it away, and move on with life. Or devouring whatever cavebeast they just managed to maul and kill.”
Personally, I think we women would get a lot further in keeping their attention if our clothing designers started using bacon as a fabric.
This frame of mind is pretty much the only thing that makes me keep my shit together when I myself send messages that never get responses or aren’t returned. Though I am pretty sure at this point that it is standard male procedure to read messages, respond to them in their mind, and then go back to whatever it was they were previously doing, sure that the telepathic message will get through, no bad feelings meant, nothing makes me want to sit in front of my computer more, fuming, and then scream like a she-banshee and bash the stupid little “no messages” or “empty inbox” icon with the closest heavy object. (Most likely, a shoe or the Murano glass ashtray.) Here is a thought: Sometimes, even if it is not required, or you don’t think it’s so very important, a response is not only nice, but proper good manners.
No one is perfect— at the moment I have three outstanding messages to get back to, and one is over a month old— but it’s the effort that really counts, even if all it is is an “Ok” or an “I’ll see you then.” One of my favorite guys of all-time was the best friend of a guy I was seeing who never once failed to respond to a message, even if it was a text back saying, “Hey, I got your text.” When I met his mother, I gushed about what a great guy and great communicator he was for a solid five minutes. She was astounded and proud. I understand. It’s a rare thing these days.
Little things like that make all the difference to some people. Like the person who just sent you that “Happy Easter” text or that “Hey, here’s a reminder” email. So, um, here’s a hint— RESPOND if you care for that person or your previous and continuing relationship with them just even a little bit. Thank them, wish them the same, then end the conversation when you tell them that you’re busy with your family on the holidays instead of leaving them guessing. If you’re too swamped with work to take the time to answer their questions and write back, a brief “Really busy— I’ll get back to you ASAP,” will suffice and give them better peace of mind. Yeah, you shouldn’t have to jump to it and constantly be responding to texts and emails and messages, but really, when someone takes time out of their day to wish you good feelings or let you know that you’re on their mind or that they want to check in with you and make sure things like your 8 PM dinner appointment are still on, take a second— just a brief second— and let them know that you care, too. It can be a three word response, but it’s still an acknowledgement. Don’t push people away or upset them when it can be easily remedied. Life is too short. People mean too much.
Agree? Disagree? Want to tell me how we shouldn’t be chained to our personal messaging devices and be expected to wait on them hand and food? Tell me. C’mon. Respond. That’s what that comment box is for.
- Excerpt from SATCG, April 2010