In this day and age, we are all overwhelmed and just trying to survive. Each day brings new struggles to tack onto a list of old ones. Feeling alone and exhausted, we are often quick to assume someone else is snubbing or ignoring us.
How many times did you call or text your friend before receiving a response? How many days did the boss take to read your report and get back to you? How many nights since your partner wanted to be intimate? How many emails went unanswered? Most times, it’s not you, it’s them. We are all especially sensitive now. Constantly worried about finances, work, family, and health issues- it never seems to end.
When our focus finally points to one issue we expect others to see it as a priority as well. But it’s rare we’re on the same page at the same time. Others have their own problems. In the heat of the moment it’s hard to remember our priorities may not be theirs. This is doubly hard when it comes from a loved one or friend.
“They should know how much this means to me”.
“They should know I need this done now.”
Too often frustration at not getting what we need leads to lashing out and saying something we may regret. That’s when issues escalate and we don’t share our feelings. No one can read our minds. No one should have to.
Next time someone doesn’t respond as quick as expected, take a breath. Give them some space. Extend a helping hand and ask if they’re ok? Do they need anything? Did they actually receive your text, email, messages? You may be surprised with the answer. Too often we assume. You may have heard this before but when you assume, you can make an “ass” out of “u” and “me”!
One particular time I was unhappy I hadn’t heard back from the representative I’d dealt with on an account for years. After waiting days for a reply I finally decided to send an email making it clear I no longer intended to work with them. That’s when, to my shock and dismay, I realized I had never sent the carefully drafted email I had written a week earlier! Clearly distracted at the last minute, I hadn’t pressed the send button. My bad. My anger and blame had been directed at the wrong person all this time.
I recently scheduled two provider appointments. After my eye exam I waited patiently for the “1-2 weeks“ to get my new contacts. A month later no call. I was so frustrated. When I finally spoke to the office manager I was told they had texted me weeks ago. The only problem was they were texting my office number! They had never bothered to follow up in person and never saw that their staff had input the wrong number as my cell phone. They relied solely on their automated system.
Another facility never confirmed my appointment. Not an issue of course, I knew the time and place, but I was curious. When I asked if they sent out appointment reminders she replied they had sent one two days before the scheduled date to my email address. The only problem was I never gave them one!
It wasn’t until I asked that I learned the reasons why they seemed to have blown me off. It wasn’t me. With the pandemic, life has been thrown upside down and sideways. We are all desperately trying to recover with less people available to perform the same services. It’s exhausting and time consuming to deal “face to face” with someone, so we depend more and more on digital resources to postpone or minimize direct contact. Both lead to misunderstandings and long wait times that can fire up already frayed nerves. Encouraging a response and opening up a dialogue works far better than ignoring the situation and letting it blow up out of control.
Take a breath. Don’t post that negative review. Don’t move your business. Don’t sever or harm relationships. It’s rarely a personal attack. As time often shows- it’s not always about us.