Over the last year or two, I have had several instances of people getting their feelings hurt or thinking I do not care when I do not respond to a text, email or voice mail within a certain time frame. After a few instances of this, I decided to take this apart and look at it from all angles. Is this a problem with me or is it a problem of expectations in today’s electronic age?
In our society, people can be reached at any moment via email, text, twitter, facebook, phone, cell phone. We seem to always be within reach. My sister said that in her office (a large corporate office) people have to be within reach and return contact within 15-30 minutes or it is considered rude. I imagine this is the case in more people’s lives than I realize.
My reality is a bit different. In our home, we have no land line, my cell phone only rings (no notifiers set to let me know when a text or voicemail appear), and we turn off all said technology from 5 to 8pm. I try not to speak on the phone when my children are around. Here are several reasons why: I don’t like being interrupted every two seconds with an EMERGENCY!!! (meaning Claire turned the volume up too loud or something of that sort) I don’t like the person on the other end to be interrupted every two seconds with said emergencies. It just gets embarrassing after a while. I like to be able to speak freely and sometimes this cannot happen with little ears present. I like to approach one task at a time and talking on the phone while doing something else takes me out of the present moment which is unfair to the person on the other end of the phone.
Sometimes it tak
es me three days to listen to a voicemail that comes in. I do not do this out of lack of respect or care. Actually, it is because I do care. I want the person on the receiving end to get my full attention. The times I have to dedicate this attention are honestly few and far between. With two young children, two yoga schools, a tutoring business; I stay pretty busy throughout the day and collapse into solitude at night.
I imagine the issue
s people have had with me are fair. In today’s world, I should be able to get back to everyone easily, or at least send a text saying I can’t talk today. My brain has just not caught up with the modern world yet. My apologies to anyone I may have offended due to my lack of a timely response.
We created all of this technology to simplify our lives, but somehow I feel all we have done is complicate them. I don’t want to be a friend or a boss who frustrates people or hurts their feelings because I am hard to reach. How do I meld the two worlds of balancing my life and caring for others’ needs? If anyone has advice, I would love to hear it.