The Non-Response Response: The Future of Our Texting Selves

I sit in a café talking to a colleague. I ask: “Where should we meet tomorrow for our get-together?” Then he gets up out of his chair and walks away. I stare after him.

Not really.

I’m just trying to make a point. Our communication skills as a human modern species completely sucks. Even cats understand each other better.

Who can relate to this? You send a text message to a friend, lover, roommate, family member, colleague (I’ve recently discovered that it doesn’t matter how much DNA you share) and you’re lucky if they respond the following week. Yes, this could be my specific communication challenged family—I admit we are abhorrent—but I feel this is a more widespread issue.

I thought I’d compare some common scenarios and see how it would look in person and by text. Hold onto your hats this is about to get weird:

Relationships: tendency to overshare

Text: I’m heartbroken that I haven’t heard from you lately. I spent the whole day crying yesterday and you don’t even care. Response:

In-person (not making eye contact): I think we should see other people (cough cough). Response: There would need to be some kind of words here or this person needs hospitalization.

Work: tendency towards meanness in texts

Text: I can’t believe you forgot about our meeting. Maybe you need to start thinking about your priorities a little more. Response: Maybe you need to back off.

In-person: Hey Barb! We missed you at the meeting yesterday. Hope everything is ok (wide grin). Response: Thanks so much! Everything is fine I just had to visit my ailing relative (or insert mandatory explanation here).

Miscellaneous: just I don’t know what’s happening here

Text: Do you still want to meet next week? Response: Text: Hey! Just checking to see if you got my message yesterday. Wanna meet? Response: Text: I guess I can assume you don’t want to? Response:

In-person: Two people sitting across the table from each other “Do you still want to meet next week?” Person staring at you. You go away and come back. Then you say: “Hey! Just checking to see if you still want to meet later?” Person staring at the ground. You leave for lunch then wander by the person’s desk. “I guess I can assume you don’t want to?” Person staring right through you.

Or there is always the obligatory, covers all bases Lol.

Really? If we’re not careful people we’re going to start being born without a mouth and sporting thirty fingers so we can type faster. Yes, these are made-up silly scenarios, but I feel a mixture of frustration, sadness and disappointment over our deteriorating social mores.

The one good thing is that this reminds me to always be kind and respond—whether it’s Facebook, email, text or any other kind of interaction not in person. There is a human being on the other end of that piece of hardware. I make a pledge to never be that non-responsive responder. I apologize now if I ever was. I know not what I did. Now go call someone! Or better yet, show up at their door—they’ll probably appreciate it immensely. Or they’ll stare at you through the peephole.

Posted on April 9, 2015 and filed under Uncategorized.