The Problem with Expecting Instant Communication

Hello friends.  Let’s talk about communication. 

Today things have really changed and I know you know this.  As you know, we all assume that everyone has a cellphone (mostly) and we also assume that everyone keeps their cellphone with them at all times.  With these assumptions comes expectations of instant or very quick responses.  

I’ve had several friends and colleagues lately discuss the pressure and even the annoyance of these expectations.
Most of us have experienced leaving someone a voice mail or text and expecting or wanting that person to respond within the hour or for sure the same day.

When and if that response doesn’t come, we start thinking things like, “something is wrong,” or “they’re ignoring me,” or “they must be mad at me,” or etc.  These feelings happen because of our expectations of immediate or quick response times.

Likewise, if we are the receivers of a text or voicemail, as soon as we receive it the pressure to respond starts mounting.  Perhaps we’re not ready to respond, or perhaps we need more information, or perhaps we’re just not in the mood  However, the longer we go, the more anxiety most of us feel regarding our response.

Wow, it really has changed.  

What can we do to just help with all of the expectations?
  We can make our expectations perhaps more clear.  

Let me give you a few examples.

Leaving a voicemail:
  • Hey Sara, it’s Monica.  Just wanted to say, “Hi.”  No need to call back but would love to talk when you have some time.
  • Hey Sara, it’s Monica.  Could you give me a call by tomorrow?  I need to ask you a question before I buy those tickets tomorrow.
Texting responses:
  • Got your text.  Will respond when I have more time to think about it.
  • Thanks for your text.  I appreciate hearing from you.  Give me a few days to think about it.
It’s rude to not return calls and texts but it’s also rude to expect other people to stop what they’re doing and respond instantly to our correspondence.  

I think we all would benefit from being more patient with each other and realize that we each have very busy lives and sometimes, we simply cannot respond.

Perhaps if we lowered out expectations with regards to instantaneous responses, we would avoid hurt feelings and wrong assumptions.  Ladies and Gentlemen are patient, kind and avoid making assumptions about other’s behavior.  Let’s do our best to respond to correspondence in a timely manner, even if that response is just a request for more time.

Have a fabulous month.

Monica Irvine