The Problem with Communicating These Days

If you know me well enough to have ever had a conversation about texting with me, you will know that my biggest grievance, most irritating pet peeve, is when people do not text back.

We’re all guilty of it from time to time, but there are certain people you can always count on to leave you hanging – and that’s just not okay.

Think of it this way, getting a message from someone is a huge compliment. Of all the people in the world, they want to talk to you. In the few minutes of spare time they may get in a day, they are choosing to talk to you. You might not have asked for this, but you should respect it.

Remember when we used to phone each other to talk and we’d say “thanks for calling” at the end? There is no such equivalent in texting. Not only do people not thank you for writing, but they straight up ignore you.

And here’s the thing about being ignored after texting someone: you never know if they read your message and are choosing to ignore you or the message just never got sent. You would also never know if the person was just busy and without their phone. Who the hell knows. Maybe they were taking nap. Maybe they were out on a jog. Maybe they were helping NASA develop a new super-secret vessel that shifts through the time-space continuum. Maybe they died. These are the places your mind has to go.

And the second worst thing to happen when you text someone asking to hang out? You get the ‘busy’ excuse.

“Hey friend, wanna do this cool fun thing?”

“Ah man, I don’t know, I’m so busy.”

“Oh damn. What you doing?”

“I have a sports game tonight. Plus, I just need to catch up on my sleep.”

“Oh I see.”

“Yeah, so sorry. Next time!”

And two weeks later…

“Hey friend! I have two tickets to go to this cool fun place. Wanna go?”

“So fun! But I can’t that night!”

“Oh damn. What about Saturday?”

“…”

“Saturday?”

“…”

“???”

I recently watched the Aziz Ansari ‘Live at Madison Square Garden’ special and he had some amazing (and funny) words to say about this exact thing.

“We’re all part of the rudest, flakiest group of people ever. What happens anytime you ask someone to do something nowadays? It’s like, ‘Hey wanna do this fun thing?’… ‘Maybe. Maybe, I could try. We could see about… maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe.’ No one wants to commit to shit, ’cause they’re terrified something better is going to come along. It is so rude.”

It definitely is rude. Whether it’s a way to get out of something they don’t want to do or because they seriously think they are busy, the least someone can do is propose a counter offer. If they did want to see you at some point, and make you feel like you’re not just being pushed aside, their answer should go more like “I can’t! But howabout we get dinner on Tuesday instead?”

That rarely happens. And if it does, you’ve got some solid friends on your hands.

And then there are the times when people are just always “busy”. Aziz Ansari talks about this too.

“[People] pretend to be busy forever, then they conduct this strange psychological experiment where it’s like ‘Mmm, how much hope does this person have? How many times do I need to be busy before they realize this many scheduling conflicts is statistically impossible and something else is going on?'”

So what does this mean?

“We’re all really shitty people. Whenever we’re dealing with others, we’re like ‘I’m gonna pretend to be busy. I don’t wanna say anything.’ And when other people are dealing with us, we’re like ‘Why must we play all these games? Can’t we all just be honest with each other?'”

If I could have things my way, I would have everyone be honest. If you don’t want to talk, tell me. If you don’t want to listen to me rant about my day, tell me. If you’re not interested in seeing a movie, or any movie, TELL ME.

Unless you’re just an evil soul-crushing demon with the intent of making me as miserable as you possibly can, then ignore me and watch me write a blog post about you.

Hell, Aziz agrees, and he’s an expert on this topic.

“Silence to me seems like the rudest, most cowardly way to handle a situation. And it’s also the one that hurts the other person the most. We’ve all been on the other end of that. That’s the worst.”

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