Hello, Can You Hear Me…?

One of the most frustrating things for me is when I don’t hear back from people after I call, text, or send an Email. And I don’t mean not hearing from them after a few days or even a week; I’m talking about after multiple attempts to make contact, where it’s obvious I’d like to get in touch with them.

Am I alone in this?

Even if that person doesn’t mean it, not responding or just plain ignoring me is, in my opinion, extremely rude. Depending on the topic or reason for the message or call, most of the time it only takes seconds to reply. And even when the response warrants a longer one, I guarantee people have some amount of time to do so during their week, no matter how busy. You simply make time if it’s important to you.

Deutschland, Bayern, junge Frau mit blonder Kurzhaarfrisur

As a journalist, not hearing back happens a lot, even if I choose to give a source my cellphone number and invite them to call me after business hours. More often than not I wait for a return call or message.

It’s also happened to me as a blogger. Some months ago, I contacted one of my favorite well-established bloggers for a possible collaboration post. I sent a message to her blog Email address and waited patiently, since I was sure she received quite a few Emails on a daily basis. A week went by, and I didn’t hear anything, so I tagged her in a tweet alerting her to the Email. She responded a day or two later, saying she didn’t check that account often, but would get back to me. Hard to believe, because most people get notifications on their phone, and even if they didn’t, it wouldn’t be smart for a popular blogger to leave such a contact address unattended. But whatever, I didn’t care too much.

She did get back to me, was really kind, and said she would love to collaborate, especially since we didn’t live too far from each other. She asked for some suggestions, and I wrote her back with a few ideas that we could easily do in the upcoming weeks, completely thrilled. Another week, no reply. I sent out another tweet and also mentioned the Email in a comment on her Instagram feed. Again, I received the “I’m so bad at checking my Email, but I will get back to you” reply.

However this time, I heard nothing. Another week went by and I sent a short Email, somewhat deflated, but still hopeful she would get back to me. The bad thing was, the suggestions I had for meeting up were at events, and those event opportunities were coming to a close.

I didn’t receive another Email after that, and decided to give it a rest rather than bother her and sound desperate.

Was I disappointed? Of course. A little offended that I was pretty much ignored? For a little while. But you move on. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a huge deal. I still read her blog (though not as religiously — I’m sure you understand), enjoy her content and believe she’s as nice a person as she comes across. I don’t hold anything against her, and if she were to contact me about collaborating I would happily give it a go, though I would be a bit tentative.

What’s worse is when you don’t hear back from a friend or someone you’re close with. I’m fully aware I’m usually the one making most of the contacting effort in many of my closer relationships. Normally I’m okay with that, but it does get under my skin sometimes. Relationships are two-way streets and not getting a response for months is definitely hurtful. Or it can make you wonder if you’ve done something to upset them, even though communication has been nonexistent.

So that leads me to ask the rhetorical question: when do you stop making that effort?

no response1

As a journalist, I have to keep bothering that person until deadline, or try to find another source. In the case of the blogger, I gave up after not hearing from her after a couple weeks.

The friend situation is more complex. On one hand: you can simply stop and wait until they get a hold of you — if ever. But then there’s the risk of losing that connection, and possibly that friend altogether as time passes. Though, maybe that’s what the other party wants, and if that’s the case, he/she should just say something.

Or maybe if you lose that connection or friendship, it means you don’t mean as much to them as they do to you and possibly you should reconsider the friendship anyway. Which obviously sucks to think about cutting someone off, especially if your list of close friends is small.

On the other hand: you keep trying, but all the while feeling more unwanted and more upset about it as time goes by without a return call, text, or Email.

There’s not really a winning situation there.

I’m a big girl. If someone doesn’t want to begin or continue a conversation, I wish they’d own up and tell me with respect. Let’s be the adults we are. I’d be more apt to get offended by someone ignoring me.

Have you had to deal with this situation before? What did you do about it? As always, feel free to leave comments below.

I’d also like to say I didn’t write this post out of resentment or spite for anyone, or to call anyone out. The topic has simply been on my mind the past few weeks.

—K

About Karin

Journalist, singer, reader, movie fanatic, photography buff, GVSU alum, wanna-be-Brit, Crohn's fighter, Coca-Cola addict, animal lover, not a kid person, hater of winter, Michigander
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4 Responses to Hello, Can You Hear Me…?

  1. Sarah Neubecker says:

    I can relate exactly to what you’re saying in this post, Karin. Communication is key to relationships and when others don’t communicate at all, it hurts!
    I have learned a lot in this arena over the years, and my faith in Christ is the only thing that has helped bring clarity. After feeling in that same “forgotten” boat, I was praying and came across Psalm 139. The whole psalm is awesome, but these these verses stuck out to me, in the NLT version:
    Psalm 139:16-18 – You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!

    I balled my eyes out after reading that, dwelling on how much God loves me and how intimately he knows me. Since then, it has been a journey of learning how important I am to God. If he created the entire universe, yet still knows how many hairs are on my head, he certainly cares about my relationships, and my everyday life. Another verse I’ve come to love is Psalm 37:23 – The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

    So as I’ve grown in my relationship with the Lord, I’m getting better at asking him about things and deciphering his peace about who I should connect with at certain times. Just last week, I needed help with a project at work. I emailed someone I thought would be helpful, and didn’t hear anything for a day. So I prayed something like “God, you know exactly what I need for this project and I know you love me and want to help me. What should I do?” Almost instantly, the name of a different individual popped into my head. I emailed her and had a response within an hour, and it was EXACTLY what I needed. 🙂 God always knows!

    I have so many more examples of his faithfulness in situations like this and with friends, but it seems I’ve already written a book, so I’ll just stop right here. Haha.

    Im glad you wrote this blog post. 🙂 Praying for you, my friend. ❤️

  2. phantomviola says:

    I really identified with this post. I do agree with you about how tough it is to decide if you cut off your relationship with certain friends or not if they don’t reach out or respond to your calls or texts. In my experience I do have those few friends who take a while to reply to texts or emails. However, I let it slide with those handful of friends since they have taken the time to reach out to me first on other occasions. But if you have friends who never bother to message you first or even reply for days, then I stop wasting my time. It might sound harsh but I do think that communication is a two-way street like relationships. It doesn’t work if it’s one-sided. Priorities change with friends over time and if they don’t consider you a priority, then you shouldn’t either. Hold on to those precious few that reach out and/or respond to your messages in a timely fashion. Let the others go and move forward. It will be hard at first and you might feel as if you’re “giving up” on them, but the guilt will go away and you’ll feel better as time goes on. It’s ironic that at this day and age when we have so many devices that keep us connected, we are still very far apart. I don’t know if any of this makes sense but that’s what I think.

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