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.
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?
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.