But you didn't answer my call. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
It has only been recently that I have been merging from the road of thinking that a person’s non-response to desired contact from me was personal, in the sense that I was blame-worthy for it.
This semester, I undertook just one subject, third year statistics, and began to also include doing other neglected activities that constitute a balanced life.
Being more active, less dependent on pleasing others, and more about trying to express ‘the real Justine’ led me away from the computer, where I used to constantly used to check Facebook, emails and my phone.
If someone had not responded to me in a ridiculously small amount of time, I would worry a little. If a day had lapsed, I would wonder if they had received my attempt at communication. If two or three days had gone by, I would wonder if they hated me.
Since I’ve become involved in doing more of the thing I love the most - writing, and trying to be present for other people more instead of them focussing on me, I realise that they must be stressed to a much larger extent to find any time for communication at all.
I know people who actually have begun to hate in their own words, mobile phones, of which incessantly demand their attention.
I know that I also have a habit of checking my Facebook page much more frequently than is necessary. Channelling this self-awareness, I will spend more time doing, contributing and being with someone special to me - living my life purpose. Also I feel comfortable spending time in my own skin without constant reinforcement that other people like me.
Valuable lessons I have learned about taking things personally are:
Very rarely is it about you.
We live in an increasingly rushed world, where people are multi-tasking. It is a fact - people are busy with activities that are obligatory. It does not mean they do not want to spend time with you.
A classic example of this is if the person is driving where it is illegal and most importantly dangerous to use one’s mobile. They may be cooking dinner for their family. They may be in the shower.
The phone is on silent
They may have put it that way because they are in a meeting, appointment, or other places it is considered rude to have one’s phone on simultaneously.
I know that I often forget to recharge my mobile when it is needed. People think I don’t think to contact them when I did not even realise they called.
They may be out of reach - for example, I know that going under tunnels can render my phone useless as far as making and receiving calls.
If the person has an extremely heavy load
Full-time work, family and other obligations, and receiving many text messages can be painful, but your message may have been forgotten. There’s only so much information the human brain can take in.
They merely might not have their mobile with them.
I forget to take my mobile with me about sixty percent of the time. How many relationships are strained over time by But you didn’t call...
With regard to the ignored Facebook responses:
Some people check their Facebook far less than you may think. I know some people who are lucky to view it once a week, or much less.
*Facebook is bombarded with messages from all your friends, friends of friends, and advertisements. When I see Facebook I am overwhelmed and find it hard to navigate a lot of the time. Often, when I try to click to view a notification, my computer takes ten minutes to respond, and I give up in frustration.
Additional misperceptions with email:
I remember thinking that someone was too busy or did not bother to reply when in fact my email went into their ‘junk mail folder.’ It happens more frequently than you may think.
Like Facebook, email is a bombardment of visual information - a lot of which are messages from people you don’t personally know and delete. It is so easy to miss a message.
It takes time to compose an e-mail properly for some people. They may believe it will take time to reply properly, and thus the reason for the delay.
Emails per day are usually extremely plentiful. Yours could be quite rapidly replaced visually by others.
With all delayed correspondence, there's often the when I get around to it attitude that is most often sincere, but because most of us are so busy, it does not happen.
Of course, how personally you perhaps could take it would be the nature of the relationship. If your fiancé hadn’t called in three-days, it would be more concerning than if it was your friend.
However, as I am nearing the end of my thirties, I am finally realising that non-reciprocation in relationships is rarely personal. If you think about it, if it was, you would probably know about it. For example, if I have a fight with a friend, and there is a sudden stop of correspondence, then I have an identifiable reason. However, 99% of the time, I am realising it’s not about me.
I want to put that energy instead into thinking about others, instead of thinking about who has not responded to me.
Justine, the maximum amount I check Facebook is once a week. Sometimes a fortnight goes past and I haven't looked at it. Facebook isn't important to me at this time, but who knows about the future? By the way, my friends who are on Facebook are important to me.
My close friends know Facebook is a useless way to attempt contact with me. When I do actually check Facebook I rarely make a public comment. I may send a private message through Facebook but I am more likely to text if I feel it is warranted.
It is easy to take things personally when we are feeling 'sensitive' or vulnerable and for some people that is most of the time. We can read far too much into lack of response or a quick response that seems offhanded. We think, 'What did I do?'. Did I offend her? Am I taking up too much of her time? And so the doubts go on.
I think your final sentence is a great suggestion to all of us who read too much into things and fear it's personal.