On the Receiving End

All,

I think by now you all know that I am a big fan of the written word. So much so that I have some legitimate concerns about how our various forms of e-messaging seem to be devolving our ability to communicate.

I share this in an attempt to bring awareness to the ways that our incessant, daily texting has an impact on our lives. After all, that little computer we hold in our hands for hours on end is transmitting more than just electronic signals; it’s transmitting emotions that we unwittingly absorb with each new ping, chat icon or text bubble.

So today, I encourage us all to be the change by remembering that a living, breathing human being is on the receiving end of our communications. And that while we are all firing off inquires or prompts in a manner that is relevant to us, someone else is getting those words at a time and place in their day that we cannot be privy to.

Have you ever thought about that? Have you ever thought about how your words – or emojis – penetrate someone’s day? Pretty sure we would think/feel/act differently if this was 15 years ago, when we actually had to pick up the phone to get our desired piece of information. At the very least, there would be some pleasantries exchanged – even a very basic “how are you?” – before plowing through with our demand/request/questioning.

But we’ve lost this. We’ve lost the ability to truly interact with each other and instead have boiled down our communication to the briefest expressions of wants and needs, all fired off at times that are convenient to us (I mean, would you ever call someone’s home at 11PM to remind them of something you need them to do the next day?). We answer questions with cartoon thumbs up, truncate “thank you” to mere letters and get increasingly agitated when someone doesn’t respond immediately.

This needs to change, guys. WE need to change. We need to stop and think before our fingers start flailing. 

This is why the first text anyone ever receives from me in a given day will include a greeting. An inquiry about how their day or weekend was, and then after the “business” is done there will be a sendoff. A “have a great day!” or an “enjoy your evening!”

Because although it’s on various levels, I care about every single individual – personal or professional – that I interact with via my phone. And I believe they deserve more respect than a waving hand emoji.

I believe my words, when sent into the reality of their morning or the middle of their stressful day, can actually have an impact.

And the thing is that yours can and do, too. So please – use them wisely.

Here’s to a great week,

Suzanne