The Absence of Manners and Accountability
When you’re trying to get back out there and meet new people after a divorce it can be tough. The world’s a different place now then what it was 15 years ago. This new age of mini computers seconded as phones, Internet accessibility, apps a dime a dozen at the app store, and texting. We’ve become a culture of faceless conversations if we have conversations at all. We abbreviate everything, we no longer use complete and accurate sentences, and worst of all it appears we no longer know how to make a conversation work, even if it’s just small talk.
I’ve noticed that when you are trying to get to know someone, or at least when I’m trying to get to know someone, I tend to ask a lot of questions. Their likes, dislikes, and favorites of whatever I can think of. I’ll ask a ton of questions, but I notice I’m not being asked anything. A few thoughts run through my head. Are they interested? They don’t care to know the small stuff, or the art of communication is dead.
There may be another possibility all together, manners and accountability. Do we forget that the people on the other side of the phone are people? We don’t have a connection with them, we’ve never met them, we’ve never seen them, so if we just drop them, that’s it, they’re gone. There’s no accountability for it because all you have to do is block a number, and soon they fade out of memory all together. Oh I’ve gotten every manor of excuses regarding long periods of absence. I was busy however is the most common. The idea of busy doesn’t escape my thought. Perhaps they are busy. Too busy to send a 10 second text to say you’re busy? See there in lies the lack of manners. It’s just rude behavior. Years ago, I was taught when I received a letter it was rude not to reply. It’s the same if someone gets you a gift, you reply with a thank you card. During Christmas or weddings, thank you cards are very common, but more importantly known as proper etiquette. It seems this is a lacking part of human society today.
The result of leaving someone high and dry can be hurtful for them. No matter the circumstance, when you leave someone without warning, without apparent provocation, it’s easy for that person to become self conscious, asking themselves what they did, was it something they said, did someone better come along? Sadly these thoughts and feelings have come to the surface for me. After the divorce I became much more noticeable when people drop off for months on end. The part that hurts the most is when it’s in the middle of a conversation. They see the message, you know they have, and then all of a sudden they are gone. Maybe it’s a character flaw I need to work on, but I find that to be very rude. I know a lot of people that do it often, and I’ve met new people that do it and they are gone forever.
I think part of the big problem is conflict. It’s easier to walk away and leave someone with questions, then be honest and have a real conversation. I think people run away at the first word that they don’t care for. Have we really become so sensitive? No matter the ups and downs in life we should be kind and respectful. We never truly know the impact we have on someone, and if we only get to give them a snapshot of who we are, make the best impression you can. I respect someone so much more that responds with a message saying I’m not his or her type, rather than be ignored. Being ignored by friends is so much worse though. I get it people you’re busy, you have lives, and it would be somewhat alright if you only did it once in a while, but people that do it all the time, well that’s different.
Just be nice and respectful, really it’s not that hard. With the wide-open world at our fingertips, we can look over the world and pick and choose what we want. That doesn’t give you the right to be cruel, or inconsiderate. If you have the power to make someone’s day a little brighter, or at least leave them with a good impression, be a good Christian steward. If we are to love our neighbors as Christ commanded then if we are all one body, then treating someone with disrespect or being inconsiderate is like treating yourself that way. Fruit for thought.
For me, the technology created an outlet. Growing up how lonely and miserable I was I wished I could connect with more people. Sadly it’s a good and bad thing at the same time. As I myself spend a lot of time alone by sheer happenstance, I find the possibilities endless, which is great, till you get let down. Double the potential, double the potential for failure also. Really what it comes down to is priority. What we do in our lives and where people rank, or even things. It’s easy to forget the positive impacts simple gestures can have on people, and not knowing the baggage or burdens someone carries, how badly our actions can hurt someone, albeit unintentionally.