It’s not you, it’s me…
When I receive an invitation from a friend who would like to spend time with me, I’m always grateful. Time is valuable, and we each choose how we spend it. That person chose to spend their time with me. Mind blown!
They hit the ball to my side of the tennis court, and it’s up to me to hit the ball back. The options are simple; I can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, suggest an alternative or ignore the invitation. Three choices.
Here’s my problem: I like to think I’m a good person with good manners. Perhaps a side effect from being raised in a small Australian country town and now living in the big shiny city? It’s my mantra to always acknowledge the invitation and thank the person for thinking of me. If I can’t accept, I always suggest an alternative. I never ignore the person, that’s just rude.
And yet ignoring each other seems to be the norm. The tennis ball arrives, you look at it approaching and keep watching as it bounces away having made no effort to reciprocate. It lands to the side where it stays and is forgotten.
Technology in all its wonder should make communication easier. Still, people have never felt so isolated. With most technology, we know when the recipient receives your invitation. We know when they read it. And, worst of all, we know when they ignore it. It’s right there; the word ‘seen’, the little blue tick or the little face. That person, your friend, is ignoring you. When did the expectations of society become so low that we ignore each other entirely?
We create a Facebook event for birthday dinners, a Halloween party or a BBQ and invite twenty friends. Seven see the invitation and ignore you, 5 say maybe (which we all know means either a ‘no’ or ‘I’ll wait for a better offer before I decide’), 4 say yes , 2 say no and 2 don’t receive the invite because not everyone’s life revolves around Facebook (they prefer Instagram). Out of the 4 that say yes, one or even two will cancel. Such is life, I guess?
As a 34-year-old Aussie, I was fortunate to have grown-up before Facebook, Twitter and the likes ever existed. There was no such thing as posting your whereabouts to make your friends envy you and the only way to ignore someone was to take the phone off the hook. Gasp in Spanish! Side note: Depending on your age you might need to Google ‘take the phone off the hook’.
Is technology drowning good manners in a pool of social media? You probably didn’t notice your friends feelings, paddling away in the social media pool with little yellow floaties on highlighting their vulnerability, there to ease the pain of rejection from their friends when their invitation is ignored.
But is it a generational thing? My vote is no. No, it’s not. I feel that in today’s society most of you are waiting and hoping for a better offer than your friends Saturday night celebratory dinner. So you’ll hit ‘maybe’ with little or no intention of actually attending, but you happily “show” interest. For me, it’s the people who hit ‘no’ that I respect the most. At least they’re being honest and not ignoring you!
But hey, as I said, it’s not you, it’s me. Oh, who am I kidding… it’s you! Why is that? Let’s get talking and find some answers!
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Written by Jason Spark
February 1st, 2019