Somebody wonderful I know, named Mia, recently said to me, “You know what, Ann? I’ve realized something. I’m not the only one who doesn’t respond to e-mails.” And that clicked with something I had been thinking about.
In every relationship involving a back-and-forth communication (which would include every friggin’ relationship), one person is waiting for a response from another person.
In every relationship, at any particular point in time, one person is waiting for a response (and is perhaps wondering what the wait means) and the other person hasn’t responded yet (and is perhaps feeling guilty about that).
That, ladies and gentlemen, leads us to this:
- They* are waiting until they get enough space in their lives, so they can give you the time you deserve and a response they think is worthwhile.
- They responded to you by THINKING what they wanted to say, and then confused that with sending an actual e-mail.
- There is some task required or some information they need before they can respond to you effectively.
- They have some complicated feelings about you and may be waiting for those to resolve.
- They tend to respond more quickly to the people they are worried about, and they are not worried about you.
- While they are waiting for the right time to respond, they become overwhelmed by having to juggle too many priorities, and they lose track of things.
- They believe you don’t need a response from them.
- They took in what you communicated, appreciated it, and moved on.
- They don’t think they’re important to you, thus assuming you won’t care whether or not they respond.
- You’re not important enough to them.
If you’re like me (and a lot of other people I know), you might assume the reason is that last one (because that would be your worst fear, people).
Look at all those other possibilities, though! Chances are that the last reason is NOT the most accurate one. (Although it could be.) (Still, probably less often than you think.)
Can you think of other helpful reasons to include in this list? Are there some other reasons why YOU might not respond back to somebody in your life?
Thanks to Mia and all the other people in my life who helped me think about this post. And thanks to you, for reading.