Saturday, May 28, 2011

No Response

When did "I'll call you" become a man's way of avoiding an uncomfortable situation by lying to a first date when he had no intention of ever seeing her again? Probably with the invention of the telephone. Before the invention of the telephone, I am sure men had other "lines" to offer instead. ("Nice to see you at the church harvest social, ma'am. Hope to see you at the barn raising in June.")

I am not letting women off the hook here. If a guy calls and a woman has no interest, it is common for the woman to not return the phone call. Eventually, the guy will get the message. Most of the time it works and its easier than having to tell someone you are not interested.

We run into casual acquaintances in the grocery store, and promise to get together for coffee or lunch "sometime soon". We tell another little white lie, for the necessity of social graces.

With email, the little white lie often runs along the lines of "I never received an email from you", implying that we would have responded if we had seen it in our inbox. Or "Your email must have landed in my junk mail folder." Right.

And so we come to Facebook well prepared in lying or avoidance techniques. "I rarely check my Facebook account" is popular with the older generation, and it is probably true for some of my friends. The younger generation just shrugs it off, with attitude. ("Oh, you expected a reply to that?" or something along those lines. Trust me; I have teenage nieces.)

But at what point did it become appropriate not to reply to email messages in the work setting? Maybe not responding has always been around the workplace. Perhaps it has been around as long as there have been uncomfortable situations, power struggles and office politics.

Or maybe with all of the electronic communication available these days, not responding just seems a little more blatant.

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