Common courtesy in the age of constant communication

Common courtesy in the age of constant communication


Emails, texts, phone calls, facebook messages. There are a million and one ways to get in touch with someone these days, and often it feels like we’re too connected. The demand on our time has increased exponentially in the last 3 decades with the wide spread use of cell phones. The advent and widespread popularity of smart phones makes it even easier to stay connected, and creates further demand on our time. People expect responses to their communication much faster since we have nearly constant access to virtually every avenue of communication we have available to us.

It can be overwhelming, to say the least. And with the sheer amount of communication being sent our way, it can be easy to overlook something. I know I’m guilty of this, and I don’t even have it that bad. My boss gets hundreds of emails everyday, from a plethora of different people, all expecting a response as soon as their communication is sent. I’d have a nervous breakdown if I had that many emails to check and respond to everyday. It’s a miracle he ever leaves his office. But somehow he manages to do it, which makes it hard for me to be sympathetic when other people take forever and a day to respond to me.

I understand that people’s time is valuable, and that I may not be the most important person in their life right at the moment. However, it is rude, disrespectful, and outright unprofessional to take almost a week to respond to someone, especially when it is a simple request that takes 30 seconds to respond to. When you don’t respond, it forces me to contact you again, because I need an answer to my question. Forcing me to contact you again makes me look like I’m nagging, and no one likes it when people nag, it’s just about as unprofessional as you taking forever and a day to respond. When it is consistently difficult to get in touch with you, it makes me think you can’t be trusted to handle a simple request, which then makes me go to the person above you, making both of us look bad.

All that to say, respond to your email.


5 thoughts on “Common courtesy in the age of constant communication

  1. As a high school department chair, email was the primary communication with collegues. Often it was critical that I hear from all of my department. I had a moment of pause one time when our head principal and I were talking and I was venting about an issue with someone and mentioned talking to them via email. He said, “Go talk to him/her in person.” I never forgot that. Sometimes the human contact can be more valuable than a text, email or even phone call.


    1. I would much prefer human interaction over email, the problem is I a) get a much more thorough response over email and b) we work with people all over the country, so unless I feel like flying all over the place, I don’t always have the ability to see them face to face. If it’s just a coworker though, 9 times out of 10 I talk to them in person.

      Liked by 1 person

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