Monday, 6 August 2007

Making me work for it

There is a person who often sends me emails containing the question "How are you?" or the statement "Hope you are well". For variety, there will be a "Hi Damana" preceding that question or even a "Hey Damana". That's it. Ok, maybe a trailing line saying "I'm fine." or "Works sux" or a "me me me" comment. These emails are always sent at the beginning of the person's work day. This is a rule and does not much vary.

Now, it is nice to get emails from people. It shows they are thinking about you. It shows they care and that they are thinking about you. That's nice.

I usually react in two ways to these emails:

1. A full explanation of my life since the last email containing witty remarks and probing questions in to the state of different events that the person mentioned to me previously. My belief is that you make an effort when communicating to keep those channels open. People matter so show them they do;

2. A quick response saying thanks for the email and a summary of how life is and a promise to write a longer email soon. I then follow up a few hours later with that longer email (See 1).

No matter which tack I take, there is usually a short retort from the person containing more details of their day or week and no reference to anything I've said accept to answer questions about themself. That's fine, sometimes people don't write long emails. I accept that.

Now, the point of this story is that last week was one of the shittiest weeks of my life. Life has ups and downs but last week had a helluva lots of downs. A NIN downward spiral type feeling. Early in the week, I recieved one of those "How are you?" emails with a few important bits of data from the person's life. I responded telling them that my beloved kitty had died. The response was a short one about how the person is still sad about a pet they had. It was kind and expressed sympathy. I was so upset that day that I did not respond to anyones emails.

During the rest of the week, I got emails saying "Hope you are well" and "How are you?". There were messages on Facebook saying the same thing. Nothing else, just that. Just the usual. Then came an email that started with the usual and was then followed by "me me me" comments.

All of these emails, I have ignored. During such an awful week, I just could not make the huge effort it took to talk to this person. The major work it takes to ask all the questions and drive the entire conversation. I also didn't want to talk about them or their life or their plans or whatever. Some days, I want to talk about me and how I feel. I usually don't. I try to be positive and interested in these people who only care about talking about themselves. Some days, it's just too hard.

A long time ago, I read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People and a key point they made is that you should talk to people about something they are interested in and a sure fire winning topic is them :o) Thing is, you do it often enough and you actually realise that talking about yourself is a boring topic. Get a damn blog if you want to do that. Don't converse about it.

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