I still find myself baffled by the ins and outs of communicating with people sometimes. I’m not sure if it’s just me, or if nobody in the world really understands how conversations should work.
For me, a conversation is simple: it starts off with a greeting, then there is discussion on a specific topic or whatever random ideas come up, and then an ending. Either a formal goodbye or some acknowledgement that the conversation is over. Not so for everyone else, it seems. At least not here.
I have encountered, far more often than I’d like, people who ask me a question, then immediately turn their attention to something else as I’m answering them. It’s all the more frustrating when they decide they’d rather text or check their email than listen to the response that they prompted in the first place. If it’s important, a short ‘Excuse me’ wouldn’t hurt. It’s also why I’m not a fan of personal questions unless the other person seems genuinely interested. I’m not going to tell you about me or my past if you can’t be bothered to pay attention. And don’t even get me started on electronic communication (mainly because I’m going to get started on it myself).
First, we have email. I always start off my emails with ‘Dear …” and end with whatever the appropriate sign off is; my default is ‘Best Regards’. In recent years, I’ve dropped those formalities when emailing close friends and well-known acquaintances, sticking only to the conversation itself. For professional emails though, I still maintain full decorum. But not everyone else does. I often receive emails that just launch right into a discussion, without a greeting to start off. It never feels right.
Even more baffling is the world of texting and instant messaging, where I often find myself involved in a conversation that’s not a priority for the person on the other end. Sometimes messages go unanswered, or a reply comes in two hours later, attempting to ‘seamlessly’ pick up the conversation where it left off. That’s not how I talk to people in real life. Why does that change just because we’re not face to face?
Maybe the world communicates on a different level than I do, or I demand too much engagement from people. Though really, is it too much to ask for a decent conversation where both parties are listening and talking to each other?