Common courtesy. General politeness. Manners. Proper protocol.
When someone you know calls you, text messages you, emails you, or messages you on a social network it is usually expected for you to return the call, text, email etc. It’s the courteous, polite, and maybe even the right thing to do. This of course is a high expectation and depends on the people involved and what’s said in the message (I’ll refer to all forms of communication where you are not in person as a message).
I have been personally insulted, hurt and paranoid over some unreturned messages over the past few years. Most of the time I react negatively for nothing. Sometimes I hold grudges or fear of them not liking me.
I’m mostly talking about people I know or people I am beginning a relationship with. Not a romantic relationship. I’m referring to new friendships, networking or business relationships. Most of the time I write it off with some people as “that’s just the way they are.” I try to accept it but lately it bugs me.
I’ve learned that there are certain types of messages that don’t require a return. Sometimes they can go back and forth for a while and the stop. If I send an email either requesting something or asking a question I expect an answer. Maybe not immediately. I don’t know the official protocol for how long to give a person to return a message but I mostly get aggravated if goes more than three days. If they don’t respond for weeks or months I just move them down the list of a priority friend.
If I send a friendly “just wanted to say hi” type of message that requires no return message. I leave it open ended. If I am promoting something and just want to get the information out there to a person I don’t expect a response. One people that I am really close to that I know I will talk to eventually in a day of 3 it doesn’t matter. I just sent a message to my friend yesterday asking him about helping me with something in a future project. I don’t care that he didn’t get back to me yet.
If I message someone I don’t know especially women I don’t expect an answer at all. They don’t know me so there is not obligation even though it would be polite. The women I am sure get flooded with many messages from men and probably get tired of it. They are especially forgiven.
I was shocked when I was sending mass messages to promote novaboon.com when I did get a message back and even more shocked when they thanked me.
There is such a fine line when it comes to my reactions to unreturned messages. I’m sure you can relate. It’s the ones that I anticipate the answer to a question that bugs me. There are a lot of them.
I was dating a girl for almost a month and she was the worst at returning messages. I understand that I have always set my life up so I have more free time than most. She was also at the end of Medical school and at the biggest turning point of her life. Still it was no excuse to blow off my messages when all she had to do was take 30 seconds to text me that she is busy and will get back to me another time. The insecure obsessive that I am it drove me nuts. If we didn’t have such great dates and connection I would have dropped her. Maybe I should have because it ended anyway when she moved to do a residency.
Then there are a few girls in my life that get back to me when we work on project. Then I asked them out (at different times) and I totally expected them to blow me off. To my surprise they answered right away. They all rejected me but got back to me immediately. I gained total respect for them for that. Then they don’t return my messages when I it’s regular talk or conversations most of the time. We even make plans sometimes and never follow through.
Now there’s a glitch in my complaints about people not returning my messages. I do it too. I mean I don’t do it also. For the most part I have a 95 % return rate. I have a memory problem sometimes and forget to return phone calls and text messages. If I don’t return a message on the internet within a day it gets buried and I forget. I try to get back to everyone within a day.
The one thing I’m not sure about is the proper time limit in returning “pokes” on facebook. If you don’t know what they are then good for you. Personally I don’t care if someone doesn’t poke me back or when or whatever. I still do it for fun (I guess it’s fun).
I was raised to call people back. I was raised to follow through on things. Although I don’t always live up to it I try. There’s 2 phone calls I got tonight I actually have to return come to think about it.