Reasons Why Someone Doesn't Answer Your Call or Text
NOW! That's when people want everything. Technology and innovation have created this monster, and what we have now (meaning currently, not immediately) is an instant gratification society. We're like babies screaming for our pablum. When we don't get what we want, how we want it, and when we want it, we get mad, impatient, demanding, and whiny.
This is true in communication. You have two camps:
- People who communicate as little as possible, especially via phone call. They don't respond to communication messages or take their time about it. And it aggravates those who really need to speak with them. Kiss it goodbye if there's an emergency.
- People who are very considerate to regularly respond in a timely matter, but sometimes things come up and they can't answer right away.
In scenario # 2, the people who call this considerate person and don't get an answer within ten minutes or less, get very upset and behave in not so nice ways. Often times these people are insecure, fretful by nature, self-centered, or like drama. With some people, it is all of the above.
Let's take a look at the case of Susan, a regular gal with a life, who is by habit, very considerate and timely in responding to messages. Sometimes, things come up and her response is delayed. This story should accurately portray both parties. Perhaps it will bring clarity and change.
What Happened to Susan?
Amy calls her good friend Susan at 9:00 a.m. and leaves her a voicemail:
"Hi Susan, I'm calling to see if you want to go with me to the Citizens Against Crime meeting tonight at 7:00. It's at the community center. Give me a call and let me know."
An hour goes by, then two. Amy texts Susan: "Hey, where are you? Did you get my voicemail? We need to make plans, NOW!" (insert frown face).
Another couple of hours go by - it's 1:13. Amy's starting to get mad and thinks, 'What the heck is she doing that's so important she can't answer right away? Where could she be?'
As Amy thinks about it she starts to worry, 'I wonder if something happened. Maybe Harry (Susan's husband) or Josh (Susan's 8-year-old son) are sick or hurt. Maybe Susan has been in a wreck.'
Amy is really wrapped around the axle now, as 3:00 arrives and turns into 4:00. She's texted her two or three more times, and put in another voicemail, frantic in some, angry in others. Amy has had enough! She calls mutual friends to ask if they've heard from Susan, and asks them if they knew what she was doing that day? Amy considers calling other family members that live out of the area. She calls Harry's office and leaves a voicemail for him as well.
She gets on Facebook and asks people if they've seen or heard from Susan, and tells them she's not been able to reach her all day, that something bad must have happened. Amy writes on her wall, "Susan, where are you? I'm worried!"
5:30 arrives and Amy hears that text tone. Her fingers fumble frantically as she brings up a text by Susan. Here are some possible things Amy might hear:
A Mishap With the Phone
- "Hey, girlfriend! I lost my phone this morning and have been looking for it all day" (insert aggravated face).
- "Hey, girlfriend! My phone ran out of minutes. I had to go to Walmart to get another service card."
- "Hey girl, my phone charge ran out and I couldn't find (or didn't bring) my charger."
- "Hey, calm down. I dropped my phone in the grocery store and the battery went sailing and I couldn't find it. I ended up having to buy a new one."
- "Please relax! I set my phone on top of the car and drove off. By the time I figured out what I'd done, I had to drive 10 miles back to the library to look for it. Someone turned it in, thank goodness" (insert relieved face).
- "Sorry to worry you, but I dropped my phone in the dishwater (glub, glub, glub) and had to get a new one. It's taken me hours to deal with AT&T to get it up and running!" (insert mad face).
Location, Location, Location
- "You can chill! I told you I was going to the zoo today with Josh's class."
- "I'm so sorry. I was hiking with Jennifer up in (name of mountain area). They have no cell service at all."
- "I'm sorry! Sheesh! I was getting a mammogram and turned off my phone."
- "Sorry to upset you, but I was in a meeting at the community center, planning the Citizens Against Crime meeting for tonight. I told you two days ago I was on the planning committee. Remember? "
- "This again? Remember, I turn off my phone when I'm driving so I'm not tempted to answer it."
Um, It's the Law
- "Good grief, I can't text and drive, and you know my Bluetooth got lost the other day. I told you I had to visit mom" (town 20 miles away).
"Get a life! You can't expect me to break the law and text while driving, risking my life and others, just so you won't worry!"
- "Hey, I got nailed for talking without my Bluetooth 3 weeks ago. I'm not doing that again unless of course, you want to pay the fine?" (insert goofy face to lighten the tension).
Sick of This
- "Soooorrrryy. I've been vomiting and having diarrhea all day, and been in bed. When I'm not losing bodily fluids I'm...oops, here goes again..."
- "Seriously, I've been telling you I'd be having some minor surgery today. I'm resting, and certainly not going to the meeting."
- I know I told you yesterday I have the flu. My fever is 102°. I'm going back to bed.
- "Sorry, but I got texts and calls all day while out and about. Your message wasn't an emergency, so I decided to respond when I got home. I'm home, NOW.
- I told you yesterday I'd pick you up for the meeting at 6:30. Take a deep breath and see you in a while."
- "Soorrryyy! I should've dropped my certification test to return your emergency call" (insert rage face).
Stuff Just Happens
- "Sorry, I had a fender bender and they wanted me to get checked out in the ER. FYI, bump on the head, sore neck, but I'm calling you anyway."
- "Harry and I had a day date today. Lunch in the harbor, walk in the park, coffee, and chat. I have to go, he's feeling frisky, now. P.S. I'm not going to the meeting."
- "Gee, I'm sorry, I had to take mom for chemo."
- "I tried calling you but it went right to voicemail. You could have called or texted me back. What was so "important, anyway?"
- "Oh man, what a day! I got my purse stolen. I had to deal with police reports and the rest. As it turned out, it was in the glove box, nestled under my snickers bar. What a mess!" (insert goofy face).
Patience Is a Virtue
If you'll notice, Susan was getting more and more irritated, testy, and sarcastic as the texts and calls were rolling in. That is not to say it is okay to be testy and sarcastic, but in reality, if this happens frequently, Susan's irritation is understandable. People who get impatient with the Susan's of this world (regular, responsible people with a life) create conflict in the relationship. In this story, Amy was driving Susan crazy with her emotional demands and anxieties. If this behavior becomes a habit, friendships can break down!
Patience is a virtue. If you have a friend, family member, employee or co-worker who usually responds to your voicemails and texts, then there's probably a good reason why he/she doesn't answer. Before freaking out, panicking, getting mad, or sulking, consider the different possibilities. Consider all the times you had circumstances where you were not able to respond to others. If your friend or family member is tried and true considerate with returning calls and texts, trust that there is a good reason.
If you have a friend or family member who habitually doesn't respond to phone calls, voice mails, and sometimes texts, well then, there you go. They're not reliable.
Finally, think before you freak! Chances are, everything will be alright!
P.S. The Citizens Against Crime meeting was canceled. You were sent a text, didn't you get it?
© 2015 Lori Colbo