Burning Bridges By Not Responding to Messages

14 Jul

You look like a giant "donkey" when you fail to respond to messages from others.

If you’re like most people, you probably feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. You’re busy working, taking care of your kids, cleaning your house, and so on. In order to make extra room in your day, sometimes the easiest thing to do is ignore emails, text messages, and voicemails, because after all, they’ll still be there tomorrow, right? Maybe or maybe not.

What you’re forgetting is that everyone is busy, not just you. By increasing your response time on returning messages, you’re probably burning
bridges with friends, family and business associates. These days it’s so easy to contact people, that you almost have to go out of your way to avoid responding to someone.

Reasons to Promptly Return Messages:

  • It’s rude not to. Think of how you feel when you need to get in touch with someone and they won’t return your messages. Regardless of your intentions, your non-response is implying that you don’t really want to talk to the person, and you don’t respect them.
  • It could be important. Maybe there has been an emergency, or perhaps something really big and really exciting has happened and the person really wants to share their news with you.
  • It’s unprofessional. If someone sends you an email asking to interview you for a publication, or asking you a question for a project
    that they’re working on, they are counting on your response. If you choose to ignore their message, or reply after an extremely long response time, they will not want to work with you in the future.
  • People will stop making plans with you. Consider this, if a friend, or a potential mate tries to secure plans with you early in the
    week for the upcoming weekend, they are letting you know that spending time with you is a priority to them. If you fail to respond to their message until Friday, you’re letting them know that spending time with them is not a priority to you. No one wants to be someone else’s backup plan.

If you’re guilty of being chronically late with your message response time, you need to reform yourself and fast.

Ideas to Improve Your Message Response Time:

  • Respond to text messages right away if you’re prone to forgetting about them. It takes less than one minute to respond to a text message. If you claim to not have one free minute in your day, you’re lying.
  • Mark emails that require a response as “unread” or flag them so you will remember to respond. I hate talking on the phone, so I understand the dread of returning voicemails. Decide if the message must be returned with a phone call. If so, do it as soon as possible to get it over with. If not, send a text message or an email to the caller with your response.

*Much thanks to my freelancer friend, Emily King, for donating the idea for this story.

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2 Responses to “Burning Bridges By Not Responding to Messages”

  1. emilybking July 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    Haha I need to forward this to some people that I’m waiting on emails from. . . that’s not too passive aggressive is it? Thanks for the shout out jerp

    • thejerp July 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

      Haha. No, umm that would be considered taking charge of the situation. Right?

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