We often comment that a lot of what we intend to say is lost when it is written - either as an email or a text. And yet, we so often fall into the habit of writing texts and emails, instead of picking up a phone and calling the person with whom we mean to connect. Why is that?
I ask, because I realised today that my ego got in the way of understanding a couple of texts I'd received recently.
The first text was actually one of a series received all on the same day, from a man I had known for a long time. I thought he was testing the waters to see if I'd be interested romantically; while he was just touching base to see how I was during COVID. Ego.
The other text was sent after a misunderstanding that was face to face, with someone I have also known for a long time. We had the misunderstanding, and I walked away in tears. Later, they sent a text to apologise, and I sent another back, ranting at them. I thought the sender was being lazy with their apology. It turns out that soon after I had left in tears, that person received a phone call about a beloved relative being rushed to hospital. They had to act on this new information, immediately. They had to help in an emergency that was in another city. All they could do to apologise to me, was send a quick text, while organising things for the person in need.
Again, my ego had got in the way.
So often, we expect and assume - especially of our loved ones. A text, which might be all that person can manage at the time, gets taken out of context.
So, how did I learn about my ego getting in the way of understanding these texts?
Well, I picked up my phone and called.
I could have spent hours wondering what to do about the man who apparently wanted me, without my reciprocation.
I could have ruminated every night for weeks, months, years, about the other person being unsupportive. The loss of sleep would have ended up causing me psychosomatic problems on top of the anxiety over our relationship glitch.
But, by picking up my phone and calling them, I saved myself all that trouble and worry. Once we spent some time listening to one another, we cleared the air. That's right, I italicised the words "listening to one another" ....
The flipside to all this (and you know, with me, there is often a flipside), is how doing things in person actually works to your benefit in other ways.
Take the example of looking for a job. Let's say you want to do something in particular. You research all the places where you might do this type of work, you connect with people from those workplaces via LinkedIn or similar networking sites, but then what?
As much as you can connect online, there is simply no substitute for making a phone call or meeting for a cuppa (if you can). You both get a vibe for each other, and you increase your chances of that person remembering you for the next role that suits you.
Take the example of wanting someone to date. Let's say you like to do certain things (e.g., you like surfing); the places where you find those things are also the places where you will find your tribe. You find like-minded souls who care as much as you do (e.g., about preserving the oceans and coastlines, the reefs and waterways). Do you want to date someone who shares your passions? Well, you look in those places, don't you? You front up, live and in person, and get to know people.
If you think about these two examples, there are another couple of important elements. You need to know what you want, and you need to find out if it's available. That means having the courage to ask about what you want. In both examples, it's nice to find that win-win; and the best way to find that kind of synchronicity, is to have the conversation.
So, next time you're wondering how to succeed at something, find out who to talk to. And then, have that chat!
If in doubt, you can always contact me!