Over the last year I’ve become amused by some responses I’ve had when I send e-content by email to others. The content could be links to videos or webpages. The following is a typical list of responses:

  1. I’m in a conference in Australia.
  2. I’m on the beach.
  3. I’m out shopping.
  4. Will read it later.
  5. Will check it later.
  6. Busy at the moment – covered with work.

What’s so puzzling about any of that? Well, in none of my correspondence do I ever say “ACCESS THIS NOW”. So I really cannot fathom why people seem to feel a need to respond that they’re too busy or in a toilet or whatever. It’s as if telling me what they’re doing is likely to be some importance to me. If you’re out shopping or whatever I don’t need to know a) what you’re doing b) or that you’re busy. The responses above are actually a waste of time. Why? Because – if it’s ‘later’ then do it later and then make just one truly relevant response. But then again, what’s logical to me is most often not logical to everybody else.

If I have something that needs urgent attention in an email, I’d call up first and let people know that I have something that needs urgent attention, and could they look at it before such and such time.  Then if they can oblige I will send the email.

An important other point that comes up from those who go ‘later’ (or occupied or whatever), is that they never actually get back to me to say that they have accessed what was sent. So, I can never really know if they actually accessed the content.

So my paranoid view – which is not that divorced from reality is, that this lot of responses as above, is about ‘lip service acknowledgement’ – the reality being that they aren’t ‘really’ gonna read anything in the email. Well – that’s fine, as rolls off the tongue here in England like nobody’s business. I mean nobody is obliged to do anything except breathe, eat and die (eventually that is).

By contrast I never get the following responses:

  1. Had a quick look – will do so more fully and get back to you by… (whatever time period).
  2. Just to say I’ve got your email. Will read it and feedback by [whatever].
  3. Apols for the delay. I’ve accessed the stuff, it was quite [Interesting] [Total rubbish] [Controversial]

Right – what next? What’s next is that I argue against myself from the perspective of  the ‘stupid’ and ‘politically correct’ eg:

  1. Look, people are only being polite you don’t have to be so paranoid or difficult.
  2. It’s nothing – people say these things all the time.
  3. You make too much of small things – why do you have to think so hard about everything?!!! Jeez.
  4. People are kind – so they don’t want to tell you to bugger off!

I could go on, but what’s the point of the last 4? It’s simply to show that I know how to think like everybody else – I simply chose not to.

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