I see them almost daily…the constant Facebook or Twitter rants about how “annoying it is when you text someone and they don’t reply but post something on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram”. I’ve gathered that people find that incredibly rude.

I used to think it was kind of shitty too, until I actually thought about it from a perspective that wasn’t my own.

But why? Why do we expect people to drop everything to message us back? Why do we get mad when they don’t immediately respond, but go on social media?

It’s like we are demanding a response, expecting it. It’s like we think our own lives are far more important than anyone elses. Of course that text message/email deserves an immediate follow up! We took the time to write it, didn’t we? It’s rude if the person doesn’t immediately answer, regardless of the excuse because people always have their phones on hand and how hard can it be?

I don’t know. We’ve slipped into this terrible society where our lives are the most important things. Our struggles, our triumphs and successes are of utmost importance, but we can’t take the time to truly listen to a friend’s experiences. After all, we can do one better.

Big fish, little fish, fishing stories over who got the biggest catch of the day float from mouth to mouth and nobody really listens, nobody really appreciates it.

My fish is bigger!
Yeah well, my fish is better because I caught it.

I know there are some people who listen, some people who appreciate the stories of woe and success from friends. I know I listen, I appreciate the success and mourn the trials of my friends. Hell, I care about the success and trials from people who I don’t even know!

But I will confess; I get busy a lot. And I’m not always on my phone, and when I am…I may completely avoid the text messages or emails. Not because I don’t care or don’t want to hear what you have to say, but because I’m just preoccupied with other things. Even if I glimpse at it, go do something else, accidentally forget about it and come back to it when I remember, it’s still considered “rude”.

I have my day. I have a billion things that I try to do in my day. I have kids and dogd to take care of, two growing and flourishing businesses to tend to, housework to do, dinners to cook and I never seem to have enough time. I try to make time, of course, but life is a constant battle of balancing time. Sometimes, things fall to the wayside. Does that make me an asshole? No. It makes me a busy mom of two…with terrible time management skills.

I often feel as if I am drowning in all the things I need or should do. I always feel immensely guilty when I realize I’ve forgotten to reply to someone, but it’s not and will never be intentional (unless you’re one of two people. But you likely aren’t, so no worries!).

I just got to thinking the other night, after reading another one of those passive aggressive Facebook rants about those assholes that don’t reply to a text but post on social media, and I was reminded…again…just how self-centered society has become. Empathy and kindness have both almost completely fallen away to cruelty and ignorance.

Why are we going backwards? It’s 2014. We have all this wonderful technology to make our voices be heard, and yet we are going backwards. We are segregating ourselves from everyone around us…even those within our day to days. We’re looking at our phones more and each other less. Our face to face conversation skills are at risk, because it’s easier to send a text update than meet for coffee.

Maybe the problem is technology. Maybe it’s people in general. Maybe I’m over thinking, focusing all of my resources and attentions on this seemingly pointless reason to be angry. Why aren’t more people angry about Ferguson? Probably because they’re doing exactly what I mentioned…focusing all of their resources and attentions on something trivial to avoid thinking about how truly broken our society is, in a lot of ways.

Maybe it’s out of fear; fear to speak up and have words twisted. Maybe it’s out of ignorance. Maybe it’s because empathy is down and selfishness is on the rise. Maybe it’s because we only see what we know; we don’t often look at it from another perspective.

I don’t know. This is me speaking up seeing we have to see a collective change…and it starts with you (and me).

Do I have any advice to give? No, not really. I am not a human behavior expert. Maybe there is no right answer, anyway. Maybe it’s an action…the action of evoking your empathy and compassion. The action of verbally speaking up against the wrongs you witness. The action of teaching our kids to stop turning a blind eye and refocusing their anger on pointless, trivial things.


About J.C. Hannigan

25. Mother. Wife. Lover of words. Weaver of stories. My first book, Collide, is available in e-book for Amazon Kindle and Kobo.
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One Response to Trivial

  1. Technology is a HUGE distraction. I see it impacting communication negatively on a daily basis. Like you said, people get angry when you don’t reply. People who don’t reply get defensive. I think we need to set limits when it comes to social media. We need to communicate in person more.

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