Thursday, July 02, 2009

bg/ish: "I'm talking about drawing a line in the sand, Dude."

When it comes to interacting with other people, friends or associates, we all have our personal limits as to how much of a particular behavior we will tolerate. Proverbial lines in the sand.

For example, it's nearly impossible these days to walk down the street or sit in a resturaunt and not see somebody lost in their iPhone or BlackBerry, or generally mashing away on an SMS composition. How many times would you guess that you glance at your cell phone idly over the course of an hour? A day? It's hard to ignore such convienient technology.

As technology makes the world smaller, it also changes our social perceptions. Without even getting into the MySpace/Facebook/Twitter shitstorm, it's safe to assume that cell phones and text messaging have altered our social expectations of people. We know that if we send someone a text message, we expect them to get it in a short amount of time, and depending on the circumstances, we'll likely expect a timely reply.

It's probably been a couple months, but I recently called someone's cell phone on a Saturday night and got no answer. As it turns out, I never got a call back that night at all. When I asked this person the next day why they didn't return my call, their excuse to me was, "I couldn't hear my phone." I personally found this insulting, due to the fact that I've never been in a social situation with this person where I haven't seen them glance at their cell phone randomly at least once every 20-30 minutes. So they lied to me. The honest answer would have been, "I didn't want to talk to you." Personally, I prefer honesty over avoiding social awkwardness.

True, it's a small thing, but with such convienient access to technology at our fingertips, we in essence set ourselves up to be more accessible, and place ourselves in a more socially exposed light. Similarly, we allow ourselves more opportunity to be socially offending or just plain rude, or placed in a position where we feel we need to lie to our friends or make flimsy excuses.

Why do I bring this up? A couple of reasons. One, I've personally tried to work on being more responsive to people, when often times I feel like ducking out. In some respects, I'm fighting a personal backlash against my own accessibility. However, I know it takes less than 30 seconds to return a text message, which leads me to my second point, which is, I can't practice a double standard. What I expect from others I must be willing to do myself.

Lately, I've found my patience for unreturned calls and texts growing thinner and thinner. Perhaps I am simply expecting too much. But I feel myself starting to draw that line in the sand. "Across this line, you DO NOT..."

I'm typically not easily annoyed. Maybe I'm just finding it to be more disrespectful. It's bothering me more and more though, and aside from drawing that line, I can't see any other solution aside from making sure that I at the very least take some lead by example. But the line is being drawn...

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