One time, I was surprised to receive a message from friend in my Facebook account saying, “from now on, I will not communicate with you anymore. I saw that you’re online so I sent you a message inviting you to chat with me but you just ignored it!”
I was somewhat taken aback. My first impulse was to reply and apologize because I was busy with somebody else at that time. Suddenly, I asked myself, “Wait a minute, was I to blame? Did I ask her to send me a message in the first place? If not, why should I feel guilty as if I owe her an apology?”
This can happen to anyone. There are some intruders into our privacy and still have the nerve to make us feel bad for their inconsideration and even resort to emotional blackmail. It may have been our fault that we gave in to this “bullying” before.
Well it is time we put our foot down and claim our right to our protect our privacy. You may try the following techniques:
Avoid replying to an e-mail if you deem the message trivial.
Do not feel guilty for ignoring text messages saying simply: “Hello, or Good (any time of the day), or Hi”. Replying to them will just encourage protracted, and usually useless, exchanges of greetings.
As much as possible, discourage people from calling you. Ask them to send you text messages instead because messages are less intruding since you may attend to them later. Calls need immediate attention.
Set your own rule when you want to entertain calls on your mobile phone. If confronted later for ignoring their calls, you can always come up with believable alibi such as: you do not answer your phone when outside the house for fear of being snatched; or you were driving when he called; or you left your phone at home; or your phone’s battery was down; or your phone is in silent mode, etc.
Have an answering message programmed in your phone like: “sorry but the phone you are calling is out of reach” or “the number you are calling cannot be reached temporarily, please call later”. etc.
For other situations when you want to dodge your “invaders”, as Tim Ferris calls them in his bestseller “A 4-Hour Work Weekend” , he suggests the following (allow me to quote from his book):
“… given the non-urgent nature of most issues, you will steer people toward the following means of communication, in order of preference: e-mail, phone, and in-person meetings.”
“Respond to voicemail via e-mail whenever possible. This trains people to be concise…. Similar to our opening greeting on the phone, e-mail communication should be streamlined to prevent needless back-and forth.
“…put headphones on, even if I wasn’t listening to anything. If someone approached me despite this discouragement, I would pretend to be on the phone. I’d put a finger to my lips, say something like, “I hear you,” and then say into the mic, “Can you hold on a second?” Next, I’d turn to the invader and say, “Hi. What can I do for you?”
Of course, if you do not wish to be disturbed by intruders, do not be an inconsiderate intruder yourself. Always apply the Golden Rule: “Do not do unto others what you would not want others to do unto you”