Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Communication is Key!

There has been something on my mind lately that is affecting many aspects of my life and I feel like I just have to get it out before I sit around and cry about it because that's generally what I do when something bothers me to this extent BUST.

I want to talk about communication, or bad communication rather! I've been feeling lately that people don't really understand the importance of good communication and the fact that something is better than nothing. This doesn't just apply to marriages, friendships, I would say in all aspects of communication it is really important.

I understand that people get busy, I understand that people have kids and jobs and other obligations but personally I don't think that excuses out and out neglect. I will tell you from experience that I wasn't always the best at keeping in communication with people and when I left home and started traveling with Jason I found out very quickly that it was going to be up to me to keep in touch with people because I felt like people looked at it as though I chose to move and therefore I needed to be the one to make the extra effort. It wasn't always easy, for example living in Alaska, working full time, maintaining an apartment, being on call, spending time with my husband and oh ya.. the 4 hour time difference from the East Coast where our family and friends are! When I was still sleeping in the morning everyone was on their way to work or school, when I got up everyone was in full swing with their day and unable to talk, when I got home from work everyone was in bed, I worked on Saturday's so my only day to talk to anyone was on Sunday which most often because of Jason's work schedule was also my only day with him so sitting on the phone all day seemed rude. Not to mention the fact that living in Alaska and having one day a week to do anything we didn't want to waste the day sitting in the apartment catching up with everyone (selfish maybe) and let me tell you cell reception in Alaska is nearly nonexistent!

I feel like even when I faced all those obstacles I still responded to emails, sent email, text, made phone calls when I could, tried to be good about sending cards and letters, more effort than I received. I took it seriously thinking that it was my fault that I couldn't just meet for a early morning or late night coffee, because of my choices there was no Saturday brunch... maintaining relationships took more effort and I was prepared to do it. Am I always perfect? Absolutely not. When we go home now there is no way I could get in visiting everyone I want to, its completely out of my hands that my time is limited and although I try my best I know that someone is always disappointed and for that I am always regretful. Unfortunately now our visits home we face a larger obstacle of not having a vehicle as we also fly from our current location.. another road block. We do try, we know that when we come home that not everyone can work around our schedule either and for that we are completely understanding and home people can give us a little of that as well. Our time at home we are pulled in so many directions, wanting to make the most of our time with everyone we can, unfortunately it just isn't always possible.

It is never my intention to hurt someones feelings, if I miss a phone call, text, email, Facebook message, etc I make it a priority to get to it as soon as I have a minute. If I get a great long email from someone it may take me an extra day or two to find the time to sit down and respond but I don't EVER let it go unanswered, nor would I ever let it sit for weeks on end and make someone feel like the time they themselves and the time they spent are not important.

I'm not going to lie I take it personally if I make a phone call and get no answer and days later there is no acknowledgment, again I understand that people get busy but what does it take to send a text and say "Hey I see you called, I'm really sorry I missed you.. can we catch up later this week?" 5 Seconds? Maybe? If I send an email with relevant information finding two minutes to respond with something is that hard? I feel like getting nothing is a direct reflection of how important our friendship is. Maybe that seems dramatic and I may not feel like that the first time but if it happens often its pretty self explanatory.

Sometimes I just have a hard time with the fact that I'm the one sending letters, cards, emails, always initiating calling to see how are things in your world and I don't get the same in return. Not to say that I am not extremely happy to do it, because I absolutely am.. I also think in a lot of my friendships I may be the one to contribute to our communication in the form but the other party brings to that front in a completely different way and for that I am grateful. Yes I understand that my life is not exciting right now in small town Canada hell but we do have some exciting stuff going on and to be honest that kind of makes it worse. If you know something is going on good or bad a little bit of effort, a "Hey how are things?" is nice to hear.

No I'm not a mother, I understand that this fact alone takes a GREAT majority of your time and I will be the first to say that I have nothing but the most respect for mothers as I think it is the hardest job anyone will ever do... having said that don't use that as an excuse to let your friendships slide... people do it, people are parents every day to multiple kids, they work, have soccer practice, etc and don't let their friendships slide and that doesn't mean they are a bad parent. (I can imagine I'm going to catch a lot of shit for saying that.)

It works the same way in the business world. As you all know Jason and I are building our first home and lately I have mentioned some hiccups in the process. I truly feel that these hiccups are a direct result of bad communication. From the very beginning we knew that this process wasn't going to be easy as we would be living in Canada while this process was taking place and only being able to travel back and forth once a month, in having had great communication prior to signing papers with our builder and being promised the world to make this home building experience amazing we were super excited to get the process underway. Unfortunately that was not the case as the process commenced. We always find that we are begging for pictures promised, updates, progress reports, etc.. not fun! We are of course more than willing to make the effort as we have always acknowledged that our distance is our issue to contend with, but don't make promises you cannot keep. If you can believe it our recent hiccups stem from the same situation, unfortunately this time with our mortgage broker. Long story short the interest rate we were given and made all our financial plans around is not the interest rate we are now getting, on account of bad communication and simply slacking in responsibilities. The gentlemen we are dealing with told us today that he will not make excuses for himself, he got wrapped up in other things, did not communicate appropriately with us and therefore we can no longer get the interest rate promised and it has no sky rocketed changing our whole financial plan.. thanks buddy!

I just don't think people understand the measure of small words sometimes. Now I do have friends that we don't send emails or talk in any ways for days or weeks but that was established between us and when she or I do send a message or email there is a pretty quick response. I'm not saying you cant go weeks without talking, I'm more focused on the fact that if one party makes the attempt it is polite to do the same back and if communication is continually neglected on the part of one party its pretty tell tale to the ignored.

This may have come across harsh and that was not at all my intention.. I know that sometimes its easy to lose perspective, sometimes you don't even realize your actions are hurting someone else's feelings but I can tell you this, if you are that person that never answers the phone, never returns emails, and constantly says "I was so busy"..."I am just so busy" you could very well be hurting someones feelings. While speaking of that let me just touch on this as well when someone brings it to your attention that you are neglecting communication and you say to them "I am just so busy".."Things have been so hectic around here"... if this is your common response you are basically saying.. "While you do nothing all day but sit and wait for me to respond I however have a life".. or something like that.

Alright I'm done ranting, but I will leave you with this. Don't take your relationships for granted, you never know what tomorrow may bring and although your immediate family and direct surroundings obviously matter most, friendships should count for something.

Hopefully tomorrow I will have some house news, going back and forth with the mortgage broker and a sick and very MISERABLE Jason has been emotionally draining today. I haven't been sleeping at night worrying about how all of this is going to play out and the days feel stressful, and in combination with miserable rainy weather I would like to sleep... a lot more than I am!

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  1. Once again Nicole, you have written about an important issue that personally bugs the shit out of me. You basically said it all but one thing that really grates on me is when I BBM someone and I can see they read it, ( a neat little feature on Blackberries), and then never reply, this drives me nuts if it happens multiple times. Recently I called someone on it and got a bullshit response. Geez, I hate putting myself out there and get a respnse like I am the jerk for asking. So in my little world this is bad manners and poor communication etiquette. I since I am on a roll here, how come I don't see more comments on your blog ? I may skip over the stuff on makeup cause personally I don't wear any, :) but I do read it and you would think the odd comment might be in order ? Anyway, keep up the writing. We read it everyday.

  2. Good question about comments around these parts Steve! Truth be told I am just putting my blog out there for "strangers" to read and am taking steps to attract a larger following as I have great admiration for bloggers and really the blog world I didn't know existed. As for people I know that read, family and such that's a very good question. I don't let it bother me, I am we'll aware that people are "too busy" and don't get around to reading much but I don't write for them, this is a place for me to express myself and love for writing and I hope others enjoy it as we'll! Trust me when I say every comment is greatly appreciated and acknowledged!
    I hear ya about BBM, iMessage has the same feature. Like I said I get that things happen and people get busy or don't feel like talking, whatever the case may be but at least have the balls to own it. Unfortunately I think some people will taken offense to what I wrote which was not at all my intention but a small part of me feels like if you're taking offense you have reason to believe I was talking about you, that you do one or all of these things I listed that hurt my feelings. Truth be told I wasn't talking about one person in particular I was talking about many people and just in general!
    I always appreciate your comments and insight Steve! Hope you're enjoying the kitchen house!!