The following confuses me and I wonder if you feel the same way. Is it a Swedish thing perhaps, or does it occur in other cultures too? Am I wired differently than other people and therefore the only one experiencing this phenomenon? Or do I just move in the wrong circles? This is what confuses me:
What’s up with people telling me: let’s eat lunch! or let’s meet for coffee! or it’d be great to meet you again! And then nothing happens unless I am the one who takes the initiative of this actually happening. That means: being the one suggesting actual dates, times and places when it would fit to meet. It has happened several times, both in my personal and professional life, that I have suggested available slots in my calendar just to have the other person never reply again.
The above phenomenon is irritating the **** out of me. If you have read this blog before you might have noticed that feeling somehow activated by something always sparks my interest. Why does this particular thing bug me so much?
Of course it is about me wondering if what people tell me is actually the truth of how they feel. Are they truly interested in meeting me or is it just something they say because it’s what you do in the social game that everyone plays? From my experience it seems to be totally acceptable to tell people you want to meet but just never following up to actually make it happen. Unless! There is an unless here: unless people suddenly want something from me. This can be whatever but I notice that meeting just for the sake of connecting for many people doesn’t seem to be interesting unless I can give them something. Is this something you recognize?
When people tell me they want to meet without making an effort to actualize it, I notice a part of me feels that I don’t matter to them in their lives. That it’s just a polite phrase they tell me because it sounds good but that they don’t actually mean it. And I notice that a part of me feels hurt by this. But then another part of me goes and smoothes it over, like: of course not everyone has the time to meet just to connect. Or: he/she is so busy, of course meeting me isn’t their priority. But regardless of all of this: why don’t people just tell their truth? I am totally fine if people don’t have time (or want) to meet me, either personally or professionally, but just tell me so I know instead of telling me how much you’d love to meet but then never take any concrete initiative.
Just to make a statement: I will never tell you that I want to meet and then drop it. If I don’t have time for the foreseeable future, I will tell you exactly this and will make sure to connect when I have more breathing space in my calendar again. If I have time, I will suggest slots in my calendar that fit me. And if you don’t hear from me and wonder what’s up: connect with me and ask me exactly this and I will tell you honestly.
I have started to place the ball back to a lot of people by telling them: yes, I’d love to meet you too so please suggest a date and time that would fit you. More than half of the time people just don’t reply and then I just drop it because I don’t have the energy anymore to follow up. To me, connecting is a two-way street and I’m quite done with situations when it’s only me who makes an effort.
Fortunately I also have a lot of people in my life who do not have the above tendency. I am grateful for the people in my life who understand when I tell them that my life is pretty full right now and who don’t take it personally that it will take us a bit longer time to connect again. And I am grateful when people tell me the same thing because that just makes it clear, open and true.
So is this a Swedish thing? Am I too sensitive and making a thing of something that isn’t a thing? Is there something particular about the circles of people around me compared to other people? I don’t know and in the end honestly I don’t really care because this is my truth and it feels good to write about it. Having a blog and writing about one’s truth really is a wonderful thing (I can highly recommend it)! If you feel like it, leave a comment and share how you feel about what I wrote. I’d love to hear from you!
Photo: Aaron Burden – unsplash.com