When People Don’t Respond
What happens inside of you and what does it mean?
You send a friend and text message and she doesn’t respond. You find yourself checking your phone, waiting for her response. You start to think things like,
“How rude. I WOULD NEVER not respond to someone.”
“If people are important to me I MAKE TIME to respond.”
Maybe you even start fantasizing about teaching her a lesson that includes the word “SHOULD” in there somewhere.
If you have thoughts like these the truth is, you’re hurt. Read those thoughts again, the intent behind them is superiority: I’m better than you.
We only feel the need to be superior when we feel inferior.
Our initial response to situations harbors a whole lot more information about how we think and feel about ourselves than proof of the rightness or wrongness of another’s behavior or what others think and feel about us.
For instance, if you find that your reaction in moments like these is superiority, then these reactions most likely have roots in some beliefs based in inferiority you have about yourself like:
- I’m not important
- I’m less than
- I’m a burden
WE attach meaning to situations…and when we’re unconscious about our core beliefs the meaning we tend to attach is usually done through the lense created by our deepest, most unconscious core beliefs we have about ourselves.
If you’re reading this and you’re like, “DANG. I do that!” you’re probably wondering how to stop it.
Uncovering and unraveling the core beliefs and the response to life they create takes time and practice. Choosing another response over and over again, checking out your perceptions, and really questioning the meaning you’re attaching to situations takes deep introspection and often an outsider to help you know when you’re doing it…again.
The goal is to eventually BELIEVE in the truth of who you are. You are important. You are enough. You are valuable. You are worthy.
But in order to start collecting evidence for those beliefs you have to start acting from them FIRST. It is not the other way around.
Recently I emailed another business owner about partnering in a strategic and win-win type of way. One of my core beliefs that comes up for me often (especially when stretching into unchartered territory) is that I’m a burden.
As I crafted the email that familiar, fear-based voice inside my head started yammering: Are you REALLY going to bug her with this? This is ridiculous. This business doesn’t want to do something with measly little YOU.
I recognize this voice. This voice has lied to me more times in my life than I can count. I’ve learned to not let this voice drive anymore, though. She cannot touch the wheel. She cannot make decisions UNLESS there’s something in my immediate physical space I need to seriously be afraid of, like a saber-toothed tiger.
BUUUUUUTT…just to make sure the voice wasn’t right, I sent the email to my husband in the other room and said, “ARE YOU SURE I SHOULD SEND IT??!!!” He texted back: “Send it. There’s no reason they wouldn’t want to partner with you.” I sent the email.
She didn’t respond for 3 days. It didn’t mean anything about me. She was excited to partner and wanted to know next steps. Whoohoo!!
I sent next steps which included setting up a meeting. No response. 1 week went by.
I could have backed off at that point. I could have made the silence mean something about my worth and value and enoughness, but I didn’t. As a business owner myself I know things I really care about can get lost.
So, I sent another message ALL ABOUT ME. I think it’s really easy to feel guilt or shame when you’re on the other end of a 2nd message. I’m careful to not even say, “I haven’t heard from you…” because I think it can be read as, “You should have responded by now…” and shoulding on people and teaching people lessons IS NOT an intent I want to be perceived as coming from. SO, here’s what I sent. I’m not above stalking ;-)
Just stalking you ;-) Last week I was deathly ill so couldn’t have met anyway. Let me know if you can meet up this week.
Many thanks, Mika
I bet you’re thinking, “She TOTALLY got a response!” Right? That might be because it’s easy for you to see my worth and value. You’re right about my worth and value…and another week went by with no response.
Old me would have died a slow death and avoided this person for the rest of my life at all costs. Nope. I was not going to take this personally until I got word from her that I should.
I know something about people, and it’s that they LOVE being lead to a decision. Think about these 2 scenarios….
SCENARIO 1: You’re at my house and I say, “Hey, I gotta run upstairs and change….help yourself to whatever’s in the fridge.”
SCENARIO 2: Now, think about if I said, “Hey, gotta go change. There’s this guacamole in my fridge and it’s my grandmother’s secret recipe. You have to try it! Help yourself and I’ll be back down in a minute.”
Which scenario would have lead you to be more likely to open my refrigerator door? The one where I lead you to a clear decision about what to eat, right?
And so, here’s email #3:
Hi! I have some availability to meet this Friday from 1–4. If a 20-minute slot in there works for you, let me know.
I received an almost immediate response. Was it because I was more clear and specific? Maybe? What did it mean that she didn’t respond to the first few emails? I have no FREAKIN’ IDEA, but I’m not going to abuse myself by making up things that it means about me. I hope you don’t do that to yourself either.
Think of the friendships, connections, relationships, and opportunities you might be missing out on…
You deserve happy relationships…but you have to believe that first,
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Originally published at www.mikaross.com.