In recent weeks and months I’ve become aware of something troubling. It’s an issue I’ve noticed while communicating with acquaintances regarding items of mutual interest. Say, meeting up to discuss a volunteer project, or sharing a job opportunity with our buddies, or organizing a group activity. Things like that. In most cases e-mail, that modern-day curse and necessity, is the means of communication.
Now, I do not check or write e-mails on a mobile device. Given my life and work circumstances, using a good old tethered keyboard has worked out fine for me, plus it keeps my obsessive-compulsive tendencies under control.
Now, I understand that most people I know are not like me. They might be surreptitiously checking their e-mails during a meeting, or while they’re walking to their car, or when they have a spare minute between shuttling the kids from school to soccer practice. I get that.
But is it so hard to insert a few little human touches before hitting “send”?
Call me touchy, but when I write this:
“Hello! What do you think about inviting Jane? She seemed interested in joining the discussion. Let me know and have a great day, D.” (108 characters, 18 seconds)
And I get this:
“Whatever you decide.”
I let out a sad sigh. I feel a little less like a friend, a little more like a task.
I can skip the niceties in plenty of circumstances (“Fire!”), and especially when texting (“Running late be there in 10 minutes”). I’m not an unreasonable person. But my communication DNA always defaults to something I learned in 2nd grade.
Salutation / Body / Closing / Signature.
The elements of a letter. I’ve always liked them. They are a formula for making life clear, human and civil. They embody a micro-life-philosophy.
Hello You, / Here’s my message. / Thanks, / Me.
Is this asking so much?