Patience…

I use the ellipsis to serve as a reminder to pause and wait. I am not the most patient of people, I admit it and it is something that I am working on. It’s a flaw in my character but I am getting better at it, or at least I’m trying to.

I am patient with the children I teach, with my own children ( mostly) and with complete strangers. However, when it comes to myself and communication- I am not. I blame this on the culture of being constantly able to connect 24 hours a day. We have the ability to do this through our technology and I guess it’s our addiction to it that fuels our impatience.

When I was growing up, I was allowed to use the telephone after 6 pm ( as it was cheaper to use at that time ) and only for 10 minutes, no more. I usually spent that time on to my best friend, who lived up the street and who I had spent the entire day with at school, talking about the gossip of the day. My dad despaired at the need to do this and couldn’t comprehend what we may have left to talk about, but it happened. I never once got impatient with my friend if she didn’t answer or took ages to get to the phone, or if she didn’t ring me back. I just accepted it. There was a reason, unbeknown to me that I just had to accept and I did.

However, with access to technology the way it is and the speed at which our days zoom past, the likes of; messenger, e-mail, social media inboxes, DM’s and WhatsApp are all ways and means of communicating quickly. Some would say too quickly. There’s so much room for frustration and impatience on behalf of the sender and far too much pressure put on the recipient to reply. I am the world’s worst culprit! I know I have upset people with it and that makes me really sad…so I’m trying really hard to head back to the mentality of the me, aged 12, and the 6pm phone calls.

I guess the impatience lies with the need to either get something done ( deadlines) , get the attention of another ( connection). When you send a message, it’s read and not replied to…in walks Mr/Mrs Over-thinker and boom a catastrophe has magicked its way into your head.

” They didn’t like my ideas… they don’t want to work with me…they think I’m too eager…they don’t want to be friends…they are ignoring me, maybe they think i’m mithering them ( northern term for annoying) …Have I upset them? Did they misinterpret the tone of the e-mail… Did they think I was being funny?” the list goes on and before you know it you’ve responded in a really inappropriate way and boom! I know, we’ve all been there at one point or another. It’s how we sort it out and more importantly how we develop more patience around communication.

My dad is the worst. If I don’t answer my phone after him ringing for the second time without a pick up…he starts to ring my friends to see if I am A) still alive and B) if they’ve seen me.In that order! Why? Because he’s used to that quick response that modern technology gives us. Its like a comfort blanket without us realising.

So how do we become more patient of a slower response? Its hard. Very hard. First of all we need to accept that responding is not a life and death situation. ( unless you are my dad) . You are not the only person they need to communicate with. They have other things they need to do and other people to connect with. The second thing is to stop taking things personally. If they haven’t responded straight away, well it means they are busy or need to take time to think about their response. Maybe they are dealing with something difficult and need their own head space. If they never respond, then its their loss, accept it. The third and final thing is to realise that not everyone has the same addiction to their phone/laptop/device as you do…give them a break!

I was given advice by a friend to slow down and chill instead of wanting everything yesterday…I’m taking heed of that advice. I think lock down has given me the biggest lessons in being patient with communication. We all live life at different rates and prioritise different things. Respecting those differences is key. I’m learning many lessons from lock down and patience is one of them…I just hope I don’t run out of time.

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