As people we are fundamentally wired to want to help others. It is an experience that has the power to open our hearts and raise us up. That is why I find working in the service industry is so gratifying. I find every opportunity to help others in any capacity to be a catalyst to more joy and contentment. I also make it a point to serve selflessly when ever possible.
There is a gap between the good intentions for helping and the physical follow through. These are two very different things that may get confused as the same during the beginning stages of helping another.
With today’s busy lifestyles and constant communication stimulus, it is easy for our words to lose meaning and our promises to lie empty. The cause of this is partially the fact that we are multi-tasking and not grounded. i.e. Noticing a text while driving and forgetting that it ever happened and never responding because driving safely is much more of a priority. We are not being present with our communications.
Another aspect of this is the unconscious tendency to reap the benefits of the ‘warm fuzziness’ of being the person whom saves the day or looks better for helping.
Good-hearted people with good in tensions do this all the time.
When we hear someone say, “I will give you a call back later tonight,” for example, that note gets planted in the back of our minds and there is now an expectation of a call. People notice when there is no call or text back.
Many feel that the excuse of being too busy is valid when we all know that even the busiest of people have a minute to return a text or a call. We make time for what is important to us.
To keep a relationship in good standing the other person must be acknowledged, even if to say that you are too busy to help them the way we first intended. Not receiving a response sends the signal that the other person does not care about us. This has the potential to damage both personal and business relationships. It can trigger anger or sadness because it has the appearance of rejection.
I imagine that the unconscious thought process behind not returning a call after offering help to someone sounds something like, “Oh she is calling, I have not done any of the things I said I would, I can’t tell her that! She will think less of me.” Then they dodge the call hoping they can chalk it up to being too busy to engage.
This approach will take the person quickly down from the warm fuzzy hero-like image they were trying to achieve in the first place. The person comes across as unprofessional and rude. What makes this more unfortunate is that it is unintentional.
With more awareness applied it could be obliterated. If you choose to have someone in your life be it personal or business, make the time to:
Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Keep promises or politely opt out of the obligation.
Respond to their efforts to communicate even if is very brief.
If you really are not interested in having a person in your close circle, there are ways of politely letting them go.
I have a great appreciation for honesty even if it is not what I want to hear. I feel respected and am more able to separate myself from the situation. It’s easier to see that it is not personal.
Moving forward, let’s stay mindful of what we are saying and how our words impact others. Let’s find the courage to politely say ‘no’ when we are over-extended. Make it more of a priority to have follow through.
Communication is a sacred gift that has the potential to create meaningful connections with others. Not giving it the respect it deserves will only come back to hurt us.