I did my M.S in Communication. But I still don’t understand what it has become with the multitude of universes that have opened up with social media… where we are simultaneously denizens of Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube among other worlds. And each ecosystem has its own beasts.
“Treat people as you expect to be treated” is a thought that I’m still trying to fully understand.
When we go to meet people who are always late, we go easy on the clock too.
When we make plans with serial flakers/cloud planners, we make back up plans.
When we don’t get respect, at some point we stop respecting.
Because all healthy relationships are grounded in equality. And toxic ones happen because of inequality and gaming – where players of the game try to score over the other.
I do this exercise – on a lighter note, of course – when I meet people I’m getting to know where I dare them to show me how many Unread (hence unanswered) messages they have on whatsapp. (I don’t want to read them but make them tell me/ show the number) And that number tells me a lot about that person.
Some people have over a 100 unread messages (not including group messages).
Going by “the treat people as you expect to be treated” logic, they should be replying to all those messages if they expect people to reply to their messages.
Yet, they don’t. I understand why. Some are unwanted messages (girls get a lot of these), some promotional and some where they have no desire to know let alone communicate with the person. Also, the more busy we become and get caught up in our own lives and troubles, it becomes difficult to respond to every person.
So then we filter, prioritise and respond only to those who matter.
When we SeenZone people, we expect them to understand we are busy and yet, don’t understand when the same is done to us.
It’s after all the virtual equivalent of looking through someone who just waved at you and pretend that you didn’t see them.
Online relationships are now operating like market forces based on demand and supply. When there is too much demand, you hike your price and when there’s none, you drop everything and take what you get.
I want to live in a world where relationships are non transactional, unconditional and equal but when time is limited, goals increasing by the day, how can we possibly treat people exactly the way we want to be treated?
We are always going to prioritise those who matter. But then, we only crave for attention most from where we don’t get it from. Or try to come up with our own sense of fairness to cope with the injustice we think is done to us.
So we unwittingly create this vicious cycle of doing to others what has been done to us.
“Someone broke my heart, so why should I care about someone’s heart. Or someone gave me a counterfeit note, I just passed it around.”
In an ideal world, relationships should be unconditional and honest but we live in a world that isn’t exactly nice to those who don’t expect anything.
So as a student of communication, what do I do? I communicate. To the best of my ability. As much as I can. Even if it’s something the other person does not want to hear. As honestly as I can. The courtesy of response always makes me feel like I’ve treated people right.
Communication solves everything. It’s fairly simple too. But we are forgetting how to. Maybe because are too distracted and confused by the clutter of all the windows open. On our phones and laptops.
It’s as simple as a file you are working on.
File – Save – Exit works better than turning off the machine in haste and later, realising that you lost it all.
When we want closure, we need to close some of these windows. And open a few doors in the real world.
Because there’s no stronger communication than a hug and a kiss. The only kind that makes us truly happy.