The Age of Technology



Dear Dharma, 

When you text someone, and they don’t reply, how long is it generally accepted until you have been blown off?

Let me be clearer. I have a friend/co-worker who responds to my texts hours (or days!) later, if at all. She says, “Oh, I didn’t see it!” or “I thought it was so late that to reply would be rude.”

Isn’t it ruder to not reply at all?  I will admit to being “of a certain age” so I didn’t grow up with this technology and maybe I am missing out here, but don’t the rules of good manners still apply?

Should I accept that my younger friend (who is definitely up on all the ‘grams and ‘chats) knows the rules and I am just out of touch?  Or can I say something like just be courteous enough to acknowledge my communication?

This talking to people without actually talking to people can be confusing!

I’m not 40, I’m 2 Twenties!

Dear 40,

Your question touches on a whole lot of Dharma’s triggers, so I have to warn you, I feel a bit of a rant coming on.  I’m a bit hungry, too, so a bad combination…

This younger generation you refer to

does things a little differently than those of a certain age and their relationship with technology is completely different than anything we were ever exposed to.

Don’t get me wrong, technology can be fantastic.  I can ask my phone to translate the lyrics to Despacito at the drop of a hat, or tell me the quickest route to my neighbour’s house, and boom, I’m there.

However, it also creates a massive void when it comes to communication, emotions, connection, manners, subtleties… to name just a few things that came to mind.

When you ask if the rules of good manners should still apply, Dharma has to ask – if one isn’t even aware these rules exist, how are they held accountable to follow them?  It’s just words on a screen, what’s the big deal.

I mean, I agree, it should be base human instinct to respond when someone addresses you, regardless of the medium… and yet… in so many cases, it just isn’t.  It’s perplexing and concerning all at the same time.

Fine.  I’m done.  For now.

Regardless of whether your friend is up on all the new, sucky rules of modern day connectivity, this is something that bothers you, so feel free to speak up. Acknowledge that you come off sounding pre-historic but let her know it will work so much better for your friendship if she could just acknowledge you.

Make sure your expectation is a reasonable – she doesn’t have to jump the second you hit send, because that’s part of the problem, too… We’re all just so darn available these days, that when we don’t get a response in 18 seconds, we feel blown off.

If the relationship has virtue, she’ll accommodate to some level.  And so will you.

Oh – and the lyrics of Despacito?  I’m still working on those…



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