Posted by Jamie C. Baker
This is a silly and trivial complaint that I will no doubt talk far too much about, but it’s annoying me at the moment and I need to vent a bit. I absolutely cannot stand getting short answers from people, especially when it’s from people who I am accustomed to having longer conversations with. It drives me up the wall and it’s all I can do to keep from firing back at the person and forcing them to give me more than one word at a time. And no, before you think it, this is not directed at my husband, who will sometimes give me short answers/responses but who always follows them up with more than I can handle.
I completely understand how busy someone can be and how little time they may be able to spare to answer a question in person or to provide some sort of reply via email or text message. But can anyone honestly tell me that it’s harder to type “good, how are you?” than it is to type “fine” and be done with it? Am I not worth five extra seconds of you punching away at your phone or keyboard? It is difficult for you to give me more than a muttered “thanks” as you walk away? I’m not asking the world from anyone, just more than a single freaking word!
Giving me a crappy response makes me feel like you’re blowing me off. That you have much better things to do than waste time on me and that you’re not shy about expressing that. And while I do sometimes expect that from cashiers at Burger King who give off this I Hate My Job aura, I shouldn’t expect it from coworkers, friends, or family. You are stuck with me in one form or another and you should have enough respect for me and whatever relationship it is we have to not brush me aside so you can get back to a rousing game of Angry Birds.
It makes it worse when I’m giving a one word reply and then get to see that same person turn around and have an animated conversation with someone at another desk, go crazy posting on Twitter, or jump on their phone and start texting like mad. Obviously you have the time and ability to speak more than one syllable in one breath, so why can’t you offer the same to me? If I’m not important enough for you to make such a tiny bit of effort with, I would prefer it if we did not speak at all. I would rather receive silence from you than get your “yep,” “thanks,” or “sure.”
Yes, I know I’m nitpicking and being a tad petty, but considering how easy it is to form words and have them leave your lips, to type on your full keyboard at your desk, and to do the same on your smartphone, there is no excuse whatsoever for a shitty reply except for you not giving a damn. That’s it. And if you don’t give a damn, then please let me know so that I can do a little housecleaning and take you out with the trash. Coworkers who give me the one word responses along with the cold shoulder quickly become invisible; I will not go out of my way for you anymore unless you speak to me like a normal human being. It goes doubly for friends.
I’m not asking to be made priority one, just make me matter for the few moments when we’re having a conversation. Even with my tubby (former) work BFF, who I often wished would fall off a cliff, I made an effort to give proper answers and replies to her inquiries and questions. If I can do it with that horror of a woman, surely the people I talk to can manage to do it with me. Perhaps they don’t realize they’re doing it and don’t realize how it grates on my nerves, but I know that I’m not alone in my frustration with this (I have very vocal friends) so I have to think that it does occur to them a tiny bit that maybe they’re coming across as rude.
No matter what your connection is to a person, you owe it to them and to yourself to stop being short and dismissive with your replies and to take a few moments to properly answer a question or end a conversation. If you can’t be bothered with the effort, become a hermit and find a cabin in the woods to hole up in because no one wants to talk to you and deal with your snippy attitude. No one wants to be made to feel like they’re unimportant, regardless of the importance of the relationship (acquaintances to spouses, coworkers to best friends). No one deserves to be made to feel like they are an annoyance to you or that you’re too good to speak with them at any length. Five extra seconds, that’s all I’m asking for and that’s honestly all it takes.