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Comments

Bill

I find I'm exactly the opposite of you in this, Sherry. I almost always answer emails from people (unless I'm specifically avoiding them). But unlike you, I don't have such a large circle of friends and acquaintances, so I suppose if I was inundated with email every day I probably wouldn't answer all of it. I think email is a great way of staying in touch with people. It always surprises, and sometimes hurts, me when someone who I consider a good friend ignores an email of mine. To me, if someone is important to you, you don't ignore them when they contact you. But your perspective definitely makes it a little more understandable to me.

Krista

You have a point. I do the same thing with people I know face-to-face. I think that if one doesn't invite the friendship, then one is entitled to deflect it or agree to be aquaintances and leave it at that. There's only so much room that I have for people.

But it's quite another matter to actively solicit contact and then appear to ignore it. It's almost inevitable that it will feel like rejection to the other party.

Still, we all do what we have to do to remain intact, don't we?

DivaGirl

Oh how I can relate to you. In many ways we are peas in a pod my friend. Here is my take on this - take it for what its worth - and in this case, it might just be worth a lot in relief.
For many years, felt like I must be connected to everyone I liked/loved as a friend...I am a social being, and love people. I love being with people, talking with people and love that most people want to be my friend. Ah, but what happens is that you must piece yourself out, and then suddenly you find yourself without even enough for yourself! EEK! I then I rethought this whole thing on friends (I have divorced a few people and a few have divorced me....) and came to the realization that:
1. I only have so much emotional currency to support a certain quality of friendship.
2. Having lots of aquaintences is OK!
3. Those that I choose to have as an "inner circle" of closeness are those that I would choose to go down in a ship with.

I don't have many of these friends, and I can count them on one hand. Its OK too.

Its OK to have many aquaintences - you need to decide how much emotional currency you have to support those "inner circle" friends.

stephen

I'm really good at answering e-mail; it's the phone I avoid. If you send me an e-mail, you can bet that I will respond within a few hours, but if you call me, I will ignore your call. Not because I don't like you, just because I don't like to talk on the phone. I think I'm intimidated by real-time conversation, and that's a sad thing. Maybe e-mail has made me that way. Maybe technology has made a total recluse out of me. But wait...telephones haven't always been around. People haven't always been able to call you up and have a real-time conversation. They used to write letters, instead. So maybe I'm not so bad after all. Maybe the telephone people are.

Jane

I don't think it's something you need to change about yourself. People don't have unlimited capacity for relationships.

AdriftAtSea

Reaching out to someone new is always a risk... Doing so can leave you vulnerable, and you run many risks, but not doing so also has it share of risks.

A good example is going on a blind date. Seven years ago, I was told I was about to go on a blind date with the "not-pretty sister" and I had two choices. I could keep the date, even though "not-pretty" is not exactly what most people would want to hear about a blind date match, or I could cancel.

As it turned out, I kept the date, and then was engaged to the "not-pretty sister" two months and ten days after our first date. She was the most beautiful and gracious person I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. I married her the next year.

You can read more about My Life with Gee.

Sometimes, life throws you a curveball, and the surprises can be both good and bad.

NotoriousBLT

I had wondered why Casinos No's emails aren't replied to.

Thanks for the update.

Deb

I know exactly what you mean, Sherry. I've never heard it expressed like that - splitting of the soul, but I think that's something I always fear, myself.

I think it is a trait of people who are very sensitive: who tend to take on the feelings of other people, who are very conscientious about other people and who are easily overstimulated by their environment.

I know myself that I tend to feel too responsible for other people, for their feelings, for their needs - and maybe that's why I've always reached out to people who I considered "stronger" than me, or more dominant. I am afraid that if I take on another person, I have given myself another commitment. And because of this, my close friends are of a number I can count on one hand. I don't gather acquaintances although I am comfortable in crowds and I am sociable.

It's so interesting. We are so much alike. I think.

Pat

For me, there's the public persona that doesn't hurt or cost much to share generally, but sharing other parts isn't so automatic. Intuition guides me in deciding what part of me to share with whom; sometimes I engage with people because they are, at least in large measure, kindred spirts. Other times it's simply because they're interesting people, or good conversationalists, or simply because the atmosphere is ripe for sharing.

So, ho-hum superficial day-to-day communication is easy and I reliably return those sorts of calls and e-mails. But the more personal stuff is harder; sometimes it takes me time to know what I think or want to say back to someone or whether there's something I could say that would help or whether there's enough of me to get involved or whether the involvement is worth it.

JB

I stumbled across your blog while looking for bar review books online. I take a similar approach to the legal "profession" as you. I'm a state-school graduate (laughing at my private school counterparts who are forced to bill 2500 hours a year at a factory just to make payments on their loans) and more concerned with enjoying life and family than working with a bunch of unhappy people.
I have not gone through all of your posts, yet, but will likely find the time as I avoid studying. I look forward to reading your thoughts and reflections on the law and life in Portland and your recent relocation south. Having just moved from the desert southwest to Portland, I am keen to impresssions on new locales and seasonal changes. Keep up the entertaining and insightful posts. Thanks.

Fintan

Hi, I came upon this blog while trying to make sense of a situation in my life with no-one to confide in, so this is helping me to understand. I've been at the receiving end of non-reply in a case of mutual friendship, with really no idea why.
I applaud your honesty in your blog though, and it has helped me to understand why people behave in these ways. But I don't agree that forming friends (or acquaintances) splinters the soul, in fact, quite the opposite. It seems to me that being emotionally drained by having too many friends is not brought about by having too many friends per se, but by the inability to manage them, or be honest with them. Try not to enter into friendships that you can't fulfil. Lots of people are sensitive and the feeling of rejection can be profound.

Janet

So what do you think of a friend who you emailed a week ago that you needed help with a project and then they never emailed you back?

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I'm a state-school graduate (laughing at my private school counterparts who are forced to bill 2500 hours a year at a factory just to make payments on their loans) and more concerned with enjoying life and family than working with a bunch of unhappy people.

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I think it is a trait of people who are very sensitive: who tend to take on the feelings of other people, who are very conscientious about other people and who are easily overstimulated by their environment.

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I applaud your honesty in your blog though, and it has helped me to understand why people behave in these ways

Jill

It takes maybe 30 seconds to "crank out" a quick reply to an email. What an odd excuse you give for being just plain rude.

Joe

I'll offer a different take:

1. I send emails to folks that don't always get answered. I try not to take it personally.

2. I receive emails that I don't answer.

In the latest case of me not answering one it's because the person is asking for marriage advice, I know both parties, and I'm uncomfortable with it. I'm not going to fuel the fire by responding to the email, and even to tell them I'm uncomfortable will make them continue. So, I ignore it.

My way of dealing with people who don't answer my emails is that I don't answer theirs and if mine don't get answered I don't worry about it.

It all works out in the end.

mtngoddess

Lucky you that you're so popular. If you're that inundated then either don't make new friends, or be upfront and honest that you're not a great correspondent or communicator. Sorry, but I find people that are unresponsive to be very rude. I take responsibility and respect the people who I allow in my life, whether it's business, friendship or acquaintances.

If you don't want to hear from someone, there are dozens of ways to be diplomatic and gentle about it, rather than just not responding. You're very symbolic of the age we live in, and no wonder people feel more isolated and reclusive.

Joe

@mtngoddess

If you don't want to hear from someone, there are dozens of ways to be diplomatic and gentle about it, rather than just not responding.

This is true to a certain extent, but there are many people who send emails that use that idea to manipulate by sending emails they KNOW you are not going to want to answer, that put you in some sort of awkward position, so that they can then say "Look, he/she didn't answer me!"

Tamara

Wow!
I came upon your blog trying to find answers or analysises about why people don't answer their email.
Last month I read an article about how people with narcisstic personality disorders love to use the internet.
I am now convinced that the internet is infested with individuals who need serious psychological treatment and counseling.
Your behavior is definitely not normal.

Natahsa Thompson

Hey recently, I was asked that question, why don't I answer my emails and the answer to that is that I am very busy, I need sometime to myself and I don't have the time to waste and again I am not interested in that person and just like I said I hate to waste my time with guys who seems to be very needy. I am not rude but I like guys who are very up front.

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