Similar emails like the one below come in on a regular basis…
What is going on with my “Friend”?
I have a friend that doesn’t reply to my emails. When I talk to her later, she comments she did receive them but was busy and didn’t have time to reply. I then get the impression she may not actually have read them because when I try to discuss the content she seems perplexed. I do feel like she is ignoring me and am at my wits end. What do I do?
The short answer?
Move on to someone who treats you with respect and thinks you are important enough to find the time to reply.
The long answer?
Everyone claims how “busy” they are. To me that’s the go-to excuse. Add to that our culture is more narcissistic than ever. We all know that you make time for the things that are important to you.
So when I hear someone claim they didn’t have time, as in the above visitor email, that tells me they didn’t consider the email a priority. What you sent was not worth their time — at that time.
I wrote about this before in January too.
Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.~ Aristotle
What is a real friend?
It’s not someone on social media or a new contact you met online. Nor is it someone who you have exchanged a few emails with.
The official definition is:
A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.
To form a bond takes time and shared experiences. It also takes effort and trust.
I think with the advent of social media and “friending” and “Like” buttons everywhere we have diluted the true meaning of the word. All the while maintaining the above definition is still apropos. It’s not.
A couple of emails here or there, or we are part of the same online group and an increasing number of folks are assuming a level of intimacy that just isn’t there. Because they believe in the old definition of a friend.
A good friend is like a four leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have.~ Irish Proverb
True friends are not created by clicking a button or a heart or like icon. Enduring friendship is developed over time by communicating, sharing and thinking of the other person. Real friends should be judged by their actions not their words alone.
What isn’t a real friend?
By not making the time to reply to those who email you, they will perceive that you are ignoring them. And admit it — you are. They aren’t enough of a priority to you for you to make the time to respond. So why pretend otherwise?
An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.~ Buddha
If you are the one ignoring, and if you do sincerely care then make the effort to reply promptly. At the very least let them know you are not intentionally trying to be hurtful and make the time moving forward.
If you don’t really care to make that effort, why not tell them the truth? That you’ll respond when you can and do the best you can because they are not a priority for you. Harsh I know. But why lead them on?
You Deserve Better
For those who are ignored, maybe consider accepting at face value that you are not important enough to that person for them to take the time to reply. They may “like” you but you aren’t a priority. If you were they would find the time to respond.
At least acknowledging that would put your expectations in a more realistic light. You can then choose to spend your time with those who appreciate having you as a true friend.