Communication Pet Peeves

Letters from my grandfather to his parents

Via cynthiacloskey on flickr.

I think I was meant to live in the olden days. In the days when the only way of communication was by post, and it was normal that a response would take weeks or even months to arrive.  Okay, well maybe more realistically I would like to live in a time when the telephone was invented. But only the house phone. No cell phones. And no touch-tone dialing. Just the old fashioned rotary kind.

All of the rapid means of communication now a days has my nerves shot. Texting, e-mail, almost infinite ways of chatting, cell phones, Facebook, Twitter: they all make communication all over the world practically instantaneous. It has the potential to drive me a bit batty, and I don’t even have a smart phone!

My current phone. Nothing "smart" about it.

Here are some of my pet peeves about communication devices. You will notice that none of them have to do with good old pen and paper correspondence. I swear, it’s the ideal way. Anyone want to go back in time with me?

Waiting for a Phone Call

This is my number one pet peeve. I am a somewhat impatient person. But I swear, it’s the instantaneous nature of modern communication that has made me this way. Here in Chile, people don’t leave voice mails. I think it’s because if you have a pre-paid plan, it costs money to listen to them, and people would rather actually talk on the phone than waste their money listening to voice mails. Plus, cell phone minutes are dang expensive. Because of that, when you have a missed call, there is a kind of unwritten rule that it means you should call the person back. If you have multiple missed calls from the same person, it could mean it’s urgent, at least that’s what I tend to think.  However, that also prevents me from incessantly calling a person who I want to talk to. Like right now, I’m waiting to hear some news from a friend. I already called him once, he didn’t answer. If I call him again, and he doesn’t answer again, that’s two missed calls. That might be bordering on an emergency, and it’s no emergency. I’m just impatient and I want to know! Now, darnit!

Short, Informal Responses to Long, Formal E-Mails

I have to write a lot of formal emails for my job. I use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, use the proper titles and headings and always sign sincerely or regards. And then sometimes, I get two word responses, with no capitalization or punctuation. The worst is if it’s in all caps. DON’T YOU REALIZE THAT WRITING IN ALL CAPS ON THE INTERNET IS CONSIDERED YELLING? Not pleasant, is it?

Here is a recent example of what I am talking about. The first is my e-mail, the second is the response:

Estimado _______________,
Muchas gracias por su respuesta. Entonces me gustaría concretar la reserva para el día miércoles 30 de noviembre a las 20:00 horas para 12 personas.
Espero la confirmación de la reserva.
Muchas gracias.
Cordialmente,
Abigail
Dear ___________________, 
Thank you so much for your response. I would like to make the reservation for Wednesday, November 30th at 8:00 pm for 12 people.
I look forward to the confirmation of the reservation.
Thank you very much.
Cordially,
Abigail 
———–
Ok reservado
Ok, reserved. 
Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!?!

E-mails that only answer part of the question.

Call me needy, but occasionally I write emails with more than one question. And it bugs the heck out of me when I only get the answers to part or one of my multiple questions. If you don’t know the answer, that’s fine, but tell me that! Or refer me to someone else! Because it makes me sound like a jerk writing back and saying, “Um, thanks, but what about my other questions?” It’s more comfortable for all of us (mostly me) if you just answer them all at once.

Social Media Pet Peeves

  • People who write gushy things on their boyfriend/girlfriend’s Facebook wall every day. It’s called a private message, folks.
  • #FollowFriday. The Oatmeal said it best. 
  • People who re-tweet every mention of them on twitter. If someone is RTing a post that YOU tweeted, there is no need for YOU to RT it! It’s insane and makes no sense!
  • Chain private messages on Facebook sent only to women that tell you to write the color of your bra or where you put your purse on your wall. I don’t get it.

Aaaaaaand I’m still waiting for that phone call. If I had written a letter, it would have taken weeks to get a response, and instead of anxiously waiting and writing this blog post to pass the time, I would have done something productive, like polished the silver, or sewed myself a dress, or made homemade soap. You know, whatever people did to pass the time back in the day.

PS. I would just like to say that I heart Skype, and no, no one is paying me to say so. Besides letter writing, it’s probably the ideal way to communicate. 

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14 thoughts on “Communication Pet Peeves

  1. One of my favorites is when you invite someone for (whatever) on Thursday at 7pm. They never respond…….until about 6pm on Thursday, after you’ve made other plans, of course. Just exactly how long was I supposed to wait for their answer?

  2. One of my favorites is when you invite someone for (whatever) on Thursday at 7pm. They never respond…….until about 6pm on Thursday, after you’ve made other plans, of course. Just exactly how long was I supposed to wait for their answer?

  3. One of the things I don’t care for is this expectation that every email will be reponded to or needs to be reponded to. I have had a bunch of students ask me if I got their email… uh, yes, it’s not the pny express, it’s email, I think it is pretty safe, they rarely get lost. I don’t have the energy to send a bunch of “received” emails. I don’t text much and I am not on twitter… it seems like connection overload to me, but every once in a while it seems like I am missing out a little.

    • Yes! I would have included that in my pet peeves too but I just realized it today when a woman kept calling me at work to make sure that I had gotten her email. Yes, and five minutes ago, so calm down and I will respond soon. I hardly text either and Twitter is way overwhelming. I think my problem is I need to “unfollow” a bunch of people who annoy me, because there is a lot of useful info, you just have to weed through the other junk.

  4. One of the things I don’t care for is this expectation that every email will be reponded to or needs to be reponded to. I have had a bunch of students ask me if I got their email… uh, yes, it’s not the pny express, it’s email, I think it is pretty safe, they rarely get lost. I don’t have the energy to send a bunch of “received” emails. I don’t text much and I am not on twitter… it seems like connection overload to me, but every once in a while it seems like I am missing out a little.

    • Yes! I would have included that in my pet peeves too but I just realized it today when a woman kept calling me at work to make sure that I had gotten her email. Yes, and five minutes ago, so calm down and I will respond soon. I hardly text either and Twitter is way overwhelming. I think my problem is I need to “unfollow” a bunch of people who annoy me, because there is a lot of useful info, you just have to weed through the other junk.

  5. Haha, I totally agree. I’m addicted to Facebook and Twitter but so many things about it annoy me.

    One of my Facebook pet peeves is people who feel the need to post about how ‘fat’ they’re getting or how ‘ugly’ they are but then post pictures of themselves in their underwear to get compliments. It totally annoys the crap out of me.

  6. Haha, I totally agree. I’m addicted to Facebook and Twitter but so many things about it annoy me.

    One of my Facebook pet peeves is people who feel the need to post about how ‘fat’ they’re getting or how ‘ugly’ they are but then post pictures of themselves in their underwear to get compliments. It totally annoys the crap out of me.

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