The internet is a breeding ground for insecurity and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). The simplest things can be misinterpreted and before you know it we’ve got a total (hypothetical) catastrophe playing out in our heads. Here’s some advice on how to handle communicating with the other humans online.
1. If someone doesn’t reply to your email, it doesn’t mean they hate you. Often it means they are overwhelmed with email or that your email may even have gone to spam! Keep trying!
2. If someone doesn’t talk to you much on social media, it doesn’t mean they hate you. Often it means they are not even seeing your posts because Facebook is sucky like that and/or they are following lots of people and thus inundated or they don’t use social media that much.
3. If people don’t comment on your updates or blog posts, it doesn’t mean they hate you. Probably they are busy or just not seeing what you post.
4. If people aren’t inviting you to stuff and you are seeing them having fun without you on Facebook, it doesn’t mean they hate you. It probably means you need to catch up a bit more often with those people so they know you are keen and not super-busy. People often think other people are super busy and preempting a declined invite they don’t bother to ask.
5. If people are proving hard to contact, it doesn’t mean they hate you. It can mean that they are doing their best, but it’s just hard to cut through life’s workload. Find their phone number and give them a ring. Keep trying! You can do it!
6. If people are doing awesome stuff in the same field as you, it doesn’t mean they hate you. It probably means that you guys share similar interests and they are trying to make their way and be successful just like you! Congratulate and/or befriend them! Collaborate, don’t compete.
7. If someone doesn’t reply to that message you sent them on Facebook or Twitter, it doesn’t mean they hate you. It probably means they don’t have message notifications switched on OR that your message ended up in the ‘others’ folder on Facebook or that they are overwhelmed and holding their head in their hands because they get so many messages. Try a more traditional form of contact (rather than doing the easy thing and knocking a message up on social media). Write to them snail mail style or ring them up or try a polite email instead. (Similarly if you tag someone, they may not see the tag. It doesn’t mean they hate you!)
8. If someone doesn’t talk to you at an event, it doesn’t mean they hate you. It probably means that they are shy, feeling overwhelmed, distracted by a presentation they may be about to give, could not get around to chat to everyone or might have been wondering why you weren’t talking to them. Take the initiative and go say hello and if that person seems inundated, find a way to connect afterwards via email or whatever. Don’t hold it against them because social occasions are often too social for their own good (or a bit daunting for many!)
9. If someone doesn’t acknowledge something you sent them, it doesn’t mean they hate you. It may mean that they haven’t got to that yet, that they are not sure how to respond (maybe they don’t usually get things sent to them) or that they have responded but you missed it. It’s totally okay to send a note or email saying, ‘I hope you liked the thing! I’m so happy that you are around!’ Be proactive.
10. If someone does something you don’t understand or advocate, it doesn’t mean they hate you. It probably means that they had good reasons or intentions and you might not be aware of those. Lighten up and allow others the freedom to live and express themselves in their own way. Trust that they are doing what works for them (even if it doesn’t make sense to you!)
Phew. You’re all sorted out now!