I’ve often seen memes doing the rounds on the internet, I love some of them – they resonate so much, and being the person I am I absolutely disagree with some of them. The other day, I saw one on my FB news feed, that said something to the effect that if you call someone, text them or email them and they don’t reply, self-respect dictates that you ignore this person. Do not show desperation by constantly ringing them or texting them – they are not air; if they want to talk to you they will reply to your calls/texts/emails etc. As much as the above is true, I also believe there are infinite possibilities why a person might not return your calls/texts. I also believe that no matter how much care you give to the world the supply will never deplete. Caring is like love: you can love every single person on this planet and still have lots left to love beings from other planets.
Having said that, I know this is a very subjective topic that can evoke great emotions, and that factors like social status, economics, religious/spirituality, postcode, mental status, employment status, in some cases immigration status might play a vital part in deciding whose calls to answer and whose to ignore. Things like the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ spring to mind. Imagine you are being hounded by immigration officers who are calling you with all sorts of numbers (ranging from free phone numbers to possibly your next door neighbour’s house phone to withheld numbers), one might decide to ignore all calls because let’s face it trust is not like care or love, it does deplete and be altered permanently. At that point you can’t trust anyone and any of your contacts or friends could be a home office mole! That’s one of the many scenarios that could present themselves.
As humans we are quick to assume things, to judge people and situations based on learned behaviours e.g. once, I saw a black woman standing at the lotions counter in a supermarket, deciding what brand to buy. A black man walked up to her and said “I know this is what you need” pointing at palmer’s cocoa butter. The woman, obviously offended, said “NO” sternly and picked up a Nivea lotion. I’m not trying to trivialise prejudice, but this man probably grew up seeing all women folk in his family use cocoa butter therefore, assumed all black women use cocoa butter. It’s the way we are wired; otherwise it would take a lifetime deciding whether to take the bus or the tube. We must have these preconceived ideas about things and people so we can make quick decisions without debating it in our heads for eternity. All around us we have to make decisions that could mean life and death. For example, if you saw a half-naked six foot, heavily tattooed and pierced man sharpening a machete on the tarmac, who suddenly walks menacingly towards you, you’d instinctively run for your life screaming the place down. You wouldn’t wait to engage in any dialogue to decide whether he’s dangerous or not. This ‘scenario’ was implanted in your head (from parents, siblings, movies, books, music videos etc.) from an early age that heavily tattooed men or etc, carrying machetes or such pose a great danger to your life. Similarly you assume when so and so doesn’t answer your calls, return your texts, open her door when you knock, she’s ignoring you and doesn’t want you in her life. So you walk away and sever all contact with her.
But how do you know what’s going on with that person. They might have been kidnapped and can’t access their phone. What if that person is in jail and has been denied access to their phone? What if that person has been in an accident? Or worse what is that person suffered a heart attack alone in their house? Before you give up on someone, care, I say this because sometimes when we judge or assume too quickly we react, some put out hurtful words out there, and others start spreading malicious gossip. If you decide to walk away, walk with head held high, in the knowledge that you have done everything a good friend would do, or what you’d want someone to do if you went mute. Under no circumstances should you send messages telling the ‘gone-silent’ off because you have no idea what’s going on in their life. If they were indeed trying to cut you off their life without decency then at least you’ll have the upper hand because you left in decency. If in the future they realise they made a mistake, it will be harder for them to crawl back into your life.
Another scenario is of course if this behaviour has happened many times and you’ve reached the end of the proverbial tether, of course you can walk immediately but I still maintain walking away with dignity. It would be tempting to tell the person off and give them a thorough piece of mind but avoid the temptation. They say that each and every one of us is fighting some battle so be kinder than necessary. It won’t take away an ounce of self-respect if you care.
However, we must all remember, all too often we are so self-involved or self-indulged (no wonder words like selfie are now official words) that basic humanity is compromised, sixth sense is suppressed and common sense is anything but common. Be mindful always.