Periodically, I have been asked for advice (spiritual or otherwise) by on-line contacts; at times, this has led to unintended results. Some humorous; others not so much.
Written communication with those whom you don't know well
can be difficult. (Business language is well-developed and formalized
to the "cut & dried" stage, for a reason.) The loss of
intonation, body language, facial expression and even hand gestures can
make interpretation of messages more a minefield than a conversation.
Great care is required, as even the best of intentions can be
misinterpreted, and the lack of a common frame of reference can make it
even more tricky.
Further complicating the issue, there
are said to be six layers in interpersonal communication, completely
apart from body language, inflection and tone of voice, etc.:
1. What I mean to say
2. What I actually say
3. What I think it meant
4. What you hear
5. What you think I intended
6. What it meant to you
Note that #3 and #6 may be miles apart.
first time it came up via e-mail, I was unprepared for the pitfalls,
and it began badly. Establishing a rapport - something that seems so
easy to accomplish, face to face - was much more difficult than I'd
anticipated. Nevertheless, requests continue to come in, and that's
In person, I have used humor, when appropriate,
to lighten the mood. This does not always work via the written word;
the success depends in large part upon that "common frame of reference"
which is missing in the early parts of a written communication. It has
forced me to consider the written word even more closely than before,
which is a good thing.
Sometimes the misunderstandings
proceed from a false sense of familiarity, such as TV viewers may feel
toward an actor who's in their living room on a weekly basis. Someone
who has read posts on another's blog may think they know that blogger
well. That may or may not be true.
The blogger may have left much
out, and there are quite probably undertones that alter the
circumstances. Those things which have been left unsaid may affect the
situation quite differently than suspected.
more requests these days than previously; it's probably God's own grace
that had me learning how to handle these things, before the number of
contacts began to grow. I'm by no means perfect, and won't be - this
side of Heaven. But I'm learning, and I'm much better at it than I was.
By next week, I ought to be perfect.
* * * * *
a seven-day period each month, I hand the after-hours and weekend calls
to an assistant. Tuesday evening is the first of that period for March, and so I will be gloriously free of the on-duty cellphone. The sense of liberation
from that 24/7 on-call status can be quite heady at times; rolling the line to the assistant's phone leaves me wanting to dance
in the parking lot.
I'll try to contain myself. But it's awfully nice to be able to relax fully, after work.
* * * * *
It's 26° with a freezing/frosty fog this morning. No precip is forecast until Tuesday, for which AccuHunch predicts 37 and rain. On Friday and Saturday, or so they guess, we'll have a few inches of snow.
That will be welcome news for the Iditarod folks; their ceremonial start is on Saturday.
Whatever happens, we can't complain about lack of light, as the days are noticeably longer already. And break-up* is getting closer all the time.
Here's a bit o' humor for you:
Thanks for stopping by, friends, and have a wonderful Sunday.
* All y'all call it "Spring", for some reason.