Invisibility of the Ignorant

Saturday, January 19th, 2008 at 12:15 am | 1,350 views | trackback url

I’ve been following a trend over the last 5 or more years. It seems to affect people who are used to interacting with others “mostly online”. They seem to have developed a personality defect that I’m now going to start calling the “Invisibility of the Ignorant”.

When someone wants to stop talking to you, they just go completely invisible. No reason, no rhyme, no excuse, they just vanish.

What would that be like if someone did that in person?

You’re standing there talking to someone, having an ongoing conversation and you ask them a question, they’re looking right at you and then they turn around and walk away into the crowd. That is precisely what this is like.

It’s almost as if there is zero respect for anything or anyone, since you’re “not in person”, there can be no harm done, right? Wrong. The same rules of respect, dignity and behaving properly applies.

I’ve increasingly had a lot of interactions with people since I’ve lost my job with IBM back at the end of June including job recruiters, hiring managers, secretaries, women, men and people from all walks of life.

The one constant thread throughout all of these relationships with these people, is that without fail, 99.9% of them do not know how to maintain a simple conversation. Their people skills flat-out suck.

Instead of a polite “We’re sorry, you’re not a good fit for the position” or “We’ve decided to hire someone internally instead” or “I’ve found someone else better suited for me.”, you get… NOTHING. Not a phone call, not an email, you get nothing. You get invisibility.

I can’t count the thousands of times I’ve had to call people back, because they just fell off the face of the earth, right in the middle of an existing conversation or relationship. It is such a drain on the energy I already have, to have to chase people around to make sure they’re doing what is expected of them, and also to make sure they haven’t died… because that’s about the only reason I can think of for not completing a simple conversation or calling someone back who is expecting your phone call.

Is it laziness? Is it malice? Is it purely stupidity? Forgetfulness? I don’t know what it is, but it’s definitely a growing “defect” in people who spend a majority of their lives interacting with people who they will probably never meet in person.

And it’s sad.

When someone is expecting me to show up, or to call… I call. When I have an appointment, even if it is for something trivial like to bring my cats to the vet, I will call if I’m going to be late, just to let them know, so they can plan around that time.

It just happened to me moments ago. I was having an IM conversation with a friend, and it was an ongoing, interactive back and forth conversation and then after my last typed message… nothing. Nothing at all. Not even a “Hey, I have something to do, let’s catch up later.” or something. Just silence.

It’s been 29 minutes now and the other person has gone completely idle in their IM client.

I don’t ever leave people hanging, or wondering.

But then again, I’m not like most people.

Last Modified: Saturday, January 19th, 2008 @ 00:15

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