Monday September 1 2014

LIVING AND LOVING IT: What happened to common courtesy?

This is why I am not keen on Facebook and Whatsapp. I do not hate the platforms of communication. With phones costing less and giving more, it is easier and cheaper to keep in touch. But sometimes, I wish someone would not ask if I was on Whatsapp because they want to have a conversation, for free. I wish they would not refuse to share a picture or two with me, from the birthday party because I am not on Facebook. Friendship is supposed to transcend that.

What bothers me more today is some emails I sent out, to which I have not received replies. A few months ago, I was out of the country for a small workshop. I made acquaintances while there. But three of them stood out. One woman gave me a book she had written, hoping it would help with my work. Two others insisted I should let them know when a project I was working on was concluded and share the information with them. So insistent they were, they took my number. It felt nice to meet people, far away from Uganda, with whom I might forge good friendships.

I also got the chance to visit an organisation where five people spared their time to talk to me about what they do. They all gave me their business cards, with three asking I send them email when I get back home about any more information I need or anything else. I felt I was doing some good networking. I could not wait to have online conversations.

A few days after I returned, I sent thank you emails to the people I had met in the organisation. I received only one reply (which was surprisingly – in a good way from one of the bosses). The other two who had told me to email them whenever, about anything, did not reply. Maybe they were busy.

Shortly after, I finished reading the book the friendly woman at the workshop had given me. I sent her a fairly long email telling her what I liked about the book and how it had helped me. No reply. Thinking there was a problem, I sent her email again, asking if she had received my mail. No reply. At this point I began to think there was a problem with our office outlook and that my emails were not going through.

Two months later, I sent email with documents to the two other women who really wanted to know how I had gone about the project I said I would be doing. These two I expected replies from. After all, one had been excited, saying it would help her if she could get the information. The other had given me some sources to look at. But also, I had spent more time with her, taking walks, going out for dinner at the invitation of someone else, and sharing the same shuttle back to the airport. We had talked for hours and enjoyed each other’s company. Surely these two would reply. They did not.

Convinced there was something wrong with our office email, I decided to use my personal address to find out if they had received anything from me. And then one of them replied, saying she had received it and was looking through it. I have not heard from her since.
So I guess all these people have received my emails but just have not replied. What happened to common courtesy?