I got the passive aggressive I’m-mad-at-you-but-don’t-want-to-admit-it treatment from a someone last weekend. I have no patience for this kind of thing. I don’t like confrontation but I don’t like falseness more. If you’re mad at me just tell me the truth so I can deal with it and we can move past it. The problem arises when the other person is upset over something petty. Nobody wants to admit to being petty.
I called to relay some information about plans that were being made and as soon as the phone connected on the other end I was getting nailed.
Me: Hey there, blah blah blah plans blah blah.
Other party: I’ve been calling you. (followed by a much longer than needed pause and further passive aggressive behavior)
So here is the scenario. I was called about plans that morning and confirmed that said plans were happening. First Todd and I needed to run some errands though and I made all of this clear when confirming the plans. So Todd and I ran our errands and as per usual I left my phone at home.
When we arrived home a few hours later I saw that I had three missed calls and three text messages from this person. The texts were non-emergent, run of the mill stuff and there was no voice mail so I finished up what I was doing, as I was involved in something at the time, and about twenty minutes later returned the call.
I got hammered for not picking up my phone and not responding to the texts.
My response: I am in fact returning your calls as you can see we are currently on the phone. (I realize this was probably a bit smart assy and unneeded) Is everything OK?
Other party: Yes (with more than a hint of frustration) but you can’t come over for an hour. (knowing full well we had already left the house and the dog was with us so it’s not like we could stop along the way and window shop etc)
I end the call and inform Todd that we have to turn a 15 minute card ride into an hour. We look at each other and I say Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Turns out, he was. Gelato. Ha. Good luck ruining my good day with your passive aggressive nonsense, I’m having gelato.
We were able to kill an hour and by the time we arrived the storm had passed and we had a nice evening.
I cannot lie though I was really annoyed by the whole situation. Especially because this is someone I am very close with which means they know how I am about the phone.
Sunday mid-morning I was writing when my phone went off. About 10 minutes later I checked it while passing through the kitchen and found that it was my girlfriend that lives a few minutes away inviting me to brunch.
(As a side note – I hate brunch. I wake up early so I cannot wait until late morning/early afternoon to eat. And because I eat breakfast early I am no longer interested in breakfast later in the day. Not to mention I do not like to drink during the day. Having a buzz in the daylight makes me completely disoriented. No, I don’t like brunch. For me there is breakfast and lunch and no in between.)
So even though brunch is an unnecessary, non-meal as far as I am concerned I agreed to meet her and went to my room to throw on a dress and some sunglasses. My friend has been up against a difficult situation recently and I assumed she wanted to talk.
It ended up working out well. I had not eaten yet anyway and we had a lot to discuss, plus it was a beautiful day that needed to be spent outdoors. So while at brunch I told my girlfriend about what happened the day before and how I felt about catching crap over the whole phone situation. She knows exactly what my feelings are on the matter so I did not have to explain my side of it and I needed some perspective which she was able to help me with.
Here is where I stand..
I am aware that I am difficult to reach at times. More often than not you are getting my voice mail the first time you call, which I do not check, and most of my text messages start with the phrase, Sorry, I just got this. I am sure this is incredibly annoying to most people especially if you are just looking for a quick answer on something.
But here is the positive side of it, when you are with me I am completely present. More often than not my phone is on silent or I did not even bring it. I am tuned in giving whatever it is I am doing 100% of my focus and that is way more important to me.
The one exception to all of this is when Todd calls. I always do my best to take his calls. But here is the thing about that, he only calls me at one time, when he is leaving work. Everyday he calls as he is leaving the office to let me know he is on his way home so I do my best to have my phone close by at that time of day each day. Although, if I have plans on any given day around the time he is getting off he knows I won’t be listening for my phone so he doesn’t call. Ultimately making it a non-issue.
I do feel bad at times when I take a while to get back to someone about something because I did not hear my phone or was painting or something and chose not to get up and see who was calling etc. And there have been times when I have missed out on things because I didn’t see the text saying, Hey let’s get lunch until 3:00. I don’t do any of this to be deliberately annoying and I appreciate that the majority of those with whom I am close understand and accept this about me.
I just refuse to allow my cell phone to become a leash. Just because I have a cell phone does not mean that a person can have direct access to me. I have voice mail, leave a message if you must. Eventually I will see that I have a missed call and return it. I mean hell, what did people do before cell phones when all we had were land lines? Oh yeah, we left messages for people and waited for a return phone call. Our society has become so jaded by immediate gratification and getting everything we want the second we want it that we have completely lost perspective. If I want to be disconnected that is my right and that’s it, there is nothing more to talk about.
The only area where I could potentially get pinched, as far as I am concerned, is in the case of an emergency. Even if there were an emergency though I do not worry too much because all of my important people have each others numbers. There might be a little phone tree action going on in order to reach me but it would happen.
I have set pretty clear boundaries in this area of my life and I feel good about it. I know that I have inspired others in my life as well. When I go out with my girlfriends for a girls night now we usually only carry one phone in the entire group in case we need to call a cab or something. That means that in a group that is sometimes as large as seven people we are all disconnected and really spending time together, I love that. I know a few people who followed my lead and deactivated their Facebook account as well which I think is awesome. It was never my intention to influence anyone else but I do feel good about my decisions regarding technology usage and am always glad to see something that has been positive in my life be positive for someone else as well.