Last week, less than a day after I wrote about “seeing,” Charlie at Productive Flourishing wrote that “Each [email] message is both an implicit request to be seen and an explicit request for something.”
Who has noticed how their relationships with others suffer from brusque emails, and that the three line tag at the end where you say nothing but, “How is your budgie doing? I was thinking of you last week, etc.” is not only the hardest part, but the most important way of proving that you actually listen to what they say?
I agonize over this tag, because as you all know, I’m a pretty wordy person, but my typing leaves a lot to be desired. I try to keep this tag short because it’s just a big wormhole where time disappears into. It’s not unusual for this tag to be as long as the email and yet I still feel like I didn’t give enough attention to that person.
In fact, I realize that I react more to the desire to be seen than I do to the request for assistance. I know what it’s like to ask a question that is only a hat for what you really want: clarification, support, reassurance, commitment, or simply to forge a connection.
On one hand, the reaction to “see” and connect is good, because I’m responding to what people want, as well as what they say they want, and that builds great rapport and trust.
On the other hand, it feeds directly into my fear that I cannot do enough, be supportive enough, listen enough.
So I’m going to take my own advice and simply be aware of this tendency and dynamic and see what happens from there.