Musings on The Social Behavior of “Ignoring.”

Sitting on a bench near the Bay inlet for a Marina enjoying the sun and soft breeze, I found myself wondering about some of the now accepted social behaviors of the daily routine kind. One particular behavior that has beset me in the past and most recently is the fact, let me call it, a common behavior, is that of “ignoring.” What I have heard some announce openly in an unabashed way, “I think it is acceptable to not have to say hello to everyone you know just because they are walking by or are near you.”

That is one example of “ignoring.” Another is when a pastor advises a person to “ignore” the someone who had asked to offer help in a project but that person’s work or personality didn’t fit in. She was told, “Just don’t call, and ignore her when you see her.” Can you imagine! This was not a shock to people. It may sound like it now writing about it in this context but really, don’t we see this all the time?

Anther example is when someone calls you or you call someone for advise, or a suggestion, and let’s say that person is very willing on the first call. Then weeks go by and you don’t hear from them. I suspect that person’s boss or higher up in charge person announced, “you can’t give that advice or even a suggestion, we might be held liable if things didn’t work out; or we might get feedback we don’t need. So just ignore that person, don’t call back. She’ll get the message.

Another example of even the worse kind of “ignoring” is when this happens within a Christian Church! Especially when it is done by an administrator of high position. For some reason this “ignoring” behavior seems to be accepted at least by those that do it.  They seem to believe ignoring someone who is waiting for a reply is an accepted social behavior and that isn’t seen as a “slap in the face.”

Now see I can just hear people, right now in my mind, hearing people defending this behavior! It’s true we try so hard to protect those we hold in authority or who are in OUR world that we rationalize all over the place that this is okay, it is torarable. Come on, get with it!  Oh I can hear the excuses, “that person is very very busy and has too much to do to get back to you,” “there was some confusion I’m sure it was an oversight,” or, “you expect too much,” or “your personalizing the whole thing,” and on and on.

Sorry folks, I can’t find ANY excuse that is worth anything! There is ALWAYS a way to fine the time for reconnecting with that person; if only to say, “I’m sorry your help is not needed this time,” or ” I am sorry I can’t be of more help to you,” or ” I’m sorry my position doesn’t allow me to make any suggestions.’ Whatever, there is always a kind reply.

I too have been in the position on occasion of having to reply and not wanting to at all, wondering if just my calling back would send a message I didn’t mean.  But that can be taken care of in the conversation.  So I have always made it requisite of mine to reply to all at all times no matter what!

It is my wish and prayer especially for those who are calling and living a Christian life to do the same. It is such a kind pleasure to know you have not just been “ignored,” even if it’s the voice of disapproval.   Now isn’t that something to think about?


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