By Alecia Rice
Q: I feel so much pressure from my personal communications with texts, private messages, etc. that I feel like I’m on the hook with people 24/7. I’m stressed and need relief. I’d love some tips. — On Call
A: Dear On Call,
Technology has grown up underneath us with so many different tentacles of communications that it can feel like it’s constantly driving us towards another response. Each “ping” can hijack our consciousness, taking us out of the moment. My response deals solely with private communications.
It’s imperative that we learn to better manage our communications so that we’re not feeling a constant tug or guilt because we got that message an hour ago and still haven’t responded. Someone else’s timing isn’t necessarily ours, so it’s important to differentiate. We need priorities for getting back to people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean right now, unless it’s something really important.
We don’t have to feel dominated by our devices. Websites like humanetech.com, teach us how to “take control” of our technology, so we can reclaim our lives by not being sucked into the black hole of notifications and lost time once we’ve engaged with our device.
In digital relationships, it’s important to clearly convey our communication styles by setting boundaries for ourselves and others. Activating phone settings also gives us total control of our experience. Communicating that we’ve set aside regular time for spiritual devotions in the morning or family time in the evening helps to put technology in its proper place working it around life priorities. Setting aside dedicated time each day to respond to emails, etc. also claims that time. When we know that we’ve communicated these boundaries clearly to others, it frees our consciousness up from things like guilt.
Unless we’re being irresponsible, we don’t have to apologize for our communication habits. We get to construct our lives in ways that work for us. We’re looking to create a flow that syncs with our lifestyle so we can stay present with what’s important in the moment while staying connected to others in ways that feel right and good to us.
Q: I have a friend whom I adore, yet she’s very demanding in her communications. She’ll call and text back to back, demanding a response, expecting me to drop everything because she messaged me. It’s draining and I’m not sure how to put an end to the cycle we’re in. Any suggestions? — Feeling Badgered
A: Dear Feeling Badgered,
“Your urgency is not my emergency.”
Consciousness means being clear on what we wish to experience. It’s a technological Wild West out there. No one teaches us digital etiquette, so we’re all operating with differing and often unspoken needs, rules and proclivities. Others can’t automatically know what’s appropriate and what’s not, therefore it’s our responsibility to speak those needs.
At first glance, this appears to be a digital issue, but it’s also rooted in respect for desires that should be spoken. Speaking your digital boundaries is key for understanding and requires consistent application, otherwise your boundaries are worthless.
I’d suggest having a conversation about this in person or by phone to properly convey your needs so as to not be misconstrued, since writing is so one-dimensional. Too often we’ll type what we want to say, which is sometimes taken wrong. Talking about it conveys many things at the same time. Doing so in person gives physical cues that we can’t receive on the phone or in text. Voice allows tone, volume, pacing, etc., that give us more information than text itself. Text leaves the receiver room to read through their own filters, which can be misconceived—especially if there are wounds or issues in that relationship. Using emojis can be helpful to fill in those blanks, but conversations are the best path for clear conveyance of boundaries.
Explain to your friend that you can’t always get back to her immediately, and it stresses you when she’s so insistent. Tell her that one text or call is enough, and if it’s an emergency, she needs to say so, otherwise you’ll get back to her when you’re able.
You can also establish what I call a “code word” that you discuss the meaning of ahead of time so she’s clear what it means when she receives it. Something like “Later” or “Busy” is a simple one-word text that allows her to know you received the message but won’t be getting back to her until you’re ready.
Alecia Rice is a Spiritual Alchemist and a personal advisor for those ready to unravel their issues with conscious choices. She offers grounded perspectives for energy management and sage insights in columns, videos, and podcasts. Visit www.AskAlecia.com for more information. Submit personal questions and quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org.