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Monday, 4 April 2016

On Courtesy And Other Things - The Lady.

Courtesy … 
My earliest memories are of my mother reprimanding me for not responding to a comment or question directed at me. ‘Is it not you, he/she is talking to?’ ‘Open your mouth and answer.’ ‘Can’t you talk?’ As if I would respond no to that last question. I detest small talk just as much as I detest and display of a lack of courtesy. 

Unfortunately that seems to be the norm especially with the advent of mobile devices and instant messaging. How many times have you sent a message to someone only for them to respond days later? Or are you the guilty party? I am not talking about when there is a rift between both parties or someone is merely constituting a nuisance, but something as simple as an inquiry or merely checking up on a friend. 

I have quite a number of acquaintances. Yes, acquaintances who do this. For that singular reason, they cannot be considered friends because I do not like rude people. It is a rather unattractive trait. A common defence is that they thought they responded or that they intended to do so and it skipped their mind. That is a fair excuse the first 2 times. Anything after that is just plain rude and shows a disdain for the person’s time and emotions. The irony is that these category of people are the ones whose phones are never out of their sight when you hang with them. The type that you have to pry away from their phones when you are out together. Then you begin to wonder why they never respond to you. My conclusion? They don’t care for you. Simple. Nothing to feel bad or upset about either. C’est la vie! However, another irony is that such people are the first to accuse you of not keeping in touch. Errr….kindly miss me with that bullshit. 

This attitude is not limited to contemporaries. It cuts across age, class and social strata. You send out emails to organisations and you never get a response even after numerous follow ups (Please, always follow up on emails if you do not receive a response within a decent period). Job seekers are all too familiar with this. When executives complain about how busy they are to respond to messages or return phone calls, I laugh. A while back, I came in contact with a top executive in my field and that experience left an indelible mark on me. Think someone whose name is in the hall of fame for his field globally. He was also a BUSY man. I mean as BUSY as they come. This man, not Nigerian of course, responds to every single mail even in his retirement. I had responded to a call for applications. I never followed up on the application, but I decided to keep in touch with him. After some time, I ran into him at an event and thought to introduce myself since we had never met prior to that encounter. Turns out, he was short of time and needed to take his leave, but he promised to get in touch with me. Lo and behold, some days later, I received an email from him explaining why he was in such a rush. To say I was shocked is an understatement and I told him that I wasn’t expecting sucha reaction from him and he responded that if in his position he could make out time for the big names in our field, then he must make out time for the younger generation who are the future. I learnt a lesson in humility that day. So also graciousness. This man was neither my teacher nor employer, nor a family friend/acquaintance. A total stranger! I also had a similar experience with another top executive in the same field. A lady who was equally gracious. 

During that period, I contacted some Nigerian executives in my field and oh the torture of squeezing a response out of them! I gave up eventually and wrote just that in my footnotes. Lack of courtesy is not limited to Nigerians, but I witness it a lot around me. More than I witness a display of courteousness and I wonder if it is too much to ask for

I am curious as to why people choose to ignore messages sent to them and think it is acceptable to do so. Ever done this? Care to share why? If you have been on the receiving end, how did it make you feel?

Other things …
Is there anything else you would love the Lady to touch on that relates to work, career or personal development?

The Lady some of your posts make me feel like a naughty child being sent to the naughty corner and receiving a reprimand. I'm not guilty of TDLR, but on the matter of not responding to messages, especially texts, immediately is one I'm guilty of. The speediness of my response depends on a number of factors and it's seldom because I'm... Oh what the hell, I agree with you, it's discourteous and I promise to do better *please can I come out of the naughty corner now? *sniff sniff*

Guys, are you also piqued by people who delay to respond to messages? Or, like me, are you the guilty party here. 


  1. I think different societies view courtesy in different ways. I also think the mode of communication also affects the eventuality of a reply. For example some people tend to trivialize unsolicited mails rather than phone calls possibly due to the fact that they receive more than their fair share of spams. Like for me, I remember there was a time when I could get more than two missed calls from one of my contacts and not even bother to return the call, now things have changed.

    As to organizations not responding to mails, I opine that's the norm of doing business in Nigeria especially when you are the one seeming to seek a favor. I've interacted with foreign nationals and they seem to place more emphasis on courtesy especially with replying mails and answering inquiries much more than the average Nigerian. Well, if acquaintances are not replying to your messages and not willing to change their attitude, then they don't deserve to be friends

    My choice on 'Other things', Personal Development. I'd leave it to you to freestyle.

  2. Nice 1... well, I know some pple who are genuinely busy and can't take or return calls/mssgs. But I also know some ones who are forming busy and hence forget to return calls...such ones I can't be bothered with keeping in touch with them. Well, I too am busy!! Hehe

  3. *with guilt from the naughty corner*

    I am guilty of the above. I really can't be bothered to open my BBM much less read some of my pings or whatsapp messages on most days cos I'd have to reply or start a conversation and most of the time, I'm not in the mood to do/type anything. I didn't think it was rude, snobbish maybe, but not rude. Then there are those people that chat you up every single time you change DP or PM, I just cant deal with those ones. I'm not trying to justify my bad behaviour, I'm just trying to explain it. Then procrastination is a serious contributor to this too.

    I get a lot of work related calls and it can be very annoying so I don't return calls from numbers that aren't saved on my phone. I'll try to be better sha cos a LOT of people have complained about it.

    Thank's The Lady. Can I come out of the naughty corner now :(

  4. While preparations for my wedding was in full swing. I contacted a certain guy to be master of ceremony at the reception as he came highly recommended and seemed to tick all my desired boxes for how I would want the event to turn out. Very importantly, I wanted my guests to be involved in the fun, I didn't want them to eat and just go, I just wanted some other people to be the cynosure of all eyes and not just us.
    Good thing is, he's not a stranger to me so I thought contacting him to discuss business wouldn't be an issue and boy was I wrong?!
    Dude was forming busy, he wouldn't respond to BBMs for days and yet, he'd be changing his DP and PM every now and then, sending silly BCs.
    The few times he managed to respond to my messages, he responded somewhat dismissively. Giving me a very unreasonable price and asking that I arrange for his accommodation in Lagos (2 nights), transportation, give him my aso -ebi for guys and then we would discuss the fee.
    I told him to sum it all up in a fee and get back to me, which took another 2-4 days before he responded. I immediately gave him my price which he read and didn't respond to on the same day. Days later, he buzzed me himself and told me, ''so we have a deal.'' By then I was too pissed with his epileptic style of communication especially because I would be paying him. So, I responded sharply immediately that ''No, we don't, I sorted MC already. thanks for your time'' Even though I hadn't. To which he also responded ''wow''.
    Fortunately for him we met later that night at the mall and he apologized, so I let him do it at the end of the day.
    By the time he added me and hubby to a group of just three of us to discuss what we would like etc etc and he would go off again, I gave him a very blunt piece of my mind and he adjusted.
    That's the height of lack of timely response I've ever experienced.

  5. Haha @ Sunshine and Thelma. As long as you remember to do unto others as you would have them do to you, you may exit the naughty corner.

    Funny though, Thelma is one person I have filed under 'she'll reply eventually', which is still okay by me.

    - The Lady.

  6. i guess i'm guilty of responding to texts and whatsapps days later. i just haven't yet acclamatised myself with this 21st century need to receive information on every single thing on the spot at every single hour of the day. why? why are you messaging me at this hour? what do you want to know now that cannot wait? mind you, i will (scratch that, i MAY) read your message earlier than I respond, so at least if it’s something urgent, I can respond accordingly. But if it's nothing urgent, it can wait till tomorrow... or the weekend. So if everybody is responding instantly, how long is this conversation going to take? would i do anything else with my day apart from the both of us responding instantly?
    I mean for starters, I'm anti- constantly staring at your phone and devices instead of making contact with real people, so I often go without checking my phone for hours. I believe if I'm somewhere, I should be 100% there, not dividing my attention between the real world and the virtual world.
    If you really want to talk to me, let's meet up, and I will honestly give you my 100% attention, and you can receive answers to your questions even before you finish the question - that instantly!... but if you are waiting for my texts and whatsapp immediate responses, you are on a long thing. sorry.

    1. I agree with your point on timing. I overlooked that and I guess that is why comments are always welcome.

      After a certain time of the day or before a certain time, I don't pick certain phone calls or respond to messages. I believe people need to be conscious about timing too. Don't be calling me at 6am. I will not pick up! If it's that important, send a message and I will most likely respond instantly. However, I will always return the call either the following day or much later in the day.

      I had a boss who'd be sending messages at odd hours of the day. Not so polite ones at that. To preserve my sanity, I would only respond when I got into the office most times.

      -The Lady

  7. I think Nigerians believe it gives the impression that they are important. For me it's just irritating. Some people give the excuse of you know I don't like chatting much, what happened to replying and saying please can you call instead? That's more polite than ignoring messages. For me I try to reply messages as soon as I see them or when I hear my phone beep. Some people have said how come you always reply on time, it's as if you're not to busy. I tell them if ignoring messages makes you busy then kontinu.
    As for sending emails to companies, I don't even bother at all because it's a waste of time. These days I search for their Twitter handle or phone number. Responses are quicker that way.
    I was listening to T. D. Jakes once and he said that he doesn't know how to hear his phone ring and not answer, even when it's someone he doesn't want to talk to. He just wasn't raised like that. Personally I think Nigerians are just mannerless and rude.

  8. I am partly guilty though.....I wee change


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