How to Respect People’s Time and Communication Preference

6 minutes


Facebook Messenger has been really helpful with communication. You can chat with someone, call them, or have a video call with them. However, when you are connected to a client or a colleague through social media, some of them like to assume that you’re free because you’re “online”. So, for today, I’ll be talking about asking a person their preferred way of communication and how to respect it.


Hello and welcome to The Traveling Introvert, today I would like to talk about Facebook Messenger calls. I don't understand why people think it's okay just to call randomly. For example, I had someone recently, we had been exchanging emails, I'd responded to an email, I had to take some time off, but I explained that I was away for two days and a weekend celebrating a thing and I responded to their email. And I got two calls on my Facebook Messenger one after the other, and I didn't respond, mainly because I don't do calls that I'm not expecting and two, we'd been communicating via email, so why did you now need to call me on Facebook Messenger?

And so I waited, and then when I had time I went back and I sent a message going, "Hi, I'm not sure why you called. I did respond to your email, just let me know if there's any questions, but I don't respond to unscheduled calls." And I haven't heard from this person since. Now what bothers me about this is the entitlement, assuming that I would drop whatever it is I was doing to talk to them on Facebook. It's not like we were having a conversation and then they called, it was just a random call. Just because you see someone on Facebook doesn't mean they're not working or that they're in a position where they can talk. They didn't know what I was doing, they didn't know where I was and they did two phone calls, one after the other. With no message in between, saying "Oh hey, is it okay if I call you?" It just beggars belief.

The other thing that bothers me is, all of our communication apart from the initial communication was via email. Now what would have been so urgent that you needed to call me? And a little explanation about the communication, the communication was about me sponsoring an event to do with NASA and helping out some kids with their project. Now the project had already been done and this was following up on the time that I was donating to these kids and they just had to set up a time on my calendar. They had the link and they also had my website to go and so I could do some mentoring. There was absolutely no reason that anything should have been on fire or urgent enough to call me. And so I found it really interesting.

So when you are communicating with anyone and you've been using one method of communication, keep with that method of communication. If it's all been through Facebook, great, unless they tell you, "Hey, I'm only on Facebook for this, please send all further communication to ..." Whatever it might be, my Instagram, my email, my slack whatever your particular method is. But once they do that and they make that request, you should really respect that request.

Same thing goes if they're in email, and "You know what, could you just send it to this thing?" Do it, it just shows respect and understanding. The problem these days is, especially with Facebook and sometimes with Instagram, is the need for instant response, and just because you see someone, like you see the little typing sign, so you wait for them to finish typing. It's the same with WhatsApp, you wait for them to finish typing so you can respond really quickly. We feel that we have to respond immediately and most times you don't necessarily need to respond straight away. A lot of the time, you can be doing whatever you're doing, stuff will happen and then you come back and you then respond and it's okay. The world is not burning.

So what I would like you to do, is just remember that and be cognizant of the fact that the person might be doing other things. The person might not be in the right head space right now. The person you're communicating with might prefer a different method of communication, and that's okay. You should also figure out you preferred method of communication through various things. For example, I communicate with my friends on voice with WhatsApp, I know one particular friend can't listen to voice messages for some reason their phone messes it up, and so they hate listening to voice messages so I made a note never to send them voice, I will type. And that is fine.

Just know what works for you and how you express yourself, and also just be respectful of other people. And ask them, say "Hey, what's the best way to get hold of you? What's the best method to continue this conversation?" Same thing with Linkedin, but that's a whole other conversation about Linkedin, maybe I'll do that next.

Thanks for listening, this is Janice, I am the career introvert. If you have any questions for me, please email me at Looking forward to helping you grow your career and your business alongside your introversion.

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