While our modern economy affords us multiple ways to communicate, it does not mean that we have improved in our responses and outreach.
In fact, I think people use their overwhelmed state to hide and excuse themselves from unpleasantries.
In the old days, if you left a message with someone you knew, they would listen to the voicemail and call back. It’s hard to tell when you do not get a response back then or even now what the meaning is. Dodging phone calls can mean avoiding a hard issue.
Or it also may indicate a shift in a relationship from a passive standpoint. Assuming most people you meet are not direct, unreturned phone calls can send a strong social signal.
Every situation is different and every relationship has its nuance. But if you experience dodging, it opens the door to miscommunication and can harm the relationship. The relationship may already have shifted in the mind of your recipient. They just haven’t told you.
When you are following up in sales or checking in on relationships, you have to communicate. If you dodge people’s phone calls, it will be harder to connect later. If you ever run into the person in a social function or randomly on the street, it only creates awkwardness not freedom.
My advice – if you don’t welcome someone’s calls, let them know why. It shows respect. Dodging and acting passive-aggressive is not only irritating, but cowardice. You’ll go a long way in establishing opportunities in the future if you want to re-engage by showing courtesy.
If you are the caller and experience dodging, well, leave one last message or send an email to let them know you tried and move on. The world gets awfully small when you keep knocking on a door that won’t open. Better to think bigger and serve the relationships that do respond and know what they want.
How do you handle dodging?