Off topic: Not funny: people (not necessarily agencies) not responding to mails
Thread poster: Lia Fail (X)

Lia Fail (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
Feb 23, 2008

In the last few days I've had reason to feel annoyed about something that goes against MY grain, although for years I've just not concerned myself too much with the issue.

People not responding to mails - whether to confirm that you can count on them for an event you are organising, to confirm that the venue has the equipment you need, to update you about a job they've offered you and you've accepted, to confirm whether the article you are writing together will or will not make the deadline, to thank you for a HUGE amount of extra effort you have put in on SPANISH galleys for the SECOND time (my job's the English translation and galleys), etc

Is this a cultural or age thing? I always reply to mails (except the mere "thank you" ones, as I feel we have enough emails to process as it is), and usually in preference to an automated reply. It makes sense to me; apart from the courtesy - which is really what's needling me right now - that way people know I genuinely got the mail and assimilated the message.

Now I can kinda understand the jobs one, after years of living in Spain, becuase here there's a culture of "I give you the job and you be grateful", rarely it's a Q of "let's do a deal between equals".

The others, though, really bother me, like the venue issue (on 2 counts). Organising an event is bad enough: but if you can't count on simple replies to simple requests, how is one to avoid suffering UNDUE stress?

I'm griping cos I'm pissed off with the above situations that leave me in a situation where I feel I have to "badger" or "hound" people for what I feel is mine by rights - a quick reply, a confirmation, the yes or no that I need to be able to get on with my life! As it happens, the event, the deadline, the job are all coinciding, and I have to make plans NOW to travel, make arrangements and bookings and become detached from my Internet connection for long stretches ....

So I have particular reason to be annoyed given this combination of non-replies.

I'm keen to hear other people's opinions.


Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
I hear you Feb 24, 2008

That is one reason why I always work alone and rely only on myself. Then I do not have to worry about anyone else. I find it impossible to get responsiveness and work out of others in accordance with my standards, so I try to avoid that situation, at least in my profession.

"If you want it done right, do it yourself."

There are some who lead large companies who are able to get great results out of other people leading to monumental profits. I am sure they have to shrug off a lot of BS as well, but they know how to handle it. Plus they are capable of inspiring others to meet high goals. I wish I could do that, but it is just not in my personality.

Perhaps it is not in yours either. Just recognize how you are and try to rely only on yourself, you will sleep better.


Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not quite the same for SMS... Feb 24, 2008

...because they may have a unit cost, but there is an element of this problem here too - I am trying to popularize a new acronym: NNTR - no need to reply. Puts the received out of a quandary.

And could be useful in e-mails too?


Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:34
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Casual behaviour Feb 24, 2008

I have noticed in recent years that previously "accepted" polite behaviour such as replying to invitations, saying thank you for gifts, favours, turning up or doing what was promised on time, etc. is falling into disuse. Sad and extremely annoying or even hurtful, but true.
I wish I knew what can be done about it - probably nothing.
In the case of needing to know who is coming or who is doing what when organising events, etc., my suggestion would be to send one last polite but firm message saying something like "If I don't hear from you by [date/time] I'll assume you are not coming, not interested in contributing, etc." or "the event (or whatever it may be) will be cancelled", and stick to it!
With sympathy,
And as for gifts to the thankless, stop giving them. End of subject.

[Edited at 2008-02-24 19:46]


Lia Fail (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks for hearing me out! Feb 24, 2008

I have to say that Henry hit the nail on the head ... following up on people whom I feel should not be incurring unnecessary effort, time and stress is just beyond me, which is why I'm unduly annoyed. It's not as if the mails required a complicated reply, mostly they just required a "yes"!

Because of this, I'm seriously considering dropping the associated responsibilities. It's just not me - as HH says I accept that I'm not the kind of person who is "capable of inspiring others to meet high goals" (even getting an answer to a simple email is beyond me!)

I like the NNTR, it would actually be a very good idea:-)

Like Jenny I'm a bit phased by not being thanked for gifts! I gave 2 kids presents this and last Christmas, and neither have ever thanked me. Their parents are great people, so I suppose it comes down to a surfeit of gifts, "things" ... the consumer age means presents are less valued.


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Not funny: people (not necessarily agencies) not responding to mails

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