Julie Ferman

Communication: How do YOU like it?
by Julie Ferman
Communication: How do YOU like it?
Julie Ferman

The Phone: I hate the phone. Highly inefficient, from my perspective. Especially when I pick up a voice mail message that says “Call me back!” -- when a simple “Dinner. Saturday. 7pm. PF Chang” would give me the info I need. Of course I do enjoy the rare, relaxed, delicious 15-minute-on-the-patio-Sunday-morning-with-my-mom-in-Missouri call or with my best gal pal whose life is as full, hectic, and juicy as mine is, to catch up and share the emotional TLC that we all need. Otherwise, in just about every situation, I’d much rather get or receive an email with the info or the juice, as my inbox I can manage when I want, how I want, wherever I want. Email just plain works…for me.

The Text Message: My client, Gary can’t stand them – he says text messages are intrusive, curt, and impersonal. He wants to hear my voice, and I’ve learned that, so I make the effort to call him back, vs. email or text him, whenever possible. Me? I love text messages. Sometimes. When it’s a quick text from my client, who’s running 15 minutes late for our lunch appointment. Fine. Jokes, gossip, friendly chatter? Don’t bother me. Feels like spam, invades my privacy, interrupts me (as if urgent) and abuses the privilege that your having my cell number is…from my perspective.

And that’s the issue – From whose perspective are we viewing the communication breakdown?

Email. Sherry can’t stand it. She is a therappist, isn’t onine during the day, and typically doesn’t see emails until late in the evening, so anyone who expects her to pick up an online communication quickly will be frustrated; and she gets irritated when those of us who are digi-freaks don’t want to voice mail her with our scoop. She’s available for several 10-minute increments during the workday, in between patients, and will often voice mail me, saying, “Please call me at 10:50 today” Um…that doesn’t work for me, because my schedule is jammed with appointments all day too. See the dilemma?

Challenge: Frank is a stock broker, and you can COUNT on him not to return calls or emails during trading hours. (We like guys who bring home plenty of bacon, right? This is how bacon is cooked…with focused concentration) and Sherry the therapist, who had just started dating Frank, was plenty annoyed that he wasn’t in touch with her by phone to nail down details for their dates in a fashion that seemed timely and convenient to her.

Solution: I suggested that Sherry upgrade her phone to enable texting. Now she texts him a quick message when she needs details, and he promptly responds (even during trading hours), also by text, so she knows when to be ready, where to meet him, what to wear – Problem solved, hot new relationship saved.

Here’s what we all need to keep in mind. My most favorite communication method might be your least favorite. No one is right, no one is wrong. But if we are going to get along well, as friends, clients, lovers, partners, family members…we need to work together on how we want to be in communication. How do we do that? Easy. When you make a new friend, or when you find that your relationship is challenged in the communication preference arena, talk about it together, ideally when you’re face to face (in-person meetings do still happen…) and make some deals about it. Have fun tickling each other in various ways throughout the day and the week, and be respectful of the fact that we’re all different, and we like it (communication and other things too) in different ways.

Play with it, and report back to me your stories, challenges, and solutions, as this is a hot dating topic.

Julie Ferman
Founder, CEO

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