Close the loop, always

Picture this — you’re out there in a sub-Saharan desert or some country thousands of miles away from home or just at your home in your study working hard to make ends meet, to make it matter and to make a difference in the bigger scheme of things. Everything’s fine until you think of a friend of yours or perhaps that high-school bunch you used to hang out with.

What do you do? Instinctively, you would have this desire to connect with them right away but you can’t. So you pull out your cellphone and send them a message or two. You put down the phone and reminisce about the great moments you’ve had together. A whole 10 minutes later you pick up the phone to check if the message was ever delivered since you didn’t hear a ding. Guess what? It was delivered and read but a response wasn’t sent.

Ever had that?

I’ve had it like a zillion times so much so that I’ve now gotten used to it. Yet, I strongly feel it’s a moronic way to build and maintain a relationship. You may think differently or think you’re super busy to respond to each and every message that’s sent to you. I respect that. But I feel you would always close the loop if you care enough for the other person. Period.

Harsh? Well, yes. Truth is a bitter pill to swallow after all. Think about this — would you respond to a message sent by your parents, siblings, spouse and/or kids? I think you and I know the answer to that. What makes it so difficult to respond to a friend/acquaintance who’s reached to you?

Truth to be told, technology has spoiled us. I don’t know if you remember the good old days (if you hear yourself say, ‘huh?’ check with your parents or their parents) when we used to send written letters inland or overseas. There was no freaking way to know if the recipient had received the message until we get a response back. I say those were the ‘good’ days because we left a lot to our assumptions. The mail could’ve simply been lost or in transit and that was okay. At least for a few weeks or months when we start to worry about the recipient’s health and wellbeing or if they’re sulking over something we said or did. I can’t ever think about going back in time to experience that. Just too inconvenient. I just might die waiting for a response.

Enter technology, everything’s quick and instant. We can read the messages and know it’s been read too! The real challenge surfaces when people don’t even care to reply. Particularly when the send takes out time to draft a short (or perhaps long) and authentic (could be informative or just FYI variant too) in earnest before sharing with you. I believe one has to take out time to respond. You can’t ever be too busy for that.

Before you jump in, let me clarify:

  1. I’m not expecting people to reply instantly.
  2. I wouldn’t want everyone to share their comments about the forwarded messages that we’re so sick of these days.
  3. If you’re an entrepreneur or an influencer, I know you’re really busy. But I also know you can sniff out an authentic message from pitches, proposals or requests for meetings. Right? Especially, if one of your personal contacts reaches out to you.

What am I really coming at? This — the strongest foundation of any relationship is communication. You can’t do without. If you think so, try ignoring your family members for a single day. You’ll know what I’m talking about. The same principle apply to all your relationships outside your family too. Particularly the ones who matter to you. Simply because it shows you care enough to avoid any miscommunication.

As a personal practice, I ensure that I close the loop. Always. And the few times I’ve missed doing that due to genuine reasons were gruesome after I realised what had happened. Perhaps, that’s just me but it’s deeply satisfying to be heard and acknowledged than be left wondering what the fuck did I do wrong?

By Sunil Nair

Nurturing leaders of tomorrow.

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