Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Asychronous Relationships

if only... by briPodI've been having issues with my Gmail lately. I've been getting and sending emails without a problem. The issue is with my chat status.

Any gmail users know that, when you log in to your email, you are automatically logged in to Google Chat as well. I have issues with this, because most of the time I'm lucky if I can squeeze in reading my latest emails and answering one or two of the older/urgent ones, much less settling in for a chat.

So, as a rule, I set my chat status to "invisible" so no one knows when I'm online. (Now you'll be wondering, won't you? The next time you open your gmail and I'm listed as offline—am I really?!?) If I decide I do have time to chat, I might send a message, but I hardly ever change my status to available.

But last week, gmail started flaking on me. As far as I knew, my status was invisible. But I started getting messages from others; so once I logged in, I thought I was invisible but I was showing up as available to others. Then I felt like a jerkface because my immediate, knee-jerk response was panic. "AH! I don't have time to chat! What am I going to say?!?" It felt like things were out of my control. And we all know how *ahem* well I do with things out of my control.

It reminds me of how much I prefer email to making phone calls. I'm really, really bad at calling people. It's the unpredictability of it. How long with the call last? Do I have time for this? Does the other person really want a phone call? What if he or she just settled in with a good book and nice glass of wine, and I'm disturbing that?

I find it so much easier to send emails. I'm not the only one like this, right? It doesn't mean that I don't love you, and that I don't like talking to people. It's just that I can do it at any hour of the day, and take as much or as little time as I currently have available. And then the recipient can respond in kind. Is that so wrong?

Sometimes I'm amazed that anyone still wants to be friends with me.


cat said...

I'm like you. I'd rather e-mail and then meet up in person for hang-outs and chats.

M. Lubbers said...

And that's why we're still friends after all these years:)

Jonathan said...

I feel the same as you. I leave chat open purely because I prefer chat to phone calls - and email over both of them.