Jan 252014
 

UPS had a slogan for a while – “Moving at the speed of business.”

Back in a previous life, one of my greatest advantages in the world of work was my speed. If you e-mailed me, I e-mailed you back. Pretty much instantly. Occasionally it might have to wait an hour or two (I was, after all, spending a lot of time in dark rooms back then). But not more than that. I didn’t sleep a lot. I was up several times a night. And if you e-mailed me, I replied. If you asked for something and I couldn’t provide it instantly, I’d tell you when I’d get it to you. And then I would. I worked in a world in which speed mattered, and in which people were responsive – to phone calls, e-mails, etc. But I was an order of magnitude more responsive than your average bear. And this is saying something.

This was for several reasons: first, a certain innate tendency toward obsessive/compulsive behavior on my part, to be sure. But there was a time when I wasn’t this way. In my first real job in the world in which I spent a career, I had a boss who left me a voicemail one morning, moments before I arrived at work. Twenty minutes later, she dropped by my desk. I had been planning to return her message soon, but hadn’t gotten to it yet. “What have you been doing,” she asked, “that’s more important than returning my message?”

Lesson learned.

So in the world of work – and friendship – I was, and for the most part still am, the kind of guy who returns phone calls, e-mails, instantly.

For a long time, this was how I was in the world of dating, too. If someone sent me a message on OKC, I’d reply. Instantly. If someone e-mailed, I’d reply. Instantly. If someone texted (or better, sexted) me, I’d reply. Instantly.

Now there still are circumstances in which I reply instantly. If you send me hot pictures, or a movie, or if we’re in the lead-up to a date, you can bet that I’m going to reply to your messages instantly, that I’m going to keep that ratchet going, building tension, increasing anticipation.

But there are others in which I’m learning not to. Sometimes, this is because, actually, it’s often better to think before replying. I never used to do this, but I do now. Sometimes quite deliberately, taking as long as days to reply.

Other times, it’s because, well, that time between when the text or e-mail is sent and a reply is received is itself a time of delicious (or anxious) tension. And that’s valuable in itself. I’d rather you be thinking about, wondering about, just what my response might be, than have you react to it. And I’d rather bask in the time between messages, rather than close the parenthesis by sending one.

Still other times, it’s because whatever I’m doing in life, I’m doing, and not responding to other things.

So if you e-mail me, and I don’t reply instantly (say, in less than 2 hours), you should know that there are three possibilities:

1) I’m thinking hard about how to respond.

2) I want you to be thinking hard about how I’ll respond. I’m enjoying anticipating replying. I want you to, too.

3) I’m busy, unable to reply.

But just so you know, it’s never indifference on my part. THAT’s not how I roll….

AND, I always want you to reply instantly, please. 😉

  5 Responses to “Dating at the speed of business”

  1. Double standards much?!
    But I get you on the basking in the wait for a reply, building anticipation… Though days?! That’s just plain cruel!

    • What the hell is wrong with “double standards”? Who ever said life was “fair”? This is a canard: I document my desires. My desires, surely, aren’t fair.

      • Yes, you are right! Your desires are yours, and thus not fair… But then I’m sure you will accept that hers are not fair either… and that she might decide to make yo wait a few days too 😉

  2. Oh I’d be exactly the same (if I ever progress from the world of separating to the world of dating), I’d want him to reply immediately but would leave my reply for a while so as not to appear too desperate, needy, whatever.

  3. This delighted me, rather! And it’s funny, now I’m much more instantaneous (that might be wrong—can you be a degree of instantaneous?) with my replies and much more comfortable with the same from others.

    Have you ever heard of the poem below? One of my favorites and it speaks to your point about anticipation and waiting as virtuous states in themselves…

    Please Come Late
    by Hugo Williams

    Please come late,
    so that I have almost given you up
    and have started glancing round the room,
    thinking everyone is you.
    Please don’t come
    until I have started missing you,
    thinking I will never see you again,
    praying you are lost.
    Come too late for me not to notice.
    Make me suffer,
    wondering what you are doing
    on the other side of town,
    still in your dressing gown.
    Make me beg for mercy
    when you pick up a magazine.

    Are you looking in your mirror,
    suddenly remembering me?
    I’m on my second coffee by now,
    eating the little bits of sugar in my cup.
    Haven’t you set out yet?
    I decide I don’t want to see you after all.
    I don’t really like you.
    I’d rather be on my own.
    I know it is all over between us

    but I go on sitting here,
    reading a newspaper,
    not understanding a word.
    If you came in now, I wouldn’t recognize you.
    Don’t come anywhere near me
    until I have gone slightly mad for love of you.

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