Joan’s Pet Peeve #2– Is Anybody Listening?

A quote from Pope Francis:

“Communicating means sharing, and sharing demands listening and acceptance. Listening is much more than simply hearing. Hearing is about receiving information, while listening is about communication, and calls for closeness. Listening allows us to get things right, and not simply to be passive onlookers, users or consumers. Listening also means being able to share questions and doubts, to journey side by side, to banish all claims to absolute power and to put our abilities and gifts at the service of the common good.”

— Message for World Day of Social Communications, Jan. 22, 2016
Here’s my pet peeve for the day–technology can be great, but why can’t I speak with a real person anymore?
We’ve been having trouble getting our newspaper on time lately — now, I don’t mean it’s 30 minutes late, I mean it’s hours late.  Every morning I end up calling the circulation department of the newspaper to report that we don’t have our paper.  When this happened in the past, I would usually be connected with someone who could tell me what the problem was–whether it was temporary or ongoing, and what was being done to resolve it.  Now there is an automated attendant.  You simply punch in a number, depending on your problem, and hear the message “your complaint has been registered.”  I guess I had been calling so frequently that yesterday, the automated attendant told me I should probably to speak with someone and so I was being transferred, but guess what?  I got a voicemail!  I asked for a call back, which I never received.
I also called my doctor’s office with a question about renewing a prescription.  Once again, I was answered by prerecorded message telling me to make a selection.  Since my call was of a “non-urgent” nature, I would have to wait for a call back. (Thankfully in this case, I did actually hear back from someone and was able to have a real conversation  HOORAY!)
My point is this:  efficiency is fine, but often a problem can be solved, or an agreement reached, unless two people actually connect.  Leaving a message may allow someone to “hear” my concern, but it doesn’t mean actual communication has occurred.  In fact, (at least in my case), it often leaves me feeling angry and frustrated.  There are times when I would prefer to wait for a while in order to speak with someone.  That is the only way to properly explain my issue and get an answer.  Even when call backs are made promptly, they may be missed as I cannot put my day on hold to wait.  When this happens, we are caught up in a telephone-tag situation.
Sometimes I feel that people really don’t WANT to communicate with others anymore.  It’s much easier to have a canned response or shoot out a text or email. The task has then been dealt with.  What happened to listening?  What happened to understanding?  What happened to responding with some real emotion such as “I’m sorry” or “I see what you mean” or “I care about what you’re going through?”
That’s it.  My rant for the day.  My point is this — let’s start listening to one another..
“He who answers before listening–that is his folly and his shame.”  Proverbs 18:13