- It's OK if you forget to answer an e-mail right away
- Don't feel the need to respond to a text message in which there's no question
- Feel free to quietly unfriend someone you don't really talk to
Please read the following in the voice of the movie preview guy:
In a world in which your every move is tracked by your ever-present mobile device, where you're not safe from work e-mails, even on the subway, in which even the most simple of elevator rides must be filled with scrolling Instagram pics lest boredom clutch at your throat with grasping claws, sometimes -- even the most tech-savvy of social media "ninjas" (ew) -- feels the urge to throw up his/her hands and retreat, Walden-like, into the woods.
We get it. When an entire workday can be reduced to answering e-mails and planning your evening becomes one confusing game of text / e-mail / Facebook / message / text, sometimes it becomes tempting to forgo your digital responsibilities and take a reverse Rumspringa (look it up) from the modern world.
That's why this week we're going to let you off the hook a little bit.
Yup, each week we -- like agonizingly annoying hair shirts -- irritate you about your myriad faults, making you feel horrible and defensively indignant about your many online transgressions. This week, however, we're going to let you in on a little secret: There's too much going on online and off for anyone to be the perfect gentleman/woman.
Read on for seven instances in which you can cease self-flagellating and give a little shrug accompanied by an "ehhh."
1. You forget to answer an e-mail
Unless it's an urgent work e-mail (branded with a little exclamation point in Outlook), the e-mailer in question will likely get over it if you don't respond RIGHT AWAY. I mean, if it was an emergency, she would probably call you, right? However, if the matter is important, your friend/lover/future partner in taxidermied crime will likely send you a follow-up e-mail to which you must respond soon. Otherwise, you are officially treading into hair shirt-donning territory.
2. You fail to accept someone's friendship/follow them back
With Facebook and Twitter's oft-shifting notifications system, most requests ends up in the junk drawer of the Web, anyway. And only a very lame pal will whine, "Why don't you want to be my Facebook friend?!" whilst simultaneously hanging out with you IRL. Tell your friend to chill out, and maybe delete that rant about his "clingy, almost Talented Mr. Ripley-esque demeanor" from your Wall before appeasing his wishes.
3. You call someone back without listening to his or her voice message first
Like you have time to listen to Aunt Becky ramble on and on about her dog, Sunshine, and how he keeps humping teeny, tiny dogs at the dog park, thereby terrifying both tiny dog and tiny-dog owner alike. Hey, at least you didn't respond to the voice message with a text message.
4. You don't respond to a text message in which there's no question
Totally OK, unless that statement is akin to "I need a kidney NOW!"
5. You quietly unfriend someone you don't really talk to anyway
If they get angry and contact you, you can always whip out that "you don't really talk to me, anyway" thing.
6. You miss a friend's event because he invited you on Facebook
Facebook events are the new mass "just keeping you up-to-date on my life!" e-mails that you still receive from distant relatives and old flames: They often go completely unread and unnoticed. If your friend wants you at her birthday / I'm coming-out-as-a-Dendrophiliac-meet-my-new-BF-Ficus soiree, she can send you a personalized e-mail / card / smoke signal.
7. You "unsubscribe" from a listserv
Sometimes, friends and exes add us to their mailing lists against our will. And often, we are annoyed by that influx of e-mails -- especially if we're estranged from said friends/exes. Feel completely free to hit "unsubscribe" in those cases. Your in-box, yourself.