Friday, May 13, 2011

How to Show You Care in the Digital Age…

An appendectomy in progress

Image via Wikipedia

One of the fantastic things about the digital and social networking age is how easy it is for you to tell all of your friends about good news and bad.

When we know about it, we can DO something about it.

Case in point.

Paco’s recent appendectomy.

Between the blog and Facebook, hundreds of people knew what was going on and many people stepped up to help in a HUGE way…bringing over food, helping out with the kids, etc.

It was great and clutch.

But, there’s a flip side and I think it’s something we all should remember.

I don’t want this to come off as insensitive, ungrateful, or uncaring.

In fact, the point is the opposite one.

When we see a notification that someone is sick, it’s one thing to say “how can I help?”

or “here’s what I am going to do?”

It’s another to send an IM/email/FB message/tweet that just asks “How is the patient doing?”


I think it creates a burden for the recipient.

On the one hand, that person is dealing with a family tragedy/medical situation, whatever.

On the other, they certainly appreciate the fact that you sent the note and you cared enough to do so.

But, responding to 10, 20, 50 messsages asking “How is he doing?” becomes overwhelming and can pull you away from the more important task of caring for your family.

But, NOT responding could leave the person with the feeling of “hey, he didn’t even care enough about me to respond!”

What I am going to do….

You are free to do whatever you wish, of course, but in situations where I can’t really DO anything to help, my new approach is going to be:

“Hey, I’m thinking about you and your situation. I hope it gets better (or whatever). PLEASE do not feel the obligation to respond to this message.”

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