I appreciate being able to meet people from other parts of the United States and the globe because they broaden my perspective and remind me that the world is much larger than what I am aware of as I navigate through a typical day in Southern California. As a result of my travels, I communicate relatively regularly with people who live in time zones that are 3 to 19 hours ahead of me. Whenever I attempt to communicate with them, I try to remain acutely aware of what time it is for them in their corner of the world. That is why I become very irritated when I get text messages and messages on Facebook Messenger in the middle of the night from people who are on the other side of the globe and think it’s a good time to initiate a chat with me. Some people are so clueless that when I respond to a message stating that I am trying to sleep, they KEEP MESSAGING me, causing my phone to clang repeatedly like a bell. I realize that I can (and DO) turn off my ringer, turn off my phone or ignore the messages, but there are two reasons why I respond to such communication attempts:
1. If I don’t respond immediately, I must deal with and endless stream of lengthy messages the next morning, scolding me for not responding.
2. I feel strongly compelled to inform the person that it’s late and that I must put an abrupt end to the conversation stream.
To be honest, I know that I test people when I tell them that it is late and that I am going back to sleep. The way to pass my test is to register a quick apology and allow me to rest, but some individuals seem to lack the sense to drop the conversation. One person who was an acquaintance I knew through Facebook contacted me last night past midnight and kept sending messages and images which woke me up repeatedly, so I told him to please stop. Instead of stopping, he explained to me that it was 12 noon where he was. Okay, that’s fine, but why did he keep messaging me, trying to engage me in a conversation I wanted no part of? I told him to please stop sending messages so that I could go back to sleep. His reaction was to KEEP MESSAGING ME. I have been in situations where I had miscalculated the time zone where a friend was, but as soon as I realized my mistake, I sent a quick apology and then stopped communicating with them. Unfortunately, this guy didn’t have the sense to realize how much of a pest he was, so my reward for his persistence was to block him.
I deal with people who think that because I am in the public eye and a physician, I must be on call 24/7. Not so, ESPECIALLY if someone pressures me to take care of their needs immediately when I have no professional responsibility toward them. The sense of entitlement some people have just blows me away! So-called “quick questions” become long, drawn-out consultation requests, and when I don’t have answers, some individuals cop an attitude after I have taken time out of my busy day to be cordial and helpful. It’s enough for me to consider telling everyone that they must submit questions to me during normal business hours, otherwise leave me alone. I must draw a line in the sand because I tend to sacrifice a great deal of my time and resources to help others, and run myself into the ground as a result.