The Need to be Acknowledged…

So, it turns out that one of the most prolific markers for recognising a toxic organisation (one that you need to set boundaries on) is the lack of acknowledgement.  Lack of acknowledgement of:

  • emails
  • letters
  • calls
  • all incoming social media messages on shared platforms

So, when should you acknowledge incoming communications? Well, in today’s “always on” world, the sooner the better. Many of us answer 99% of incoming messages within seconds. But where you can’t, then you can at least message them that you have received the message but are too tied up to answer just now, but will answer within 24 hours. Certainly at the least, in 24 hours. So, when people and organisations don’t even acknowledge that you have asked a question, especially when they repeatedly do it, what does it all mean? Well quite simply:

  1. they have contempt for you as a person or your question, they usually want you to know that neither you nor your question are worth answering
  2. they want you to know that whatever they are doing is quite a bit more important than whatever you are doing or whoever you are
  3. they are disrespecting you, and usually they want you to know that they have no respect for you or your questions
  4. they are dishonouring you as a person
  5. most toxic organisations have now adopted a time-honoured tradition of saying: I didn’t get the email, or I didn’t know anything about it, or some other form sort of semi plausible deniability. But in today’s world it is usually 100% pure rubbish…

One thing we know about toxic organisations is that they soon go, or at least the people in them soon go. Also, it turns out that you cannot prosper in them unless you are willing to adopt their toxicity. So what is there to do? Usually just get out, just walk away. You can’t engage with toxic people. However, if you still need to function within a toxic organisation, how can you responsively set the boundaries with them? After you have sent them 2 or 3 questions that they have not even acknowledged, start out your next communication with:

“I have attempted to contact you with a question (or something else). You have repeatedly not answered my question and have not even acknowledged my communication with you. By doing this you are displaying contempt to both me and my question. You are disrespecting me and dishonouring me personally, and that is not acceptable. Please now do me the courtesy of answering my question…”











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