Swearingen Communications Insights

Fresh ideas, seasoned perspectives, and solid marketing strategies to keep you grounded and growing.


Back When We Were Adults

I’ve just returned from being stood up.  It’s not as bad as it sounds.  But it’s the second time this week.  So I am taking notice.

In both instances, I was stood up by two, long-time loyal friends, both of whom are accomplished professional women.  Among their many capabilities, they know how to keep a schedule.  At least they used to.

So, while driving home earlier than expected from the popular wine bar, I thought: “I remember when we acted like adults.  We received an invitation, and we read it.  Or we noted it. Usually in permanent ink, on a printed calendar, or in our head. It wasn’t competing with a dozen other activities.  We didn’t need 10 reminders. And if we accepted, we showed up.”

So what’s happened?  My friends are still the same, upstanding people I’ve always known them to be.  Their regard and affection for me have not waned.  At least, I hope not.  And both apologized profusely for their respective gaffes.  

The irony is, I’m the communications professional always touting the need to integrate traditional forms of communication with new media.  Email, texting, and smart phones are the tip of the iceberg.  Tweeting, Linking Up, and posting on Facebook are becoming standard.  But we still need an adult in the room, monitoring everything.  How do we prioritize our time and attention?

What would an adult do?  The adults I admire slow down, reflect, and evaluate. They are not easily distracted. Ideally, they are standard bearers of etiquette.  In the face of competing priorities, they honor people and commitments.

I’m as guilty as anyone of being lulled into the “flake” stream.  After back-to-back days of being pulled in many directions, it’s easy to succumb and go with the flow.

The problem is, that is passive, random, and unfocused.  It’s not only an unexamined life, it’s an undervalued life. And, it’s often selfish and unkind.

I’m ready to fly the flag for Adulthood. It may not be sexy, but it works.  Really well, for all of us.