July 21, 2022

What to Do When You are Waiting to Hear from Someone.


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No one likes to wait, especially me.

If I’m shopping and the checkout line is too long, I’ll put down my items and leave, and I don’t like usually like theme parks because spending hours in line waiting for rides is not my idea of a good time.

Likewise, I dread doctors’ offices, where there are entire rooms dedicated to nothing but waiting.

Queues are annoying, a mild inconvenience generally, and they’re nothing compared to those interminable moments when we are waiting for news, waiting to receive important information, or waiting to hear from someone. That kind of waiting is a different animal altogether, and it is the absolute worst.

Living in the digital age, where we are bombarded by constant feeds and threads of information, where emails and texts and phone calls can be made in milliseconds, we’ve all gotten a bit spoiled. We’ve either forgotten (for us older folks) or we haven’t ever learned patience. Everyone wants instant gratification, or at the very least, we’d like not to be held in suspense. No one enjoys not knowing.

It’s hard not to lose our minds when we are waiting. No matter if we’re waiting to hear if we got the job, if we won the contest, or if we were approved for the grant, it’s maddening. Did we get accepted to our first-choice school? Will the test come back negative (or positive!)? That date was amazing, so why hasn’t my crush called me back? Will they ever text?

The limbo of not knowing is torture, and the fact that we have no control over the situation makes it harder.

So what can we do to remain sane and productive while we are waiting for good news to arrive?

Luckily, there are a lot of options.

Here’s what I do instead of obsessing:

Stop checking email and texts every three minutes.

This is really hard to do, especially because most of us have easy access to email and texts at our fingertips via our smartphones. Let me just look, we tell ourselves. It’ll only take a second. Resist the temptation. Constantly checking and rechecking is crazy-making behavior.

Instead, check email on a timed schedule each day. I check it at 9 a.m. and again at 5 p.m. I also turn on text notifications so I’ll know for sure when someone messages.

Deep clean your living space.

It’s definitely the best time to deep clean when you’re waiting for news. This works for a few reasons. Above all, it’s productive, physical work. Unlike a workout, intense cleaning produces immediate results and gives us a little of the instant gratification we crave. A clean, uncluttered living space is healthy and calming. Organizing and getting rid of things that no longer serve us make room for new energies, opportunities, and even new people to arrive in our lives.

Work on manifesting.

There’s no sorcery in this and no guarantee that it works, but it is a positive step that allows us to begin visualizing and clarifying what we really want so that we may take concrete steps toward making it happen. I keep a list of goals on my bathroom mirror so I see it often, along with a fortune cookie fortune that tells me spectacular things are coming my way.

It helps me to believe that they are.

Spend time outside in nature.

Honestly, this is the remedy for everything. Time spent in nature is never wasted, so instead of agonizing at home waiting for the phone to ring, or for that email to come in, go outside and do something enjoyable—be it hiking, tubing, going to the beach, playing with pets, or having a picnic.

Call a friend to do something.

There is no greater solace than a true, supportive friend. Instead of waiting idly, have an adventure that will turn into a great story someday. If you get good news, you and your friend can celebrate. If the news is disappointing, they’ll be there for comfort and reassurance. If nothing happens, then at least you had a good time.

Reminisce about good memories.

When we are anticipating hearing back from someone, we are looking anxiously toward the future. The best way to balance this energy is by rooting ourselves in the best moments of the past. Looking back on good times reminds us that the positive is possible for us again.

Mindfully practice surrender.

When we are waiting to hear from someone, it helps to understand and to accept that we often have little to no control over the outcome of the situation. We already did our part. We applied for the job, we took the test, we went on the date. Whatever it is, we showed up and did our part to the best of our ability. The rest is completely out of our hands.

We cannot make someone hire us. We can’t magically influence the results of a biopsy. We can’t force someone to fall madly in love with us and text us right this second (as great as that would be).

It’s difficult to accept this, and it would be amazing if we had that much control over our lives, but we simply do not, and the sooner we accept this fact, the better it is for us. Trying to control the impossible is an act of futility and only leads to despair. Have faith that what is meant for us will come, and what isn’t won’t. Be open to accepting all outcomes even when they are disappointing.

Many of us are waiting for something or someone right now. If that is the case, this is your sign that whatever is meant for you is going to happen eventually, and what is wrong will remain out of reach. Keep refining your dreams and goals, and never stop taking concrete action toward making them happen.

May you all receive exactly what you most need, and may it not take too long to arrive.


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