Communication is Key, Even over Text

Respond Please

Is anyone out there guilty of leaving someone “on read”?

I think we all are. We leave our texts unanswered, snaps unopened, don’t pick up the phone when it rings, and really, does anyone check their email?

I get it; we all lead separate and stressful lives and we forget or get busy. It happens. I don’t begrudge the occasional “Sorry, I didn’t check my phone!” or “I was going to respond and forgot!” To emphasize, this should not be a regular occurrence, but sometimes I’ll just chalk it up to a mistake and move on.

But does anyone do this all the time? Where you always, always, always have an excuse as to why you “forgot” to respond? Or did you just choose not to?

Those who know me best know that this is a constant complaint of mine. So many people, so many times either respond far too late or not at all. I can understand delays in response – I really can! But it truly should not be a regular occurrence.

To leave someone “on read” is plain rude if it occurs in the middle of a conversation or when asked a question. Our society has well established this. Now, let’s take this a step further and also establish the equal rudeness of “choosing not to respond within a proper time frame.”

A few months ago, I texted a close friend of mine earlier in the week asking if she would like to get together with me one afternoon. We exchanged a few messages, then her responses suddenly stopped.
Our last message had been me asking if a certain time and day would work for her.

The week went by, and I made other plans for that afternoon, a bit disappointed at being left “unopened.” Not even read – unopened. And it had been a week. Late in the morning of the said day, she responded at last, asking if we were still getting together that afternoon.

I was floored. I could not believe that, after all this time, the response arrived NOW. I felt awful having to inform her that I had made other arrangements, due to her own lack of communication. She was disappointed, naturally. I was, too. But I struggled not to be too hard on myself. I had kept up my line of communication. I did what I thought was best. We both felt hurt.

We have reconciled since then, and while I wish I could say this was an isolated incident, it’s not. There have been many people that I know who have done this. My question is, why? Why do people make plans, only to cancel at the last minute? Why do you leave people “on read”, never open their messages, and never pick up the phone when someone calls?

Is this some norm for our society today? That we disregard the other person concerned only to benefit our own whims?

Communication is what keeps people connected. In this day and age, no one has any excuse to consistently fail to communicate. Little by little, the people who are continuously ignored will stop making any effort. When the response is so far delayed or never arrives at all, it not only becomes exasperating, but it shows the other person that you don’t care.

If efforts to communicate are ignored for too long, why bother? Clearly, the person who is not answering texts or phone calls doesn’t care about who is sending them. I have had this conversation with my own family members and friends who have been ignored, and all have arrived at the same conclusion: If you won’t respond to me, then you’re showing me that I don’t matter to you.

The result may backfire if you’re not careful. If you have consistently had terrible communication, then you may find that when these people you have burned reach out themselves start to ignore you.
Then the cycle starts over again.

Take care of the people in your life. If you want to have strong, healthy relationships, then put some effort in. What goes around comes around.

Yes, it’s inconvenient for Grandma to call at seven in the morning. But she did. She cared about you enough to place a call. She will never send you a snap or comment on your Instagram post, so this is her way of reaching out to you. If you want to strengthen your bond with her, then put yourself aside and meet her where she’s at.

Pick up the phone.

Your friend sends a text asking if you want to hang out over the weekend. Don’t wait until you’ve made other plans and THEN respond telling them “sorry”. Let them know if you can or can’t right away. They may have something else they could arrange instead of waiting on you.
Text them.

And if you don’t have a definite answer right away, that’s OK. Only be sure to communicate this, as well as respond as soon as you do have a definite answer. Not only is this common courtesy, but it’s also a simple life skill. No one enjoys working for an employer who can’t communicate efficiently, and chances are, your future boss won’t tolerate it very well, either.

In addition, not responding to messages can imply that you are unreliable. It’s difficult to make plans with or depend on someone who never answers their messages. If this becomes the case, many people may not want to go through the hassle of contacting the said person and knowing the response may be late or never arrive at all.

If you really struggle to remember to keep in touch, now is the time to form new habits to remedy this issue. Keep messages in your notification bar rather than swiping them away and thus forgetting them. This way, they are still staring back at you until you take the time to reply.

Set aside time each day to catch up on your emails or call family members you want to keep in touch with. Add a reminder to your phone or write down reminders if you struggle to keep up with everything.
Don’t let your relationships suffer for lack of communication. Your friends and family care about you, and they want to know that you care about them, as well.

No one is perfect, and we all forget or get busy or else lose a message in a pile of other priorities. I myself am guilty of being a poor communicator from time to time. As a whole, society needs to normalize quick, efficient, and clear responses. For peace of mind for all involved, just respond!

Leave a Reply