Why Do I Feel Bad When People Don’t Message Me Back?

Friday night rolls around and after a hard week you were expecting to have a drink with a girlfriend, but she seems to have left you hanging on read... To make matters worse (and the humiliation?) you even saw the little typing sign appear, yet you never received a reply. Well if that’s the case, obviously you or your "how about a drink tonight?" didn’t deserve an answer. Let’s take a look at why some people don't reply to messages and why this makes us feel so bad.

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Is not answering messages immediately the new norm?

Come on, admit it, you too have already said to yourself "I'll answer later" leaving the message to quietly disappear into the background. While online exchanges seem to be instantaneous and almost as direct as a face-to-face conversation, you obviously spend a lot of time talking to a wall. Why is that? Well, it’s because no one responds within seconds to the message they receive and this causes us all great anxiety!

There's always a good reason not to answer.

In an article for the American magazine The Atlantic, many specialists explain what can be the "good reasons" for not responding to a message.

  • Problem of prioritization,
  • Lack of desire,
  • Lack of time
  • An avalanche of messages
  • At the end of the day, all reasons seem to be good for ignoring someone...

Unless, as the magazine reminds us, "Not responding to a message can also be a way to signal boredom, or dominance in a relationship, by pretending to be simply too busy to respond". Well there you have it!

>>> This article might interest you: Why Is Sex So Difficult To Talk About?

"I'm overwhelmed"

Here’s the best one yet! No answer, still nothing, yet we patiently wait for 2 days and then get a "sorry I was busy, I'm overwhelmed" back. This is an insidious way to make people understand that if you have time to text for a drink, then your life must be meaningless. Except that according to a study by the advertising agency Havas, 51% of workers admit to putting replying off because they are overwhelmed. Yes, today we love to say that we are too busy, even if it's not really the case. It gives an excuse not to answer messages and also to feel superior to and even in control of the person you are talking to. Being overwhelmed avoids a feeling of emptiness and allows one to reassure oneself about one's existence. Don't be jealous if someone replies "sorry I didn't have time to answer you" to your texts. Your life is not empty or trivial, you just know where your priorities are... unlike some of your friends…

>>> Check out; How to learn to say 'no' and assert yourself

Ghosting helps us avoid decisions

If you don't know what ghosting is, it is in fact the art of leaving someone in the lurch without telling them, by simply by stopping answering their calls, texts, emails, etc. In short, it involves disappearing and falling off the radar. This totally cowardly method is the demonstration of a very current problem; the difficulty of talking face-to-face. Rather than saying "no", "I can't" or "goodbye", you forget to answer and let time pass. When we don't answer a friend, who wants to go out for the evening for example, we feel guilty by saying that we're busy and that it's not as if we'll never answer her again, but it's also a way to avoid saying no to her. It's also a good way to postpone any decision making. Of course, the decision is often taken so as to avoid long-term upset and drama. In the worst case scenario it will ruin your night, but when you don't know what to answer, you don't need an answer and the problem is solved!

My phone, my friend

Finally, for the youngest among us, not to mention the fact that texting is a bit old-fashioned, the phone almost replaces friends. Psychiatrist Stéphane Clerger explains that "The phone takes the place of virtual friends and pets for young people. Apps unconsciously lead to an overvaluing of socialization and the continuous flow of uninteresting information. Young people are no longer able to prioritize what is important and what is not".

The recent Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, describes, among other things, how the giants of Silicon Valley proceed to make us addicted and spend as much time as possible on our screens with infinite scrolls and notifications. Lost in the middle of this flow, it's difficult to capture someone's attention with a simple text message. All the more since texting sometimes reminds us of a close reality that we don't really want to confront, preferring that of social networks.

Why do I hate waiting for a response to a message?

What happens when we are aware that our recipient has read our message but doesn't reply? We often become enraged, stressed, worried or even anxious. But why does a lack of response affect our morale so much? Simply because we feel rejected. If we ask a question, face to face, to a person who turns their head away so that they don’t have to answer us, we will feel the same way. The hyper-connectedness of almost everyone adds stress. Especially if you're one of the people who responds in the process, you tend to project your way of doing things onto the other person. And it's true, how can you not question yourself in the face of this sudden reality of being ignored.

Editor's opinion - Be patient and to put things into perspective


It is indeed negative thoughts that assail us when we despair of an answer. With an overflowing imagination and a little pessimism, it is even worse. Instead of waiting by depressing, let's wait by relativizing. If a person is always too busy to answer you, maybe it’s time we let it go. And if it's rather casual, then there will probably be a good explanation for the delay and surely there are things to be saved in this relationship.

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