I hate Facebook for many reasons, but one of the biggest ones is that when you send a message to someone, you can see if they read it. It’s hard for me because if they do see it, and they don’t answer me I feel like they are ignoring me. Now, I understand that this is not rational. People are busy leading their lives, having families, doing jobs and things. I have a job and a family too! But, the little thing that reads “seen” at the end of a Facebook message is problematic because it reminds you that you are not that important. If the person sees your message and doesn’t say anything you are left wondering if you offended them, they’re busy, they don’t want to talk to you, or many, many other things. Now, I am guilty of not replying to messages on Facebook after someone sends me them. I have my reasons depending on the context of the message. Sometimes I just get anxious and don’t respond.
If you have an iPhone, the same issue applies. Unless you turn that setting off so people can’t see it, you can see if someone read your message. If they don’t respond after they read it, then you’re left wondering why. This is one of the reasons that technology frustrates me. Maybe we know too much about the inner workings of each other’s brains because of devices. Before cell phones and Facebook, we didn’t know if someone had listened to our voice messages on the answering machine. And taking it a step further, there were days before answering machines when if someone wasn’t home you had to WAIT until they got there to talk to them again. Now, we’re spoiled because we have so much access to people. You can send someone a text and in seconds have a response to your question. In some ways, this is a blessing but in other ways, it stunts our emotional growth. As someone who loves to talk to other human beings, text messaging frustrates me. I would rather have a face-to-face conversation with another human being than interact with a screen.
There is a lot of pressure to respond to things in our world. I am guilty of getting upset when people don’t respond to me too. I’m starting to rethink that though. I want to be more understanding of the fact that people cannot always get back to me instantly. I realize that part of this is my anxiety and I’m working on my behavior but it’s a process. For me, it’s about impatience more than anything else. I want to have an answer to the question I just asked or I want someone to laugh at my joke. Maybe I want to get advice from a friend and their lack of response makes me nervous. Whatever the reason that I don’t get a response, it makes me nervous. But, the reality is that it doesn’t need to. People don’t respond for a multitude of reasons.
What about you? Do you freak out when someone doesn’t respond to you?