What Does It Mean When Someone Doesn’t Respond?

There could be a million reasons

Ryan Fan

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Photo by Daria Nepriakhina 🇺🇦 on Unsplash

When it comes to an exchange or written conversation I really care about, there has always been one response that frustrated me more than any else: the ghosting and non-response. Someone not responding has always driven me crazy, especially when I get a notification that they read the message and still did not respond.

To me, I would rather be told no, be told off, or be cussed at rather than be served with no response. Sometimes, the person just needs some time to draft a long and thoughtful response. Sometimes, the person genuinely did not see the message or has not checked their phone. Sometimes, the person is ignoring you and does not want to text. Sometimes, the person just doesn’t like to text and would rather talk on the phone or send voice messages.

My wife is someone who can go a whole day without checking her phone, and sometimes it does make me worry about safety, but it ends up being alright at the end of the day because she’ll check her phone at the end of the day and let me know how her day went.

I’ve written a whole article about someone (I thought) who was a great friend who no-showed my wedding and hasn’t responded to any texts or messages from myself or our other friends. We don’t know if the friend is okay or alive, but she has simply disappeared from our lives.

Since a couple years ago, however, I have sometimes been that person who doesn’t respond. I have become significantly busier, which might seem like a cop-out to some people. There are times when someone sends me a thoughtful message and I say “wow, that was really meaningful. Let me get to it after I finish X or Y activity.” After being immersed in X or Y activity at work that seems to have escalating levels of urgency, I forget to respond. I feel really bad for not responding to a question, inquiry, or simple message if I realize I’ve let a day, let alone a week lapse without responding.

It feels rude, but that’s not the intention. There is no malice involved. There are no mind games. The vast majority of the time, it’s just being overwhelmed coupled with forgetfulness.

Of course, there are some unsavory messages and texts that I don’t deem worthy of responding…

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Ryan Fan

Believer, Baltimore City IEP Chair, and 2:39 marathon runner. Diehard fan of “The Wire.” Support me by becoming a Medium member: https://bit.ly/39Cybb8