I’ve noticed that a lot of people consider it quite rude to not reply to a message on Facebook or other social media. Either they’ll feel very bad if they don’t respond to somebody or they’ll worry that somebody is annoyed with them if they don’t get a reply themselves. But I think in 99% of cases, it’s something people shouldn’t worry about.
Think of it like this: these kind of messaging systems give you access to somebody 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Now, in my case, even when it comes to my absolute favourite people, I am not always in the mood to write a message to them. Usually, I hold off replying until set times of day where I plan to reply to all of my unanswered messages – responding to messages is something I look forward to sitting down and giving my full attention to, not something to rush when I’m walking to work, or whatever. And I think it’s true of most people: even if somebody is literally the person that they love most in the whole world, they might not be in a position where they want to write a message to them. Then, as other things happen in the day, they can easily forget about the message because you only get one notification for each message.
I can completely understand why people get worried about messages that go without a response, but I wish that more people were able to not let it get to them. If there’s something that really irritates me, it’s the fact that a lot of messaging services have added a “message seen” feature, so people know when there messages have been ‘seen’ by the person they’re trying to contact. The problem is that it’s quite easy to make this appear even if you haven’t read the message and if/when it does come up, if the other person has social anxiety, it’s just going to feed into that. Plus, as the person receiving the message won’t want to seem rude, they’ll feel pressured to respond as quickly as possible, even if it isn’t convenient. The cynical part of me wonders whether the feature might not have been added for user-convenience, but to pressure people to respond ASAP so that these services get used more and the businesses who own them have more chat histories to datamine for marketing resources.
In the past, I’d sometimes be a bit concerned if I didn’t get a reply to my messages and I even had a rule not to contact somebody until they had responded to my previous message – but, I was wrong. Thinking logically, a lack of reply isn’t something to worry about at all. It’s just a shame that there have almost certainly been cases where friends have fallen out over a lack of replies, even though, really, it should be an insignificant non-issue.
(Don’t miss today’s Finger Puppet Show!)