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Sorry, Not Sorry If I Don't Respond To Your Texts. I'm Busy Living My Life

When did we start measuring how good a friend someone is or how important we are to them by their response time to texts and messages?

12/05/2017 16:31 EST | Updated 13 hours ago

How lucky we are to be living in a time that we can communicate with one another at the click of a button. Instantaneous delivery of the messages we want to share through texts, emails, Facebook — the list goes on. All available for the recipient to view right away, and sometimes even notifying the sender they have done so.

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We are the most connected society in history (although superficially, I would argue) and every day each of us are bombarded with communication from businesses, work, family and friends. The average number of texts sent monthly has increased 1,735 per cent cent over the last decade.

There is no disputing that there are a lot of messages sent and received between all of us every day. We often take brief moments throughout our day to check these messages and then go back to the demands of our life. It might be while waiting in line at the grocery store or the pause between finishing dinner and starting our evening routine. We take these moments to check our messages but we don't always have the time to respond.

And there was a time not so long a time ago that this was acceptable — to receive a message from someone without the expectation of a response being sent as soon as it was received. It was a time when we mailed letters to people or left phone messages when someone was too busy to answer and we waited for their reply. It was a time when it was acceptable for the recipient to read their letter or listen to their message and then go back to their busy schedule to respond later at a time that was convenient for them. However as our society has been evolving with the increased ability to send communication so quickly it seems there has also been a change in the expectation of how quickly it is responded to.

They then proceeded to block me and delete me from all of their social media. Ouch.

I was recently enlightened to just this — this change in some people's thinking. A friend and I had had a brief texting conversation on a Friday about each of our upcoming weekend plans. The last text they sent had said, "Have fun this weekend!" I had received the message in a moment I took from the busyness and did not respond. Early the following week they followed up with a quote from the internet that stated "People text, call and reply to people they want to talk to. Never believe anyone who says they're too busy."

They then proceeded to block me and delete me from all of their social media. Ouch.

I immediately felt bad, as I hadn't realized this person was expecting to hear anything from me since that day. I had continued on after our conversation spending the weekend having fun just as they had suggested.

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I spent time with family and friends — having conversations and connecting. I spent a day with my son petting stingrays and observing ocean life at the aquarium. I was busy living my life and it didn't include texting, emailing or Facebook messaging anyone unless it was an emergency or someone really needed me.

I am left wondering: when did we start measuring how good a friend someone is or how important we are to them by their response time to texts and messages? I am pretty certain that life has not slowed down any since the time of writing letters and leaving phone messages when people responded when they felt they had the time. I am not suggesting it is acceptable to ignore someone requesting attention because they need something from you or a situation where someone is purposely being hurtful and ignoring messages — "ghosting" as they call it.

When did we start measuring how good a friend someone is or how important we are to them by their response time to texts and messages?

What I am wondering is when did it become reasonable to expect that people should respond the moment that they receive a message — EVEN when you know they have read it? When did we stop respecting that we all are very busy in our "real lives" outside of smartphones and social media?

Yes, many of us are connected to our phones and we do often check and read our messages, but we may not always have the time to send the thoughtful response that we would like to.

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So as much as I am frustrated to know someone I considered a friend did not seem to understand just this — I am lucky enough to be surrounded by a great group of friends who do.

Friends who know that if their house is not on fire or they don't desperately need my shoulder to lean on, it may take me a while to respond. It doesn't mean that they don't mean that much to me or that I don't value their friendship. It just means that on some days I might just be too busy petting stingrays with my son and living my life. And sorry, but I'm not sorry — I won't apologize for that.

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