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I often worry when people don't respond quickly enough

Tagged as: Big Questions, Friends, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (28 August 2018) 5 Answers - (Newest, 30 August 2018)
A female United Kingdom age 22-25, anonymous writes:

I often get worried when I don't receive a reply from someone and I know this may seem silly as not everyone is able to reply or they might be busy.

there's one friend in particular that I try to not text or contact because I get worried if she doesn't reply. I really like her as a friend and I always think when she doesn't respond she doesn't want to talk to me or doesn't like me.

I feel as though my worries have slightly got better but how can I try to stop getting worried over this and just text and contact her without the thought of not getting a reply going through my mind?

she means a lot to me and I know if she randomly decided to stop talking to me id be really upset but I just hate having these worries that are silly .

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (30 August 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntBuy a lock box that has a timer. Put your phone in it for 2+ hours every single day. Send a text to anyone VERY important (not just random friends/family members) that you’ll be unreachable by mobile until __am/pm.

It’s an addiction. You need to distract yourself. If you can’t, even with the timed box, get some therapy.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (30 August 2018):

Often what you're feeling is attributed to an addiction to your devices. You are too used to getting immediate-responses when you hit a button, and getting an instant reply like a Google or YouTube inquiry. Enter a phrase and you get a 100 responses.

You have to exercise patience and poise. You can't get rattled or freaked when people don't jump when you say jump.

You have somehow decided your value to your friend is dependent on her response-time. You're not worried. You're anxious, because you're somewhat demanding. Maybe you believe if she really cared as much as you do, she'd respond quicker? If she doesn't, you feel you've dropped a few points on her value scale. Maybe you worry she's spending more time being friends with someone else? So you try to keep her too busy to be friends with anybody else.

My dear, this comes from over-conditioning from receiving likes, thumbs-ups, and emojis that give you gratification. They make you feel validated and popular. You need constant reassurance. Your phone has to be constantly active.

It doesn't stop with texting; it may even show-up in all your interactions with people. You require a lot of attention. You seem to be insecure about how much they love you.

It means you need to put the phone down, and find other things to do with your time. You need to have fun without the use of a phone or device. You will receive the same positive-feedback you need, by actually hanging-out together. This will kill loneliness and boredom. When they aren't around, stop staring at your phone. Put in your pocket, and find something to do with yourself.

They can't be with you 24/7; so you have to give friendships a rest. You can be too clingy, and get on people's nerves; requiring their around-the-clock attention and immediate message-responses. Eventually they will purposely avoid you!

They'll see it's you again, and just ignore it! How dare they!

Our devices are tools and inanimate objects. They don't express how people actually feel about you, sweetheart. People do have other friends and other things to do. They're not always sitting and waiting for your messages.

You may concentrate a little too much of your time on your phone. In the meantime, everyone else is doing the same thing; or having fun doing stuff. If you contact them, you feel they should respond within minutes of your contact; or they care less, or may find another friend more valuable.

That means you need to give your device, your friends, and your mind a little rest. Find other things to do with your spare-time; other than testing and evaluating your popularity and social-standing with your friends. You'd make an excellent stock-broker! You keep-up with the trending markets and figures like a champ!

Appreciate spending face-time together; instead of always checking your phone. Mix and mingle with different folks. What you're longing for is human-company; but phones and messaging don't substitute for having people around you. Meanwhile, constantly judging people by their response-time. That is a little conceited and unfair.

You may claim you're worried about them; but why would anything happen to them just because they're too busy to jump when you send them a message? Maybe you test them too much, and they just want a break!

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A female reader, Blod United Kingdom +, writes (29 August 2018):

Blod agony auntI think your worry is totally justified - unfortunately, it's just a side effect of the kind of society we live in now where we're used to everything being instant. Anything that takes time causes a lot of people anxiety because we're just not used to waiting anymore!

Obviously the anxiety isn't pleasant for you but I think it would help if you were able to accept it. Acknowledge how you're feeling, think about why and realize that it's totally normal - even if it's just "OK I'm feeling worried because I haven't received a reply from XXX yet, and that's totally normal." Maybe think of some reasons that would delay someone from replying: dead battery, in the shower, driving, sleeping, etc. There are lots of normal, mundane, even boring reasons why people don't answer us straight away. Some people are just useless at replying! Nothing personal, that's just how they are.

There are a lot of fantastic self-help books available that help with dealing with worry and anxiety, especially those niggling thoughts that torment us. Have a look if there's anything that you like the look of. You could even apply what you learn to other parts of your life if anything else ever bothers you.

As for this friend, I don't think it's healthy that you care so much about her messages. Social media and messaging is just a part of every friendship. What really matters is the time you spend together. Perhaps you could arrange to meet up with her more often and doing things together. Not only will you get to know her better but you'll also find out how she feels about you. Does you mean as much to her as she does to you? Is the friendship worth all this worry it's causing?

But mainly, don't worry so much about worrying. Yes, it's unpleasant but it's normal. And remember that messaging is only a part of every relationship and an even tinier part of life. It might do you some good to take a little break from it so that can appreciate all the other things.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (29 August 2018):

Honeypie agony auntYou should try and go a WEEK without your phone or any other tech (other than what you need for work).

No social media, no nothing.

She doesn't hate you OP, if she did she would probably block you rather than take a long while to reply. It might be that you are just not as big of a priority to her as she is to you. And that you can't change by over-thinking things or being clingy or freaking out when they don't reply as fast as YOU would like them too.

You need to learn to have a bit more chill, OP.

Not to sound mean, but the World doesn't revolve around how fast people reply to a "most likely not important text" at all, nor does people like you more if they are faster or less if they are slower.

Live life. And that means spend TIME with the people you enjoy, IN person. Converse, IN person. Socialize, IN person... You can't live life on your phone.

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland +, writes (29 August 2018):

aunt honesty agony auntThis friend you are talking about, does she make the effort towards you? Does she come across as wanting to be your friend also?

The thing is if you message someone a lot then you might come across as clingy and that will make someone fall away from you.

If a friendship is not equal and you are the one always messaging then it could be that they don't feel as close to you.

Always go by the signs and make sure that a friend is also making the effort as much as you are.

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