The Boy Who Took 3-5 Business Days to Reply

Get a glass of wine and sit down. This is a multifaceted post where my opinions get confusing if they aren’t clearly set out, so I’m going to set it out clearly. That’s my disclaimer. If you get confused, too heckin’ bad.

I was in love with a ghoster. I’ve mentioned this before. Head-over-heels, will-jump-in-front-of-a-tram-for-you, can’t-sleep-at-night kinda love. Sometimes he just sucks at replying, sometimes he intentionally avoids me and leaves me in the dark.

But this isn’t a post to call him out; I appreciate him as a person and I’m absolutely fine, so leave him alone. This is just to help contextualise my journey of deciding that I have two opinions on responding to messages.

  1. You Are Not Owed a Reply
  2. Ghosting is Emotional Abuse

They sound contradictory, right? You aren’t owed a reply… so why is ghosting bad? For me, it comes down to two things.

  1. Time
  2. Content

Reasonably, I believe it is okay to take a few days to reply to a message. People get busy. You need to walk the dog, cook dinner, workout, shower, go to work, look after your baby brother, take your kid to school, etc etc etc. That’s life, and expecting a reply in a certain time period you’ve decided is necessary – in your own mind – is selfish. Don’t be stupid. However, there’s a point where waiting for a reply turns into being ghosted. At first I waited hours for a reply, then days, then weeks...

Secondly, the content of the message in question is very relevant. If it’s “Hey! Look at this photo of my cat! So cute, right?” then sorry, but who gives a fuck if they take a week to reply. If the message is “Fucking call me back, it’s an emergency! My leg fell off!” then this should be replied to within hours, in my humble opinion. Hours only because they might not be on their phone at first, but I expect this to be replied to at first opportunity. That’s fair. You need someone to pick up your leg.

So there’s a bit of a mathematical equation here somewhere. (Maybe? I failed maths). Basically, if it’s A (been more than a few days) and B (important content) and you still haven’t received a reply then it equals C (ghosting).

Let’s explain my first opinion: sorry, but you aren’t owed a reply. I had a falling out with a friend because of this, god damn. I hadn’t replied to a message that frankly didn’t require a response, I thought. Look, I mostly grew up with social media - I got my first iPhone at 13, I think - so I can absolutely understand and appreciate the taken-for-granted nature of expecting a prompt response. We are literally in each other’s pockets, so it isn’t a big ask. I get it.

But the thing that is funnily overlooked is that we’re humans. We are people who arguably aren’t supposed to be contactable all the time. As a safety thing, it’s brilliant, yes. But as a social tool, it’s asking a lot. Think about pre-smart phones: you might have sent a letter, right? And, probably, you waited around 3-5 business days for a reply. When I met a boy who acted like a letter, it took me ages - with lots of I hate him’s and he’s probably dead’s – to finally figure out what I believed about this whole thing. And yeah, my interactions with him helped me to decide that it is unnatural to be at someone’s beck and call.

Other than the whole life thing I explained earlier, we also have a responsibility to manage our mental health and wellbeing which means we sometimes don’t want to be exposed to other people, other issues, or social media. I know people who live with their phone on Do Not Disturb because they don’t care to be distracted by or overly involved with a phone. And, at my age, that’s considered kinda bizarre. But I love it! I don’t live in the DND world but I do live without most of my notifications on, and it’s unexpectedly liberating.

Not to mention that certain apps such as Snapchat employ tactics designed to frustrate you and desire a response quickly. For example, the timer and the best friend emojis; these are just methods used to ensure that you send a Snapchat every day, but they start World War III. I KNOW because yes, I cried when I lost the red love heart emoji with a boy once. Sue me. But listen to what my really smart friend told me: “Capitalism controls us all, my dude. Snapchat puts those emojis there so you keep using the app to maintain the emojis so the app stays popular and it makes money. So like, capitalism. Don’t justify or try to define a relationship with a human fucken person by basing anything on messages and emojis on apps on phones. Like fuck. Put your phone down. Have a human connection”.

SO Y’ALL COWBOYS, shut the fuck up if you’re trying to demand an unimportant response in a stupidly small amount of time. Obviously that’s subjective and people have different levels of tolerance – I can wait three days without getting annoyed whereas my housemate can wait about thirty minutes. But seriously, what’s the big deal?

Oh, wait. You’re lonely. Yes, that’s why you’re here. ALRIGHT, THAT’S OKAY. What I’m trying to shove down your throat is probably not going to make you less lonely, actually, but it should help you to understand that your loneliness and subsequent unhappiness cannot be avoided by constantly messaging someone who makes you feel better. It might help, or you might just get a tiny serotonin hit when you get a reply and then dwell in bed like you’re just part of the fucken bed spread, dying of loneliness because they then left you on read or didn’t reply. Loneliness doubled, bro.

So what are you doing? You’re the one that needs to make yourself less lonely, dammit. Go on, go hang out with yourself! I know you can’t be that bad and I need you to realise that. Mute some people so you can be lonely in peace, without wondering if they’ve replied, and then go touch some fucking grass. Heck.

Pick yourself some flowers while you’re at it because you love yourself now. I said so.

© Lonely as F*ck

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