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Ordinary Shoes

Not Responding to Emails - When do you assume it's intentional?

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Former church drama <eyeroll> There's a person from our old church who emailed me about 3 months ago to ask how we were doing during COVID. I told her that we had decided to leave the parish and were joining another parish in the same denomination. She responded that she felt like people ignored her when they left their old church and she didn't want to do that to us. I didn't provide any details about what happened. We exchanged maybe one or 2 emails after that. 

About two months ago, I emailed her to offer her some things that we were giving away. She never responded. 

She's close friends with a friend of ours who also left our church. She stopped responding to our friend's texts. Our friend's feelings were pretty hurt. 

So about a month ago, I emailed this person again and suggested that she contact our mutual friend. No response. 

I decided to give her one more chance so I emailed her last week. A nice email, how are you, etc. No response. 

At what point would you assume that someone is ignoring you or has cut you out of their lives? I think I'm in that post-toxic relationship place where I'm trying to figure out what's normal and what is not. 

It does not hurt my feelings because we were not close at all. But it bothers me because it's so petty and stupid and it shows that we are being gossiped about. 

I generally respond to people within a few days at most of receiving an email. 

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Love assumes the best of every person.  Unless you SPOKE to her and she said or did something rude I'd try some other method of contact if you want to maintain the relationship.

There are many reasons someone wouldn't see or respond to an email.  Just assume something's wrong with her or wrong with the email account.  Call or text instead.

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Also, are you sure she isn't in the hospital with COVID?

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Well, there's intentional ignoring, and then there's unintentionally ignoring because the contact isn't actually as important as the other person wanted it to be.  I would just assume that the the person from your former church was wanting to try to be a good friend, but in reality wasn't as into the friendship as she thought...or perhaps thought she wanted to be.  

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I’d give her a call before you assume she saw your emails.  I’ve noticed that in the last 5-6 months my spam folder has been getting a lot of important emails.  Not sure why, but I sometimes miss things for quite a while if I forget to check it often.

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Is this woman well/healthy?  Is there something going on in her life that might be keeping her off email? 

This is a little outside my frame of reference, because if a friend emails me, I'm very likely not going to see it very quickly.  Other than work, or what I would call the work of home life (healthcare providers, schools, lawyers) or when there's a large file attachment involved, I simply don't communicate with people via email.  That said, it sounds like you guys did email each other in the past.  I guess I would assume that after 3-4 attempts that she didn't want to continue to talk to you, assuming you had some knowledge that she's not sick or taking care of a sick person.  

I'm sorry for the toxicity around your previous church home.  That's an experience and loss I relate to a lot and I hope you are in a better place now.  

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Sometimes I will look at an e mail on my phone and intend to respond later from the computer where it is easier to type. Then it gets pushed down the list and I forget about it.

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48 minutes ago, GoodGrief1 said:

Sometimes I will look at an e mail on my phone and intend to respond later from the computer where it is easier to type. Then it gets pushed down the list and I forget about it.

Me, too.  Or I have to ask my dh or a child and then it gets buried.

 

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I got a notification of an email sent by my husband to myself and our financial advisor, but when I logged in, it's not there.  I also got an email TODAY that a package that arrived yesterday had been shipped.  

Email is weird, and stuff gets lost in cyberspace.  

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49 minutes ago, GoodGrief1 said:

Sometimes I will look at an e mail on my phone and intend to respond later from the computer where it is easier to type. Then it gets pushed down the list and I forget about it.

I used to have a job where I managed to go through 300 emails a day and not miss a beat.  hahaha, now.  This exact scenario you mention has happened to me a LOT during this COVID thing because so much more is being done via email than in incidental conversations after church or in conversations during a walk.  And the other thing that I have found in myself is a fatigue in responding.   I WANT in my heart to respond because I really do care about the person but with the shutdown, all that's left to talk about is the shutdown and I am sick to death of it.  I have a phone call with a friend every week and we instituted a new rule about 3 weeks ago:  NO COVID TALK.  But then we sort of had to fish around a bit to start up again.  And frankly, I am tired.  This thing is wearing me out.  So I just don't have the energy to respond to emails when I get them....and then they get pushed to the next page and ugh.

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10 minutes ago, Patty Joanna said:

I used to have a job where I managed to go through 300 emails a day and not miss a beat.  hahaha, now.  This exact scenario you mention has happened to me a LOT during this COVID thing because so much more is being done via email than in incidental conversations after church or in conversations during a walk.  And the other thing that I have found in myself is a fatigue in responding.   I WANT in my heart to respond because I really do care about the person but with the shutdown, all that's left to talk about is the shutdown and I am sick to death of it.  I have a phone call with a friend every week and we instituted a new rule about 3 weeks ago:  NO COVID TALK.  But then we sort of had to fish around a bit to start up again.  And frankly, I am tired.  This thing is wearing me out.  So I just don't have the energy to respond to emails when I get them....and then they get pushed to the next page and ugh.

I feel exactly like this!  My e-mail behavoir has been VASTLY different pre-covid vs. post covid.  I can only do so long at the computer with news notifications, etc before I can do no more.   Someone I love dearly just emailed me today because I missed an e-mail she sent a few weeks ago.   Sigh.   It's a  hard and an anxious time.  I might try reaching out once or twice via text or voice mail.  All may not be ok in her world either physically or mentally.  

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IDK - I'm sure I'm paranoid but this person appears to have cut our mutual friend out of her life. They were close and texted frequently and this person stopped responding to my friend's texts. 

Also, my daughter had a friend from church who has completely disappeared too. We had to tell our daughter that she will probably never hear from this girl again. 

My "sins" are that I supported the church shutdown and told the bishop that the church had liturgy with no precautions which I knew was not consistent with the guidance from the bishop. I wasn't the only one who said something to the bishop. The bishop shut them down for a couple of weeks and made them introduce precautions. Underlying this is that we vaccinate. Most of the vaccinating families are leaving. 

I think since the pro-vax/pro-shutdown people are leaving, the rest are getting even more us versus them and the people who were in the middle (like this person) are being forced to pick sides. 

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1 minute ago, FuzzyCatz said:

All may not be ok in her world either physically or mentally.  

This.  

And just to say it bluntly, it may be that she had intended to stay in touch but is finding that she has energy only for the people who will be continuing in her life.  I've had that happen with a couple of friends in the past--it made me sad, but I kind of understood it, too.  It was like this:  "I've moved away, and I'm establishing my life so it can be lived where I am.  Between work and other responsibilities, I just don't have time to keep in touch with everyone in my past.  I'll always hold you fondly in my heart, but I just won't have the time or energy to keep in touch."  It was a little off-putting, but as I have gotten older, I have realized they they just had the guts to say what others effectively DID by ghosting or just letting things wind down gradually.  

It's hard to say what goes on in other people's hearts; I have trouble enough figuring out my own.

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I usually don't read an entire thread before giving a response, in this case I did. I wanted to know what the general consensus was. Everyone thinks emails maybe misplaced. 

I agree emails, have been misplaced, she may be sick. But if she or her family members are not sick or otherwise occupied, I always use the Sherlock Holmes method, "When all explanations fail, what remains however improbable is the truth".

It my experience it is highly impossible to miss two emails. I also have the experience of people dropping me when I left a church. I want to assume good intention, but in this situation cannot.

I did all this rambling in my post because I did not want to abruptly say I thought she ghosted you. I am sorry, 

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Someone who has reached out in the past but who has stopped responding to a number of people in the midst of a stressful global pandemic might just need some space.  I would back off a bit.  Perhaps as things open up more in the person, she might start to reach out to people again. 

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23 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

IDK - I'm sure I'm paranoid but this person appears to have cut our mutual friend out of her life. They were close and texted frequently and this person stopped responding to my friend's texts. 

Also, my daughter had a friend from church who has completely disappeared too. We had to tell our daughter that she will probably never hear from this girl again. 

My "sins" are that I supported the church shutdown and told the bishop that the church had liturgy with no precautions which I knew was not consistent with the guidance from the bishop. I wasn't the only one who said something to the bishop. The bishop shut them down for a couple of weeks and made them introduce precautions. Underlying this is that we vaccinate. Most of the vaccinating families are leaving. 

I think since the pro-vax/pro-shutdown people are leaving, the rest are getting even more us versus them and the people who were in the middle (like this person) are being forced to pick sides. 

It's possible there's a bit of shunning going on. The sentiments around reopening church are high voltage. 

If it were me, considering that email can be flaky, I'd make one more attempt via text or telephone. If that isn't successful, I'd assume she's avoiding you deliberately, or more likely just buried with busyness in her own immediate sphere and lacks the time and/or energy to engage right now.

 

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2 hours ago, Patty Joanna said:

I used to have a job where I managed to go through 300 emails a day and not miss a beat.  hahaha, now.  This exact scenario you mention has happened to me a LOT during this COVID thing because so much more is being done via email than in incidental conversations after church or in conversations during a walk.  And the other thing that I have found in myself is a fatigue in responding.   I WANT in my heart to respond because I really do care about the person but with the shutdown, all that's left to talk about is the shutdown and I am sick to death of it.  I have a phone call with a friend every week and we instituted a new rule about 3 weeks ago:  NO COVID TALK.  But then we sort of had to fish around a bit to start up again.  And frankly, I am tired.  This thing is wearing me out.  So I just don't have the energy to respond to emails when I get them....and then they get pushed to the next page and ugh.

I'm so sorry, and yet glad to hear I am not the only one feeling like this. I've been avoiding replying to people in email, message, etc and it's just that I'm emotionally exhausted, and talking to people takes more energy than I have. 

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I think I’d have her in my mind as an open case. I wouldn’t assume anything bad but I wouldn’t be looking for a response. I’d she ever responds, you can be delightfully surprised, but I’d let go of the need for a definitive answer and just set the whole thing aside in limbo. 

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I'm confused.  The two of you started off with a friendly, chatty email. Then your next email to her was to confront her about another friendship... or to encourage her to contact this other friend whom she's not friends with anymore??   I dunno, but an email like that (out of the blue) would probably hurt my feelings and/or offend me.   Did you try to figure out her side of the story?  Did you give her the benefit of the doubt that something else happened?  Or, did you just confront her?  I'm confused about that 2nd email telling her to patch things up with the other friend.   Why are you interjecting yourself into that circus??    You've been hurt by this parish....walk away.  Don't create more pain and drama for yourself. 

Unless you are very close to the first emailer... then maybe it is appropriate for you to confront her about her other church friendships.    Maybe I have the wrong end of this.   

 

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I think it's more likely that your email is one of many that she needed to prioritize.  She may have seen it and thought, "yeah I am going to write to her when I get done with all the more urgent things," and then it gets buried.  She sees it again much later and thinks, "well darn, I blew it, it's too late to respond to this now."  Or maybe it's still in that buried state, waiting to be noticed again.

She may not have even opened your 2nd and 3rd emails to see what the content was, assuming that they were just follow-ups to your first one, and keeping them as "unread items" the way I do to remind myself these are "to-dos."

I think it's nice that some people want to reach out to others just out of kindness, but often those types of people are trying to do too much for too many.  Right now there are a lot of new considerations and needs related to church and everything else.  For example, my kids each got a handwritten letter from a church member congratulating them on their graduation, presumably because they could not have a ceremony in the church.  The person who wrote those cards may have had to put something else on hold.  I'd really give a lot of grace, especially at the present time.

Another thought - if you want her to do something specific in the short term, can you say so briefly in the title of your email?  For instance "Request to contact friend in need."  That way she can see there is some urgency / action needed before she decides whether your email can wait.

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1 hour ago, PrincessMommy said:

I'm confused.  The two of you started off with a friendly, chatty email. Then your next email to her was to confront her about another friendship... or to encourage her to contact this other friend whom she's not friends with anymore??   I dunno, but an email like that (out of the blue) would probably hurt my feelings and/or offend me.   Did you try to figure out her side of the story?  Did you give her the benefit of the doubt that something else happened?  Or, did you just confront her?  I'm confused about that 2nd email telling her to patch things up with the other friend.   Why are you interjecting yourself into that circus??    You've been hurt by this parish....walk away.  Don't create more pain and drama for yourself. 

Unless you are very close to the first emailer... then maybe it is appropriate for you to confront her about her other church friendships.    Maybe I have the wrong end of this.   

 

No, we exchanged several "chatty" emails. Then I emailed her to offer her some things that I did not need anymore that I thought she might want. She did not respond. 

Then a few weeks later my friend mentioned again how hurt she was that this person stopped interacting with her. I emailed this person and asked if she could contact our mutual friend. I didn't confront her. She did not respond or contact our mutual friend. 

I spoke to our mutual friend again last week and she mentioned that she did not know what was going on with this person. I defended her to my friend. I suggested that maybe it was really stressful at church now. That made me think that I should give this person another chance so I emailed her again. A nice "chatty" email. How are you? 

They did not fight. This person completely stopped interacting with my friend after my friend told her that was leaving the parish. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

No, we exchanged several "chatty" emails. Then I emailed her to offer her some things that I did not need anymore that I thought she might want. She did not respond. 

Then a few weeks later my friend mentioned again how hurt she was that this person stopped interacting with her. I emailed this person and asked if she could contact our mutual friend. I didn't confront her. She did not respond or contact our mutual friend. 

I spoke to our mutual friend again last week and she mentioned that she did not know what was going on with this person. I defended her to my friend. I suggested that maybe it was really stressful at church now. That made me think that I should give this person another chance so I emailed her again. A nice "chatty" email. How are you? 

They did not fight. This person completely stopped interacting with my friend after my friend told her that was leaving the parish. 

 

If I didn't want the things offered, I might not respond right away to tell you that.  Sometimes that is because I'm not sure at first if I want or need any more stuff.  And then I forget.  And then I would kind of figure that you would know that I didn't want the stuff because I didn't contact you right away to tell you that I wanted it.  I realize that it would be most polite to reply right away no matter what but I could see this happening. 

I would find it a bit weird to get an email from a third party telling me to contact someone else.  I mean, if the person were sick or something and couldn't contact me directly then I would understand.  But just to tell me to contact someone?  It's just not something that I would expect and I would find it awkward. 

She may really be ghosting both of you.  And it might be because you both left the parish.  Which would make her prior communication about wanting to stay in touch a bit hypocritical, but I wouldn't want to force someone to keep in touch with me. 

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I wouldn't think too much about it.  I mean, things like that happen, and sometimes it's just time to move on and not worry about it.  There could be a number of reasons, probably all of them being out of your control.  Maybe she's decided she needs to move on since you're no longer at the same church.  Maybe she's got a lot of other things going on in her life that feel way more important.  Maybe she's holding a weird grudge, or maybe she isn't.  Maybe she's sick.  Maybe she's just in a mood.  Maybe she barely keeps up with her email.  (I have several friendships -- even very close ones -- where we only email each other every 6 months or so.)  You've already sent several emails to reach out.  If she's someone you really want to keep up an ongoing relationship with and have in your life, you can call her.  Otherwise, I'd let it be and let go of trying to figure out why.  Some things are just not worth too much brain energy.

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