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Are slow text responses weird to others? Or just me?


When people are slow to respond to a text  

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  1. 1. Is it a little odd if someone doesn’t reply to a text for a day or more?

    • Yes, I always find that a little different.
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    • No, any time frame is fine.
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Adding a poll. When I text people, I usually expect them to reply within a short while, if not pretty much immediately. Of course, a person might be at work, or rocking a baby or at church or something, but nevertheless, I still usually expect to hear a reply within a few hours at most. I find it pretty strange when I don’t hear a reply until the next day. 

What about you? 

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I do not find it realistic to expect immediate answers. Almost everybody I know works. And then there are other responsibilities. And there are actually people who do not carry their cell phones 24/7.

Although I normally respond within an hour or two with close friends and family, I sometimes read it and forget. If it’s more of an acquaintance, I might wait until later in the day. But I don’t like

I saw this on FB and thought of this thread, lol

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I would say it depends on who it is.  Close friends and family, usually within an hour or 2.   Less close contacts without 24 hours.

I do have a few people that I know I won't hear from for longer and that is OK.

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I do not find it realistic to expect immediate answers. Almost everybody I know works. And then there are other responsibilities. And there are actually people who do not carry their cell phones 24/7. I don't have notification sounds on on my phone; I see messages when I choose to check for them.

ETA: As somebody who has a computer or phone nearby pretty much all the time, unless I am in the woods, I am actively working on freeing myself from what I like to call the "tyranny of the immediate response."

Edited by regentrude
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Although I normally respond within an hour or two with close friends and family, I sometimes read it and forget. If it’s more of an acquaintance, I might wait until later in the day. But I don’t like people to think that texting means they can reach me immediately. I like to think of it as a more of ‘called and left a message and I’ll get back to you when I can’ type of thing. But I might be weird. 😂

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Just now, mmasc said:

But I don’t like people to think that texting means they can reach me immediately. I like to think of it as a more of ‘called and left a message and I’ll get back to you when I can’ type of thing. But I might be weird. 😂

100% agree. 

I intentionally do not respond too quickly when people first text, in order to not set up that expectation, lol. 

Plus, I'm doing things pretty often that take a few hours or more, I don't think that's unusual? And I may have my phone with me, but I don't want to be in the habit of interrupting every activity to respond to texts. 

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I’m programmed to look at a text, even when I know I don’t have the ability to devote attention to a response. But then the notification disappears and there’s a chance I’ll forget it exists.

Even if I don’t look at it (like while driving or in the shower), there are no audible notifications later, and I could forget for a very long time.  Especially now that spam text is a thing, so having a little red number on the icon won’t necessarily catch my eye if I see my screen later.

To me, a text is like a “When’s a good time to chat?” And my response, whenever that might be, is a “Now’s a good time”. Unless I’m texting to say later, lol.

This is why, if my kids or dh really need me, they have to make a real phone call if I don’t respond to the first text.

ETA: Also, I’m early to bed, early to rise. So sometimes I’m trying to remember to wait for someone else’s reasonable time to respond to their 9pm text.

Edited by Carrie12345
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11 minutes ago, Quill said:

Adding a poll. When I text people, I usually expect them to reply within a short while, if not pretty much immediately. Of course, a person might be at work, or rocking a baby or at church or something, but nevertheless, I still usually expect to hear a reply within a few hours at most. I find it pretty strange when I don’t hear a reply until the next day. 

What about you? 

I prefer using it as a faster than email but not so disruptive and demanding as a phone call type of communication.  In other words, typically I would try to respond as soon as I got the chance but it can be hours later or the next day depending on life circumstances.

Last summer, my group of friends found that we would send a message but it wouldn't always go through. Some of my texts (or theirs) wouldn't go through for hours. It made group texts very interesting when you were getting parts and pieces of a conversation.  At one point over the summer my friend started getting all my texts a day or 2 later in batches at 4 AM. I was not texting her at 4 AM. 😂It does seem to have resolved itself.

So I would say, if it's an emergency, call and never take offence over texting (either tone or failure to recieve).

 

 

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4 minutes ago, mmasc said:

 But I don’t like people to think that texting means they can reach me immediately. I like to think of it as a more of ‘called and left a message and I’ll get back to you when I can’ type of thing. But I might be weird. 😂

You are not weird and you are not alone 😉

I am either at my computer or my phone and I deliberately try not to be a frequent texter and put away my phone after 7:00 pm every day.
I intentionally try to discourage people from randomly texting me and assuming that they can contact me at any time of the night or day by texting me!

I ask people, kindly, to email me and I get texts instead and then they get agitated if I don’t respond immediately.

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I have a bad habit of leaving my phone on silent so I often don’t see the messages come through. I also sometimes reply in my head and don’t get to it for a while.  Sometimes I forget to reply for days then it’s awkward.  Do I still reply or not?  Is it better to be weird and reply late or is it better to let the person think I didn’t care enough to write back at all?  I do think one of the advantages of texting is that it gives people a bit of time to think or if it’s for an event to consult the required family members etc.  

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Being one of those people who don't always reply right away - or at all (in cases where either I think no reply is needed or I choose to stay quiet rather than text something impolite back) - I don't expect others to reply right away.

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If it’s through WhatsApp or SMS then I might not respond until 24hrs later because I don’t usually have my cellphone beside me. Skype would be fastest because I can respond on my laptop or iPad. Facebook messenger and Slack would be slower as I only have those on my iPad and iPhone. 
 

So basically the slowest response by me is for any messaging app that is tied to a cellphone number. 

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I don't mean the tech is faster, though I can text in places where my 4G is sketchy. Part of that is a text will keep trying to send. 

I mean there is an understanding that I would like a more immediate response. I am less disruptive to my husband for example if I email him during a meeting about a question or favor than if I text him.  If my car is broken down then I would text not email. 

His work sends emergency texts. Tsunami or flash flood warnings come via text. No one would dream of emailing about an emergency,  I would think. 

We do keep our notifications on for the most part. I have learned to turn on my do not disturb at night but he can't because of his work. 

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6 minutes ago, frogger said:

I don't mean the tech is faster, though I can text in places where my 4G is sketchy. Part of that is a text will keep trying to send. 

I mean there is an understanding that I would like a more immediate response. I am less disruptive to my husband for example if I email him during a meeting about a question or favor than if I text him.  If my car is broken down then I would text not email. 

His work sends emergency texts. Tsunami or flash flood warnings come via text. No one would dream of emailing about an emergency,  I would think. 

We do get email about emergencies through our employer's alert system. 

I don't understand how emailing during a meeting would be less disruptive than sending a text? I assume any person would mute their phone during a meeting and only receive visual notification for both email and text - so either shows up on the screen (or smart watch if they wear one) just the same.

Edited by regentrude
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Depends on how the person uses their phone/electronic media.

I've never been a big phone talker, and I really dislike having electronics rule my life, so I don't have my phone on me or near me 90% of the time. That translates to I might respond immediately to a text if I happen to hear it ding at me, and end up in a texting back-and-forth conversation. But it is more likely to be hours -- or days -- before I see a text and respond to it.

Family & friends know that's just the way I roll (and a number of them are similar), so we just have these lovely relaxed "slow motion" text conversations. I enjoy connecting when it happens, and I enjoy being untethered from electronics. 😉 

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I don’t have a smart phone, so texts come to my iPad. I only take it out of the house when we travel and when I’m home, I can go hours without looking at it and I have sound notifications turned off. So unless I’m actually actively on it like right now, you would rarely get a timely reply from me. I probably see most messages within 12-24 hours of being sent and respond then. I honestly don’t understand the desire or need to be constantly available and connected. I figure if it’s an actual emergency, they will call.

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4 minutes ago, regentrude said:

We do get email about emergencies through our employer's alert system. 

I don't understand how emailing during a meeting would be less disruptive than sending a text? I assume any person would mute their phone during a meeting and only receive visual notification for both email and text - so either shows up on the screen (or smart watch if they wear one) just the same.

Nope, he is a multi tasker.  If there is an outage he would want to know right away not two hours later. 

I realize some people might set up notifications on their email to beep at them constantly but that would drive me insane. I will sit down and deal with my email all at once. It includes junk mail and bills and all sorts of stuff that I don't need to interrupt my day.

For example, I have never had a fellow parent email me, "Can you give so and so a ride home?" during an activity. There seems to be a cultural assumption that I would see a text quickly so I could bring their kid home. I don't think, in my social circle at least, that I would see an email while out and about and respond quickly. 

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8 minutes ago, regentrude said:

We do get email about emergencies through our employer's alert system. 

I don't understand how emailing during a meeting would be less disruptive than sending a text? I assume any person would mute their phone during a meeting and only receive visual notification for both email and text - so either shows up on the screen (or smart watch if they wear one) just the same.

For me I get a lot of spam so don’t check email each time it comes through whereas text is mostly limited to friends and family so I don’t have to work through the volume.  

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9 minutes ago, frogger said:

Nope, he is a multi tasker.  If there is an outage he would want to know right away not two hours later. 

I realize some people might set up notifications on their email to beep at them constantly but that would drive me insane. I will sit down and deal with my email all at once. It includes junk mail and bills and all sorts of stuff that I don't need to interrupt my day.

For example, I have never had a fellow parent email me, "Can you give so and so a ride home?" during an activity. There seems to be a cultural assumption that I would see a text quickly so I could bring their kid home. I don't think, in my social circle at least, that I would see an email while out and about and respond quickly. 

I don't understand the comment about the multi tasking and knowing about an outage immediately; email accomplishes that just fine.

Obviously there is a cultural difference. I am handling several dozen emails a day and have to respond  right away; I could not let everything pile up because things have to be handled, and there has to be back-and-forth.  I would see any email immediately either when I am on the computer or on my phone. Email is the main mode of communication with most people I know, besides messenger. 
 

Edited by regentrude
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I usually return texts pretty immediately. It takes me literally seconds to reply to most texts which are often only a sentence. (Emails tend to be more wordy in my opinion). To me, a text is equivalent to someone calling out a question from the next room and me yelling a short reply back (this metaphor is not to be taken literally). 
 

I don’t text with anyone who I don’t consider a friend or who isn’t family. I reply quickly because I don’t want to forget to get back to them with my quick response. That said, I text with many in different time zones and often hours can go by before I hear from some people. I don’t really think anything of it. 

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I almost never respond to texts immediately because I have a lot of boundary pushers in the extended family. Responding quickly to texts leads to pushy behavior later. 

It's a text message, not a court summons. 

Edited to add: This method was developed due to someone who liked to send 2 paragraph "texts", and expected a quick and thorough answer.  If I didn't respond within 30-60 minutes, I started getting passive aggressive texts like "Just checking to see if you received the message" or "Just testing to see if my text messaging is broken. Please respond and let me know".  If I didn't respond to that, (because I was at a movie or driving, for example, and could not respond), they'd contact other family members to complain. The other family member would then text or call to say "Could you please respond to so-and-so? They say they can't reach you". 

So now everyone outside of this house that sends a message longer than 2 sentences is on a minimum 4 hour delay. The above mentioned person is on a 12 hour delay.  They don't like it, but they've learned that I will not respond immediately to texts and complaining to others will not improve the outcome, only make it worse. 

Edited by MissLemon
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39 minutes ago, regentrude said:

I don't understand how emailing during a meeting would be less disruptive than sending a text? I assume any person would mute their phone during a meeting and only receive visual notification for both email and text - so either shows up on the screen (or smart watch if they wear one) just the same.

Like @frogger, I don't get notifications of emails as they come in. When I want to see emails, I log in to check them. I don't even know if I have new emails before I log in. I liken it to an old answering machine that is in the basement. When I want to see if another left a message, I'll go downstairs & check the machine. No blinking light on another phone to tell me there is a message waiting. Very disconnected.

Obviously, I don't use my email for work & my friends/family know to call (our home landline) if they need something right away.

ETA: my DH & I share our cell phone although I have it 97% of the time. He uses email at work but only has it up on the screen while at work. When home, he can check his work email but often does not do so - waiting until he arrives to deal with it.

Edited by RootAnn
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I don't really text (arthritis in my hands) but I do use hangouts with my college kids, so for them it is like texting.

I don't expect an immediate response, but I do find it annoying when we are having a conversation and they disappear for 10 minutes at a time.  I try to pretend that they're doing homework... 😉 

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13 minutes ago, Junie said:

I don't really text (arthritis in my hands) but I do use hangouts with my college kids, so for them it is like texting.

I don't expect an immediate response, but I do find it annoying when we are having a conversation and they disappear for 10 minutes at a time.  I try to pretend that they're doing homework... 😉 

My son is famous for doing that. 

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The people that tend to wanna call if I respond to their text, I sit on. Any chance you're doing that?

If it's something I don't know, need to think about or requires more thought then a yes or no, I may be slower.

I am overwhelmed with life now and and running in circles.  It makes it hard to even stop and absorb a text let alone respond.  It's one of the easier things to push aside in my hectic day if it's something not important.    

I do read/see most texts within a 1/2 hour of them being sent unless, sleeping, just because they come across my watch.

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I usually FB message my kids, but if I need an answer right now (unusual), I'll text them. I know they turn their sound off for classes and work, so I know I might not get a response back right away. If they are driving, they better not look at it!  But usually I'll hear back with a text within a 3-4 hour window at the longest. However, one child gets involved studying and forgets to check her phone, so it might be longer sometimes. 

For other people? Whenever they get around to it is fine. If I need an answer right then, I'll call. 

I'm better at this now, but I used to turn my sound off and forget to turn it back on for days and just didn't see any texts come in. 

 

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I don't expect an immediate response but more than a day would be kind of weird. 

I do have one ongoing chat with my bff that sometimes goes longer but I wouldn't use that to send/ask anything that needed a quick response.

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10 minutes ago, Dainty said:

The people that tend to wanna call if I respond to their text, I sit on. Any chance you're doing that?

If it's something I don't know, need to think about or requires more thought then a yes or no, I may be slower.

I am overwhelmed with life now and and running in circles.  It makes it hard to even stop and absorb a text let alone respond.  It's one of the easier things to push aside in my hectic day if it's something not important.    

I do read/see most texts within a 1/2 hour of them being sent unless, sleeping, just because they come across my watch.

Do you mean: am I one of those people who send a texts, gets a reply back, and then figures I should call? If so, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA, no! 😆 I am on the phone-phobic side and would rather text than call unless whatever I’m talking about is too complex for text. 

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A few hours later, not weird. A day later... slightly weird, but depends a little on the context. Two days later... actually weird. Like, at that point, is it a response? Isn't it just a new text?

But it also depends on what the context of the text is. I mean, to family about casual things, I don't necessarily expect a response at all unless it's a clear question. To friends that I text with, it depends. I have one friend who will respond to something I said like two days later. Sometimes it's so much later that I'm like, what are you even talking about. But also, she's genuinely a weird character.

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The screen on my phone tells me I have just over 200 unread text messages. 😁 So, I’m definitely not one who responds immediately because I often don’t even read it for days. If I see a message is from dc or dh, I do check those immediately and respond.

I actually hate texting with most people though so I’m probably weird. 
 

ETA: We’re actually probably a weird family because none of us are great with texting. I often have friends of ds (who is  20!!) text me because they’re trying to reach him and he’s not responding. He turns his phone off for classes and then just forgets about it. 🙃

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Well I probably irritate the universe.   I don't text that many people.  So when I get an unexpected text it isn't unusual for me not to notice it for 24-48 hours and I've even told a few people if you don't hear from me in a day, give it another go.  Pre-covid when I was picking up teens, etc and they were out I'd be watching my phone closer.  But it isn't unusual for me to just look at it a couple times a day.  I use my iPad and laptop more than my phone.  I'm generally great with e-mail though.  

ETA - now that I read responses, to be clear, if I had people start skype texting me, I'd probably be better.  I have a texting app on my iPad and laptop that WERE working great and it actually made a bit more timely at texting.  But it is broken so I'm getting about half my texts there.  Thanks Republic Anywhere.  I might also see a text and then get 10 texts with stuff for a grocery list from DH and text #1 is completely out of mind and I unintentionally drop it.  I actually kind of wish I had friends, closer family who wanted to text, I'd probably be watching closer.  I'm back to the drawing board on building relationships post covid.  My kids are at this transitional age where I need to find some new outlets but covid is hard.  

 

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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I can't answer the poll because it absolutely depends on who I'm texting.  My sons--if it's not within a few minutes, I'm thinking about calling out the National Guard.  My mother--it could be a week.

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When I was coaching and reaching out to potential student-athletes, a response was immediate.

When I was trying to start a business and looking for students, a response was immediate.

In my personal life, I do a sort of texting triage. If it seems like an emergency or really important, ill reply immediately, If it's benign, I'll wait until I'm ready. The difficult part is extending grace to others when I think I need a swift reply and don't receive it.

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I generally treat texts like physical mail- I only want to deal with it once. So if it comes in and I see a preview but don’t have time to respond, I leave it unopened until I have time to deal with it (otherwise I run the risk that I’ll forget that I haven’t responded). But if I read it and it’s a quick reply, I just do it then.  If I read it and I can’t yet reply due to something like needing to check w dh before accepting an obligation, I at least reply w. a quick “I’ll get back to you after I check with him”.

As for what I expect from others- it depends on how they use their phones. My kids and grands check messages frequently and generally reply within an hour, or on a break if they’re at work. My sister rarely looks at her phone so I know it’ll be a couple of days before she even reads my text. So when I start to wonder if they have forgotten about a text depends on how the recipient uses her phone. 

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5 minutes ago, Annie G said:

I generally treat texts like physical mail- I only want to deal with it once. So if it comes in and I see a preview but don’t have time to respond, I leave it unopened until I have time to deal with it (otherwise I run the risk that I’ll forget that I haven’t responded). But if I read it and it’s a quick reply, I just do it then.  If I read it and I can’t yet reply due to something like needing to check w dh before accepting an obligation, I at least reply w. a quick “I’ll get back to you after I check with him”.

As for what I expect from others- it depends on how they use their phones. My kids and grands check messages frequently and generally reply within an hour, or on a break if they’re at work. My sister rarely looks at her phone so I know it’ll be a couple of days before she even reads my text. So when I start to wonder if they have forgotten about a text depends on how the recipient uses her phone. 

That’s exactly how I manage mine. 

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I said no, but I do think it's a little weird when you know they've seen the text and still take days to answer. I don't expect an immediate answer. I don't always have my phone with me so it's sometimes hours before I see a text. I do start to feel like someone is ignoring me if they don't answer within a day or two.

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3 hours ago, regentrude said:

I don't understand the comment about the multi tasking and knowing about an outage immediately; email accomplishes that just fine.

Obviously there is a cultural difference. I am handling several dozen emails a day and have to respond  right away; I could not let everything pile up because things have to be handled, and there has to be back-and-forth.  I would see any email immediately either when I am on the computer or on my phone. Email is the main mode of communication with most people I know, besides messenger. 
 

So you respond to emails immediately but not to texts? That is different. But like you said, culture makes a difference. 

I like choosing one method of communication to be the one I check whether I'm at the store and someone needs milk or I need to get ahold of someone immediately or can't find a child. I have never been emailed by a single person with communications like "I'm stuck in a ditch." Or other things that need immediate response. It does seem pointless to have two modes of communication that do exacatly the same thing and are treated exacatly the same way but to each his own. If that is what makes you happy.

I don't always respond to texts right away but it is the mode that I will check most readily when notified and the way which most people would communicate with me more urgent things. Of course, if I received 100's of texts a day that method would be ruined. I'd probably start blocking people. 😂

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Sometimes I reply quickly, sometimes I don't. I usually have notifications turned down on my phone because I have my school email set to notify and I really don't want it pinging everytime a student emails me - I'll look at when I get to it. 

I prefer emails for long replies. I text a handful of people on a regular basis and it's generally about things that do require a response in a couple of hours. I have one group text, casual friends chat, where it's not unusual for replies to happen hours apart as the group is in several time zones. 

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I think it's a little presumptuous to expect a text immediately.  It's nice when it happens!  But people have busy lives or are often in the middle of something.  I don't expect people to drop whatever they're doing to answer a text.  I figure they'll get around to it eventually.  Also, if I'm talking to someone, even my dh, stopping the conversation to respond to a text seems impolite to me.  So I wait till later to answer.

 

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Unless it is one of my kids or my husband, or I'm involved in a text conversation with someone/a group, I don't respond right away. And I don't expect immediate responses.  

I told my college kids that unless I specifically say I want/need a quick response, they should respond to me within about 24 hours so I don't start worrying. 

If I get a text from work specifically to me asking me to come in on my day off or something, I will respond right away. If it's a group text along the lines of "we're short-handed today, anyone want to work extra hours?" I don't respond at all.  

 

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29 minutes ago, frogger said:

So you respond to emails immediately but not to texts? That is different. But like you said, culture makes a difference. 

I like choosing one method of communication to be the one I check whether I'm at the store and someone needs milk or I need to get ahold of someone immediately or can't find a child. I have never been emailed by a single person with communications like "I'm stuck in a ditch." Or other things that need immediate response. It does seem pointless to have two modes of communication that do exacatly the same thing and are treated exacatly the same way but to each his own. If that is what makes you happy.

I don't always respond to texts right away but it is the mode that I will check most readily when notified and the way which most people would communicate with me more urgent things. Of course, if I received 100's of texts a day that method would be ruined. I'd probably start blocking people. 😂

This is also how it works in my circles.

If one of Elliot's umpteen therapists needs me to log into his portal and sign something, they email and expect me to deal with it within a couple days. If they are writing to let me know they are running 15 minutes late, they text. If there is an emergency, they call.

If DH is wanting my opinion on buying something, he emails me and includes a link. If he is standing in the store and wants my opinion within a couple minutes, he texts and includes a picture. If it's black Friday and the item is flying off the shelf and he needs my opinion right then, he calls.

If a friend and I are organizing a volunteer project for our kids to work on jointly, we email so all the information is searchable and organized into threads in our email. The assumption is that emails will not be answered immediately because they will often require a few days of research or work. If a friend and I are organizing a simply park meetup we text. If a friend has an emergency and needs immediately child care, they call.

If I'm reminding DH to mark himself as out of office to take a kiddo to the doctor in two weeks, I email so he can deal with it the next time he is sitting in front of his computer. If the home WiFi isn't working and I forget how to reset it, I text him and expect an answer within 10 or 15 minutes (and know that if he doesn't reply in that time frame, that he is really indisposed). If the basement is flooding, I call.

If our Spanish class is writing to remind people to turn in field trip money, they email (and post to Facebook). If they are cancelling class for a snow day, they text (and post to Facebook). If they need me to pick up a sick kiddo, they call.

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1 hour ago, elegantlion said:

Sometimes I reply quickly, sometimes I don't. I usually have notifications turned down on my phone because I have my school email set to notify and I really don't want it pinging everytime a student emails me - I'll look at when I get to it. 

I prefer emails for long replies. I text a handful of people on a regular basis and it's generally about things that do require a response in a couple of hours. I have one group text, casual friends chat, where it's not unusual for replies to happen hours apart as the group is in several time zones. 

I have a group text like that too. But I think of that in a different category because of the group aspect. 

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Actual text to my phone: dangerous. I rarely have my phone on me. I almost exclusively use my ipad because my ipad has a keyboard. I am a terrible texter without a keyboard. I’m like a kid learning to write—everything takes 5 years to physically text. My phone is dead more often than it’s charged and the only reason I have a phone at all is because my dh insists I have one in case the car breaks down. So if someone sends me a text to my phone number, I might not see it for weeks.

A FB message: usually the same day, but not necessarily right away. It could be hours.  Rarely it will be the next day.

 

A story that now makes sense after reading this thread: 

I was helping a friend look into buying a piano. English is her second language, so I was being the middleman helping her contact a seller and piano movers for prices.

I was texting the person selling the piano on my phone, which, as you read above, is rare and difficult for me since I’m such a slow texter. The person selling the piano told me about the piano and I told her that I’d have to contact the interested party and contact the piano movers and then get back to her.  All those things would take a lot of time. 

Like 20 minutes later, the seller was like, “Hello?  Do you have an answer yet?”

Um...no. 

And every interaction was like that. As soon as I’d text, I’d get a lightning fast response back, and if my responses didn’t come back to her just as fast, there would be “Hello?”s from her.  I can only assume that the people she texts must respond back to her rapid fire.  But I just don’t. I often either can’t or don’t want to constantly interrupt what I’m doing to handle a text as soon as it comes in.

I spend my entire life being interrupted, as you all probably do as well. I don’t think I’ve ever washed a sinkful of dishes without someone interrupting me and I have to take off the dishwashing gloves.  I was interrupted 3 times today trying to dry my hair (it takes less than 5 minutes to dry my hair), etc, etc.  I won’t allow myself to be overly interrupted by texts/messages. 

Edited by Garga
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