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08-May-2020 12:16

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She called the following day to say that she was worried that I’d been murdered… Is it worth whipping ourselves up into a frenzy of anxiety about all of the potential things that are wrong with us or that person, that may be influencing the speed of their reply?It’s tricky to have hard and fast rules about when we think that others should reply.It’s time to ask yourself: What is really going on here? Anxiety tells you that you’re predicting negative outcomes or wanting to be in control of the uncontrollable.Sometimes a text really matters because we’re lonely – it’s when we feel emotionally adrift from what we regard as key people in our life.

When we have a habit of expecting swift replies, we are operating on the assumption that we’re their only reply, or their priority reply, and/or that they have the same time on their hands as we do and/or that they understand how vitally important their reply is to our sense of self.In fact, we might not expect the fast reply at all.When a relationship isn’t mutual or there’s underlying tension that isn’t being expressed and dealt with, it’s easy to read not only into the speed of reply but even the content of it, and we should use these types of responses as a cue to be more conscious, aware, and present.A text can, in that moment, help us to feel less alone, less whatever it is that we’ve been telling ourselves that day.

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The danger is of course that while sometimes a text at the right moment or with a heartfelt sentiment can bring a smile to our face because we know that someone is thinking of us, the danger is that if we are reliant on texts because they are less ‘risky’ than putting ourselves out there and we are in fact using texts as our form of ‘emotional connection’, it will exacerbate any loneliness we already feel by increasing that emotional distance.I’ve witnessed a lot of tensions and conflicts between people due to the expectation that they should have got an immediate or fairly swift reply to text messages.When a person perceives a reply to be ‘slow’, it can trigger a spiral of anxiety where they wonder what they did wrong or start berating themselves for not being “good enough”, or they deem the person to be a bad friend or inconsiderate person.Like email, the pressure to reply to texts can have you catering to other people’s priorities.