Where Did They Go? How To Deal When You’ve Been Left 'On Read'

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Michelle Darrisaw Jun, 12, 2018

It’s something every woman has experienced. You text someone you really like or someone you’re dating, and then all of a sudden everything is upended when you hit send. You find that your message is somehow being ignored. And you know it’s on purpose because bae wasn’t smart enough to disable the read receipts. Congratulations! You’ve just joined the familiar company of people who have been left “on read.”

If you’ve heard the popular phrase but wasn’t quite sure what it really meant, Urban Dictionary defines it as follows: “When you text someone, they see it, but they don’t text back.” Though it can be used interchangeably with the relatively new dating term “ghosting,” there could be legitimate reasons you’ve been temporarily left on read, as opposed to someone just disappearing or never responding to your messages again.

Regardless of which definition applies to your romantic situation, both experiences, without question, suck. Those few minutes or hours trying to determine whether bae lost interest or got distracted doing something else is enough to make even the most confident woman feel a little insecure or anxious. So while you wait in agony, here are a few ways to cope until you get a reply—that’s if you get a response at all. 

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Though social media can make it seem like everyone is available at all times, they’re not. There’s no need to take your message being “seen” and not responded to as a personal insult or to automatically assume it means something negative. If the person you’ve been texting is normally responsive, maybe they got busy, distracted or simply forgot. It happens. No one should feel pressured to respond quickly to each and every text message they receive, especially if the relationship is in the beginning stages. Instead of beating yourself up or getting upset because you didn’t receive an immediate response, think positively. However, if your message is left on read for more than eight hours, then it might be time to start panicking.

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In the midst of being in panic mode, though, don’t keep texting. And please, for everyone’s sake, don’t call. It’s only going to make you come across as overly obsessive, desperate or clingy. Because if bae wasn’t really ignoring you beforehand, they certainly will after receiving back-to-back messages.

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Try reading over the text. Did it really warrant a response or was it a conversation closer? If so, after a few hours, you can always start up a new conversation on a different topic to test the waters. But only after a few hours have passed.

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Find something productive to do that will keep your mind off the unanswered message. Healthy distractions like reading, shopping, hanging out with your BFFs or soaking up some sun outside are great ways to pass the time. Although, we wouldn’t suggest viewing bae’s latest Insta story or mindlessly scrolling through their feed. That’ll only make you feel more miserable.

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No one goes without checking their phone for hours on end. If more than a day has gone by without a reply, all signs point to you not being a priority for this person. Depending on how far along you are in the relationship, you should address your partner’s communication skills (or lack thereof) head on. However, if it’s still fairly new or just a crush, it may be time to move on to the next or just do you.