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Waiting by the Phone This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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By definition, whenever a text message is sent, there is a sender waiting for a response. And there is a recipient, who most likely has the thumbs required to respond. But sometimes a response never comes. And we response-­waiters are left wondering.

You can actually pinpoint the day the first text was ignored; it happens to be the day texting was invented. On that fateful day, Dylan sent a text asking Rachel “What did you have for lunch?” To this day, he still doesn't know.

Was this too personal a question after meeting Rachel only the day before? Did she just forget? Did she fall into a manhole on the way home?

Lest you non-responders deny the torture you put response-waiters through, pay attention to the poor souls around you, staring at their phones. Note our glum expressions.

We look devastated.

Sometimes we even look as if we are giving serious thought to swallowing our phones whole. You see us staring into space, remembering what life was like when our favorite non-­responder used to respond. Then we come back to reality and check our messages, which we just refreshed four seconds ago. Then we text our true friends, who will respond to our distress with sad, crying emojis. The same emojis we use when we find out someone has to put his or her cat to sleep.

We response-waiters are forced to go through all this suffering while you may be at work, walking your dog, or actually denying our existence.

But why? Why do you put us through all the anticipation and questioning? There must be some explanation why you woauld inflict this suffering.

You might say, “Some people don't freak out when I don't respond to them.” Point taken. But some people don't freak out when they are attacked by killer bees. Chances are you are not ignoring one of those people.

Then there are you non-responders with your “read” notifiers on. Are you trying to torture us by making sure we know you read our message? Taking away our only solace in the possibility that your phone may have been run over by a Segway? We know you read it! It says, “Read at 7:08 p.m.” Why would you read it and then not respond? Do you hate us? Did you get distracted by a box of cookies? Do you have a case of thumbitis? Do you really hate us? Can't you see how your failure to respond is driving us crazy?

Then, when we cannot possibly wait any longer, we ask ourselves: to double-text or not to ­double-text?

Maybe your non-responsive friend just needs a little nudge. Maybe they forgot you texted them. Maybe they need a more exciting text to spark their interest. But what if they don't respond again? That would be the ­ultimate blow.

Consider this texting scenario:

November 21, 2013 11:17 p.m.

-I've been okay! So busy … I'm so excited to go home! How are you?

November 24, 2013 1:14 p.m.

-What are you doing tonight?!

November 26, 2013 10:30 p.m.

-Hi! I have fun ideas if you want to hang out tomorrow :)

Why didn't the recipient respond? Was the smiley face too much? Could “fun ideas” be misinterpreted as sexual? Did I want it to be? Does the non-responder hate me? Was his phone actually run over by a Segway?

He must be dead. I hope he is dead.

Do you see the self-doubt and anxiety you create by not taking one minute to respond?

Non-responders, it doesn't have to be this way; you can make our lives easier. Consider this a plea on behalf of all response-waiters. Next time you get a text, respond. Just a short message will do. Go ahead and get a little lengthy if you really want to protect our fragile feelings.

But please, please stop ignoring
us.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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nomistoo said...
today at 1:50 pm:
I am always the person who doesn't respond! I hate when people do it to me, but my phone is not that big of a part of my life. 
 
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