When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, I had a friend who spent her summers in Tennessee with her dad. She’d write me letters to stay in touch in the pre-AOL AIM era. I’d give myself like a C+ for my pen pal skills then — it would take me forever to respond, but when I did it was looong and heartfelt. But because it took an eternity for me to put pen to paper, I had this looming, unwritten letter hanging over my head until I’d finally drop in in the mailbox.
This totally carries through to my present-day texting skills. I’m either on it…or I’m really, really not. I’m especially slow-to-return-the-text if the incoming one is super long, has more than one question, or requires me to check my calendar.
And THEN. If I don’t respond in a timely manner, but I’m with my kids and snap a cute pic and post it? I feel like MJ in the meme below:
Source: Somewhere on the Internet
In a world where we’re constantly connected, do we need to place expectations on ourselves to respond in a timely fashion to texts?
I checked in with media personality, lifestyle coach and licensed psychotherapist, Stacy Kaiser, for her take on why it’s easier to make a quick post on social media than it sometimes is to reply to someone’s text.
“When we post on social media it is more thought broadcasting than anything else. [W]e can just say what is on our minds and choose whether or not to deal with other peoples’ responses. Texting is more of a give-and-take, and for some people that requires more energy because we are literally interacting with another person instead of just saying what is on our mind.”
OMGGGG, that totally makes sense. It takes so much more energy to respond to a text than to like someone’s pic of their grilled cheese sandwich and comment “yum!”
I can’t say there’s any one way to handle a lingering text or email. We’ve all been on both sides, and if the intention is good, it’s allllll good. Have compassion for yourself when you don’t have the energy. Do it when you can. With what you can. And go ahead and like that post about the grilled cheese. BC that’s a different kind of energy, ya’ll.