Self

The Unfortunate Curse Of Being Considerate In The Time Of Text Messaging

Photo: Joy_Studio / Shutterstock  
girl waiting, looking at her phone

In the summer of 1987, my best friend from high school went back to visit her hometown of then Yugoslavia. I missed her immensely.

I scribbled my feelings on stationery paper, in cursive and all.

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I picked out the purple hydrangea from our garden and inserted them into the envelope. 

I decorated the stationery with scratch-and-smell vanilla cupcake stickers. The last touch — applying my mom’s reddest lipstick and kissing the envelope.

I cycled to the post office, half an hour away from our house, licked the stamp, and away it flew.

Every evening, giddy with anticipation, I opened the mailbox, sifting through junk mail.

When the letter arrived, I ripped the envelope, glitter spilling, me giggling, feeling warm and fuzzy. I had waited days for a response, and I was going to soak in as much detail as I could before I wrote my reply. The whole process left me giddy with excitement.

Forward to 2022.

I message my friend on WhatsApp. No response for a day. Then:

My friend: “Hey. What’s up?”

Me: “Hey, just saying hi. How are you doing?”

…2 minutes later…

My friend: “Good. Busy at work, but good. You?”

Me: “Oh, you know, just being a mom, same old.”

…8 minutes later…

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My friend: “Good for you!”

Me: “How’s Thomas?”

…1 minute later…

My friend: “He’s good. Looking for a new job.”

Me: “What kinda job is he looking for?”

…Disappears

We’re all busy. I’m a mom to a 3-year-old boy, for god’s sake. I get it. One can’t expect a response to a message immediately, consistently, or with full attention — all the time. But I do like a text saying that you're going to be busy for a bit instead of waiting all day for a response.

I’m the unfortunate type who cares a whole lot about text messaging etiquette.

My husband doesn’t.

He couldn’t care less if his friends don’t respond or they leave mid-sentence.

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But…how about if that happened face-to-face? Of course, he minds, he says.

Back to me being that unfortunate type who considers text messaging like face-to-face meetings.

I find it super rude to just leave without explanation or to keep the person waiting on the other side mid-conversation.

Am I just an old ‘80s fart?

Perhaps.

Should I become less caring?

Perhaps.

Do I want to?

No.

I live with the unfortunate curse of being considerate in the time of text messaging.

Can y’all relate?

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June Kirri is a freelance journalist and personal essay writer who writes about culture, parenting, and mental health. 

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This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.