You hit send and then wait.
And then you wait, and you wait, and you wait some more.
You put your phone away, distracting yourself with other things, living, and learning, and going about your day as if you never sent that text. But then you casually look at your phone to see if they responded to you.
And when there’s nothing, your heart hurts a little bit. Your feelings hurt a little bit, too.
But you push those feelings of hurt aside. You mute the little voice that tells you that they’re ignoring you or that they don’t care or do not have as much invested in your relationship. And then you do the thing that humans have done far too many times – you romanticize behavior that hurts your feelings.
You tell yourself that they’re just busy, and that they have more on their plate than you do, and that they’re having a hard time juggling it all.
Maybe you even romanticize the behavior by counting the ways your lives are different—they have children and you don’t, they have a spouse and you don’t, that they have a job that takes a tremendous amount of energy out of them and you don’t.
Whatever the excuse you tell yourself, you let that be why you keep texting and pouring energy and love into a relationship that doesn’t give that same amount of love and energy back to you.
You let them use that busyness as a shield so that they don’t have to face the fact that they’re not putting any effort into your relationship or your friendship or whatever it is that binds the two of you together.
And I wish you’d stop doing that.
I wish you’d stop making excuses for the people who cannot even text you back. And we’re not talking about immediate responses here, for it should be a widely held belief that just because everyone has a phone within their grasp doesn’t mean that they’re always entitled to have your attention and your time.
But there is a difference between a busy person and someone who doesn’t put energy or effort into responding promptly.
There is a difference between a person who is trying to cultivate several different relationships and someone who doesn’t even think of you as one.
Being busy is part of life—it’s not something that people get to hold onto as a justification for their lack of attention and interest.
If someone wants to be in your life, they will show up. They will be there for you. They will make their affection for you crystal clear. There are a myriad of ways to be there for our fellow humans in today’s day and age, and responding to a text before a month goes by is the least one can do.
Give people the grace to have space that they need from a screen, but recognize the ones who never seem to manage to show up on yours—those are the texts you might want to stop sending.