Christina Wolfgram
June 01, 2015 7:00 am

Do emails make you sweat? Does the sound of your phone vibrating give you high blood pressure? Have you all but given up on opening Gchat or Facebook messenger for fear that someone will actually message you?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. You’re experiencing what I like to call “reply anxiety.” Reply anxiety is a lot like social anxiety, except it comes from conversations that happen over the Internet. It can be triggered by so many different situations, from trying to execute the perfect text to a crush, to crafting a fake-grown-up email to your co-worker. Some people suffer from such bad reply anxiety that they would rather ask the Internet to write responses for them than face text messaging alone. Sound familiar?

Here is a list of other times reply anxiety might interfere with your day:

1. When your gmail inbox hits 1,000 unread emails.

And 500 of them are urgent.

2. When your crush texts “What’s up?” 

What’s up? Uh, nothing. Well, actually, a lot of things. Really cool things like watching reruns of Project Runway. I mean, football. I mean your profile pictures. Wait, what?
3. The worst: When you realize you only replied to a text in your head.

And for some reason, you jump to the (logical) conclusion that all of your friends now hate you.

4. Oh, and how about when you have a missed call from an unknown number?

Nope, nope, nope. It could be a tax collector. Or a ghost. Not calling that number back, no way.

5. When it’s Monday and you haven’t checked your email since Friday.

So you contemplate calling in sick just so you can catch up.
6. When you accidentally spend an entire afternoon trying to decide whether to sign an email with “sincerely” or “all the best.”

But then you go with “thanks,” and immediately regret it.

7. When you can’t remember whether or not you hit “reply all.”

Did every single person in my office see the convo between me and my work BFF about the new Magic Mike movie?

8. When it takes you a little longer than usual to reply to a text …

9. … And then your friend texts you again.

“Hey did you get my last text?” Um, yes, and now I am curled up in a ball, hyperventilating.
10. When you see you have more email drafts than Facebook friends.

Because you have to take breaks from writing stressful emails so often that your drafts folder is pretty much constantly at capacity.

11. When you try really hard to sound professional in an email to your boss, but instead you sound like Shakespeare’s dumb younger brother.

Dearest Sir or Madame, I relay inquiries regarding the latest project. Would thou preferest font as blue as the blue jay’s tail or font as red as a crisp autumn apple? In Unending Gratitude, Your Beloved Servant … P.S. Did you try any of the donuts in the breakroom? They’re life-changing.

12. When you send an email and then immediately see there was a typo.

N0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o! Spell check, you have failed me!

13. When you ignore a group message for more than an hour.

And you’re not even sure which parts of the conversation to try replying to.

14. When people expect you to make big decisions over text.

These range from, “What do you want for dinner?” to “Do you think of me as more than a friend?”

15. When an ex texts you out of the blue and no friends are around to give you advice.

And you are two seconds away from stopping a stranger on the street to ask if you should reply or not.
16. When your BFF makes a joke over Gchat and you can’t think of a creative way to respond.

Because LOL doesn’t really cover it.

17. When you remember that Facebook Messenger has time stamps.

So people can see that you’ve read their messages but not replied yet. Cue cold sweats and heart palpitations.

Reply anxiety is A THING. Luckily, it’s not like our jobs and relationships totally depend on our ability to respond to electronic messages quickly and efficiently.

Ha. Just kidding.

If you are overwhelmed by reply anxiety, take a deep breath. Try meditating or going for a quick walk to calm your nerves. And if all else fails, take a page from Ron Swanson’s book …

In the meantime, we’re here for ya.

(Images via here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, herehere, and here.)

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