I’m kind of a people pleaser. I always worry that my friends are mad at me, or that I’ve done or said something wrong that I don’t know about — I also care about my friends deeply, and want to be there for them whenever possible. I also have a limited amount of energy, and sometimes when answering one simple “Hi!” text message turns into a full-on conversation about all the ups and downs in a friend’s life when I’m already exhausted with my own, I just can’t handle it.
That’s why I turned my read receipts on.
Before I had them on, I used to worry that my loved ones would think I was ignoring them if they sent me a message and I didn’t answer immediately, or if we were in the middle of a conversation and then I stopped texting. But this way, they can see if their messages have been delivered but not yet read — they know that I’m genuinely doing something else, and that old excuse of “Oh, I didn’t see it!” actually works for me.
It’s a practice in self-care, as well as a practice in boundaries. It helps me better decide when I’m ready to talk, without feeling the pressure and guilt that I used to feel. I used to feel like I had to be at everyone’s beck and call, which sometimes caused me to resent certain people if I felt like they were taking advantage of my “open door policy.” I like feeling needed; I think most people do, but I also like feeling respected. Some people just don’t have boundaries, however, which is why we have to create them for ourselves.
The thing is, it’s not that I don’t love my friends, or that I don’t want to talk to them — it’s simply that I’m learning that I have to love myself, too, and put myself first sometimes, as I’d want them to do, as well.