This Is Why Your Friend Doesn’t Text You Back, According to Experts
Keep these three reasons in mind the next time your friend "ignores" you.
Everyone seems to be on their phone 24/7. So when a friend doesn’t text back right away, it can be really hard not to take it personally. It’s easy to think, “Oh, they must be mad at me,” or “I probably did something wrong.” But in reality, the explanation is often much simpler, Amanda Fludd, LCSW-R, CCTP, CDBT, a psychotherapist, tells HelloGiggles.
Our minds tend to focus on the worst case, zombie-apocalypse explanations for things, she says. So if you feel yourself going down this road, try to set aside whatever story you’ve conjured up in your head and do something positive instead.
“Maybe reach out to another friend, listen to some music, catch up on your favorite show, [or] take a few slow, deep breaths,” Fludd says.
But most of all, remember: If a friend takes forever to text back, chances are it’s because of one of the reasons listed below—and nothing more than that.
Reasons for not texting back:
1. They forgot to hit send.
If your friend is normally pretty quick to respond, or if you see they’re active on social media and thus clearly on their phone, consider this as a possible explanation.
“It happens more than you know,” Nicole Sbordone, LCSW, an author and licensed clinical social worker, tells HelloGiggles. They probably saw your text, started to write back, then got distracted and didn’t hit send.
You might even see their little “typing awareness indicator” blinking away. In that case, give it time. They’ll get back to you soon.
2. Texts overwhelm them.
For most folks, getting a text is like a hit of dopamine. It’s exciting to chat and keep a convo going. But for others, a bunch of texts rolling in is nothing short of a nightmare.
As certified friendship coach Danielle Bayard Jackson says, when someone thinks texting is boring, time-consuming, or even overwhelming, they’re way more likely to turn their phone facedown and not respond till they’re fully ready.
If this describes your friend, it’ll help to adjust your expectations. They might text back in a day or in a week, and that’s okay.
3. They’re bad at texting.
When someone says they’re “bad at texting,” it really could mean anything. But more often than not, it means they have a busy schedule, they don’t prioritize their phone, and/or they don’t view texting as the best way to communicate.
So ask yourself a few questions. Is your friend someone who’s always down to FaceTime? Then one call a week may be your go-to way to get in touch instead of lots of little texts. Do you know that they have a stressful job and often fall asleep the second they get home? Then say something like, “Can’t wait to catch up!” and try again on the weekend.
It’s tough. As Jackson says, delayed responses can make you feel “overlooked and unappreciated,” and there’s nothing fun about that. But there’s a lot to consider before assuming the worst—or even moving on from a friendship that doesn’t seem to be working.
If it only happens on occasion, Jackson recommends being patient. But if you’ve noticed a pattern, let your friend know how their texting habits make you feel. That way, you can talk about the best ways to communicate going forward so that you aren’t constantly left on read.