This creates quite a clear communication protocol: The person asking for a date: If you ask for a date, (or have a date cancelled), do not ask again, it’s up to them to suggest an alternative.
Recently I saw this image posted on my Facebook and it got me thinking about my own experiences with not receiving replies to text or Facebook messages.
I think both of these arguments are dismissive and don’t appreciate the complexity of human social interaction.
A quick google of terms like ‘sometimes I forget to reply’, ‘when they don’t text back’ reveal plenty of results and memes about the subject, which suggests that it’s a wide spread experience, and is thus worth theorising about. In online dating, not replying to a first message is the accepted standard that says ‘not interested’.
For the person who’s message isn’t being replied to, it can be difficult to decide how to proceed.
By the nature of a no-reply it can be hard to tell whether: (they see the message, but don’t get around to replying to it and eventually forget, or they remember later but it feels to awkward to reply then).
I’ve found a common dynamic when it comes to dating and friendship is I’ll invite a friend or a romantic interest to spend some time together, and I’ll either get no response from them at all, or I’ll get a some kind of ‘I can’t this week, but maybe next week? While these two responses are distinctly different, what they have in common is that being on the receiving end it can be unclear what the response means, In this post, while I use online dating as an initial vehicle for discussing the dynamics of no-reply and I’m-busy responses.
The more important dynamic I’m really interested in, is these responses from people who you know a bit better.Equally possible though, is that they haven’t replied because they’re simply not interested. It might be tempting to suggest that these kinds of social dynamics simply don’t merit this much thought – an emotionally healthy person will simply forget about it till the next time they consider messaging a person.An alternative phrasing is to suggest that these kinds of dynamics apply to people who ‘playing games’ and that socially mature people communicate honestly and in an upfront manner.It hard to tell whether: can suggest an alternative date.This removes the onus on the person asking, from having to ask, and expose themselves to rejection again.In online dating it’s not necessary to give a ‘I’m busy’ – because not replying can suffice.