How It Became Normal to Ignore Texts and Emails

Excerpt from this article:

While you may know, rationally, that there are plenty of good reasons for someone not to respond to a text or an email—they’re busy, they haven’t seen the message yet, they’re thinking about what they want to say—it doesn’t always feel that way in a society where everyone seems to be on their smartphone all the time. A Pew survey found that 90 percent of cellphone owners “frequently” carry their phone with them, and 76 percent say they turn their phone off “rarely” or “never.” In one small 2015 study, young adults checked their phones an average of 85 times a day. Combine that with the increasing social acceptability of using your smartphone when you’re with other people, and it’s reasonable to expect that it probably doesn’t take that long for a recipient to see any given message.

As Deborah Tannen, a linguist at Georgetown University, wrote in The Atlantic, the signals that are sent by how people communicate online—the “metamessages” that accompany the literal messages—can easily be misinterpreted…

Features intended to add clarity—like read receipts or the little bubble with the ellipses in iMessage that tells you when someone is typing (which is apparently called the “typing awareness indicator”)—often just cause more anxiety, by offering definitive evidence for when someone is ignoring you or started to reply only to put it off longer.

Advertisements

Breadcrumbing, ghosting and stealthing: how cutesy words hide some pretty f****d up dating practices

Excerpt from this article:

Millennials are often characterised as flaky, indecisive and incapable of committing: a stereotype as pervasive as it is inaccurate. But when it comes to dating, when we’re surrounded by a seemingly endless array of pixelated options, this phenomenon is an example of our evolutionary instincts smashing head on into modern dating culture. We string people along; we chop and change and go hot and cold; and then suddenly disappear into the digital ether, with an unmatch or an unfriend, only to resurface when we like their latest Instagram — and potentially completely piss them off in the process.

Meet Tumblr’s 15-Year-Old Secret Keeper

Excerpt from this article:

On the Internet, the word “heartbreaking” is often used as a device to get us to click and gawk at remarkable tales of loss — the bride left at the altar, the long-lost family pet. On The Last Message Received Tumblr, the heartbreak doesn’t really need a headline to sell itself.

The sorrow appears in a scrolling cascade of text bubbles that contain both small slights, such as being ghosted inexplicably, and huge loss, like losing a parent. It’s hard to look away because the blog is full of stark endings, the kind of sadness that won’t happen to you until happens to you.

The Last Message Received is actually the successor to an even more popular project the teenager created this year: On Dear My Blank, more than 17,000 people have asked her to post anonymous letters that they will never send. Just like on The Last Message Received, notes on Dear My Blank are mostly about loss.

The letters are to crushes, parents and ex-lovers, and Emily receives up to 100 of them a day.

 

The Five Stages of Ghosting Grief

Illustration by Brian Rea

Excerpt from this Modern Love column from this past weekend’s Sunday New York Times:

At 6:30 a.m. I was blow-drying my hair, getting ready for work and accepting the demise of my two-week relationship. The nail in the coffin was that at 10 the night before I had texted him something vaguely sexual, and he hadn’t texted back.

The morning had become a quick but emotionally turbulent journey through the five stages of grief.

First: denial. It was entirely possible he hadn’t seen the text. He could have been in a deep sleep. He could have dropped his phone in the toilet. He could have died! Any of these options were comforting.

I didn’t care if he was a non-texter — and what does that even mean in this day and age? If you’re a 20-something urban professional who doesn’t text, you’re pretty much impossible to be friends with. For a friendship to exist in 2015, people need to know they can text “ugh I love oysterrrrs” at 2:15 p.m. on a Friday and get a response by 2:30.

Of course, there would be pathetically little at stake if he failed to reply to a Friday afternoon “ugh I love oysterrrrs” text. But this was my first flirtatious text after our first physical encounter. By not responding, he was essentially shouting into the universe, “You are overly sexual, way too forward and deeply unattractive to me.”

 

 

Exes Explain Ghosting, the Ultimate Silent Treatment

Sean Penn and Charlize Theron during happier times. Credit Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Excerpt from this article:

Whether this behavior has become more predominant with the advent of technology is debatable, but perhaps now it stings more, since there are so many ways to see your beloved interacting with other people while ignoring you. The rise of apps like Tinder and Grindr, and the impression they give that there is always someone else — literally — around the corner, is certainly empowering to ghosts.

Anna Sale, 34, the host and managing editor of the WNYC podcast “Death, Sex & Money,” believes that social media enables the avoidance of difficult conversations. “As people have gotten less and less comfortable talking face to face about hard things, it’s become easier to move on, let time pass and forget to tell the person you’re breaking up with them,” she said.