What does it mean?

We?ve all been there. We notice the exact moment our last text is marked ?read? and subsequently every moment for the next 6 hours (or more) that it goes unanswered.

There?s nothing quite like the letdown of a text being ?left on read? when you?re in the beginning phases of dating. It?s non-confrontational and ambiguous, causing the sender to ruminate over whether the receiver is just busy or trying to give them the slip.

I?m not saying you must get back to someone within 5 minutes of them texting you. I do think, however, when you?re intentionally dating someone, getting back to them within a one-to-two hour window after reading their text seems fair.

If you?re familiar with the sickening feeling that accompanies a read receipt after you?ve put yourself out there, you know just how much it stings.

Most of us will go through all the reasons why the person didn?t reply, letting our minds runs amok with stress and confusion. But in my experience, being left of read can mean three things:

Reason no. 1: They?re actually really busy

Some people are genuinely very busy and barely look at their phones during the work day for professional reasons. They might wait to reply after work when they?re able to devote more attention to communicating with you.

Take note of the times they typically text the most. If they engage in conversation and reply quickly after work hours, they probably just prioritize their time according to their work schedule and other commitments. If they?re intentional with their time at work, that intentionality with carry over in the way they communicate with you.

Reason no. 2: They?re just not eager to get back to you

If you really like someone and they text you, do you really just look at your phone and say ?eh, I?ll respond to this later.? No! When you really like someone you?re grinning ear to ear and you can?t wait to reply. You?re excited to talk to them!

This is a key component to remember when being left of read. We make up endless excuses for why the other person hasn?t replied for 5 hours, but sometimes we simply have to ask ourselves if the effort and interest is equal.

In this day-in-age, there?s rarely a time we?re not on our phones. Millennials are constantly checking messages, Instagram, twitter, etc., so if we?re left on read, it usually means our message isn?t a priority to the person we?re texting.

If they?re taking hours or days to get back to you, it says a lot about their level of interest in you.

Reason no. 3: They want you to know they?re not interested

Lastly, a text left on read can simply be a passive aggressive form of rejection. Yes, it?s a bit lazy and can feel somewhat cruel if you?ve already established mutual interest or even commitment, but leaving a message ?on read? is the non-confrontational method of ?letting someone down easy.? Unfortunately, not responding is commonly done to get across the message of disinterest.

What you should do

Even though it?s an artificial means of communication, texting someone you like requires an element of vulnerability. With every text, you?re putting yourself out there by expressing your continued interest, hoping they?ll reciprocate.

If they don?t reciprocate, remember not to panic. The natural first reaction is embarrassment, but don?t beat yourself up for taking a risk and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is crucial for any future healthy relationship, so don?t teach yourself to be closed off to avoid pain.

Know that their lack of a response isn?t a reflection of your lovability. Your worth doesn?t change based on someone?s romantic interest in you.

Oftentimes when someone begins to distance themselves from us, we begin to overcompensate or we start playing games to maintain their affection. We start ignoring our own standards to try to win their affection when they don?t deserve our time or emotion.

If their responses are short and make no effort to continue communication, respond accordingly. Don?t go 90% when they?re only going 10%.

Bottom line is, if you?re wondering if this person likes you or not and they?re making it really confusing for you by leaving you on read, they probably either don?t like you or they don?t like you enough.

Once attraction isn?t mutual and effort isn?t equal, drop it like a hot tamale.

If they?re taking hours or days to reply, remind yourself that you deserve someone who actually wants to talk to you.

The right person won?t have you reading into the silence between texts. The right person won?t make you wonder if you?ll hear from them at all that day. The right person won?t make you feel like you have to prove you?re worth talking to.

You won?t have to wonder if they like you ? you will know because they will make it clear.

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