In the context of interpersonal relationships, let’s make one thing very clear:
Actions speak louder than words. If a person thinks that you matter in their life, they’re going to answer you. They’re going to get back to you. They will not ignore you.
And if someone doesn’t answer you with words, a text, a phone call, or an email…then they’re giving you a different kind of answer.
A lack of a response is a response.
Unless there was a rare case of an actual emergency, loss of data connection, or simple forgetfulness, most people will get back to you within a reasonable timeframe.
I know in this day and age we tend to have shorter amounts of patience, and it is concerning.
But at the same time, we are also more connected to each other online than before, and more than ever, it’s easy to get a hold of someone through the Internet. It’s not hard to respond back to someone in a timely fashion.
Real emergencies do exist and they happen, but in most cases, if someone doesn’t get back to you within a few days of your attempted contact, they either forgot about what you sent them or they’re deliberately ignoring you.
If this happens once or twice, it’s probably not something to worry about.
However, if this is a regular occurrence, it’s a sign that you need to find someone else who actually cares about your company.
In a time where it’s so easy to reach someone, the biggest reason why someone would not respond to you is that they basically don’t care enough about you to give you a decent amount of attention.
Pick yourself up and move on.
It’s not always an easy pill to swallow, but it’s a necessary one.
When someone blows you off and ignores you, it’s not always a sign that you did anything wrong.
This is why I encourage introspection and self-awareness so much. Regularly self-evaluate and take a look at how your behavior presents yourself and affects others.
It’s not because you have to care about what people think of you all the time, but mostly so you know you’re not being a dick.
So if you’ve been exercising self-awareness and you have absolutely no clue why someone blew you off, consider that maybe you two were just not a good fit for each other, or that there’s something the other person is going through.
Sometimes, being ignored will be a consequence of your actions, and other times it won’t be.
Either way, you have to pick yourself up and move on, and in case it’s the former, figure out what you did wrong and seek to fix the problem to decrease the chances of being ignored in future relationships.
On the other hand…
Giving someone the silent treatment isn’t the answer either.
If someone has cause to ignore you and they fail to raise their concerns to you, you could argue it’s a sign that they lack the emotional maturity to have that difficult conversation with you. Another potential reason is that they don’t care enough about you to have that conversation with you to begin with.
But in most cases, I argue in favor of at the very least letting someone know that you won’t be in their life anymore. Especially when it comes to things like dating and friendships that are no longer what they used to be.
Silence is an answer, but it’s not the most appropriate answer.
For example, if you go on a date with someone but you weren’t really feeling a strong connection with them enough to go on a second date with them, sending a simple “Hey, I appreciate the date the other day, but I don’t think we’re a good fit for each other. Best of luck to you!” text is a lot better than just vanishing and not responding to them.
At least the other person has closure and they know where they stand with you. Leaving them in the dark with silence creates this gap in their mind where they aren’t sure what happened. It’s disrespectful.
So if you’re ever tempted to leave someone on read or to blow them off completely without a word, be mindful of the potential turmoil it could cause them.
Maybe you don’t care enough about them to give a verbal exit, but in most cases, it’s polite to keep someone in the loop, or let them know when they’re out of the loop.