You know when you text one of your friends or family, and they don’t respond for awhile, and you spend those minutes or hours agonizing about the reason for their silence?
No? Just me?
Okay, I’ll admit that occasionally, when my texts or phone calls go unreturned, my brain goes a tiny bit haywire. Unanswered texts feel a tiny bit like rejection, and like most homo sapiens, the emotion center of my brain doesn’t like this feeling.
So what does it do?
It employs a number of strategies to decrease this icky reaction. First, it tries to distract itself. Then, it attempts to figure out the reason for the lack of response (and this guessing game can go on for quite a while.) If those techniques don’t work, my brain will devise a list of bullshit reasons for why I should try to make contact again.
Here’s an idea of what this internal dialogue looks like:
- They must be busy. No big!
- I HAVE been texting them a lot lately. Maybe I’m being too needy
- Nah, they’re probably just busy. Cooking dinner, maybe. They’ll text when they can.
- Unless they’re mad at me. Didn’t I say something weird to them four days ago? I probably upset them with my strangeness.
- Did they have some sort of big event or task to do tonight? I feel like a better friend would remember these things.
- Perhaps this is their gentle way of letting me know I text them too much. I’ll try to stop.
- Unless maybe I should text them again and ASK if I’m being too clingy? No, don’t do that.
- Just going to casually check to make sure my phone isn’t on silent. We’re good.
- OH MY GOD WHAT IF THEY’RE IN A DITCH SOMEWHERE?!
- They’re probably not in a ditch. There aren’t a lot of ditches around here, anyway. It’s mostly just hills and cliffs.
- Seriously, what if they’re mad at me? I shouldn’t have said that vaguely teasing thing a couple of weeks ago.
- Okay ya little narcissist – not everything is about you. There could be about 100 different reasons why they haven’t responded, and most of them don’t involve you.
- You know what, maybe they were in the bathroom when I texted and they just didn’t hear the phone go off! Maybe they desperately want someone to reach out to them tonight, and have no idea that I tried. I’ll just send another text…
- Wait, what if they’re with another group of friends, and they’re all sitting around laughing about me, and placing bets to see how many times I text them? Well, I won’t give in to that game!
- Dude, get a hold of yourself. They’re probably busy, or maybe they just don’t feel like talking right now. You understand that.
- Think of something else. Think of something else. Think of something else.
- Crocheting is FUN! I’m totally focused on learning this new stitch. In fact, I feel so fulfilled by this activity, I’ve completely forgotten that my loved one is ignoring me!
- You know what, I can’t blame them. This is what I get for being such a clingy weirdo. A clingster. A cling-meister.
- What if this is a test of my friendship? What if they’re feeling really sad, and the lack of response is a challenge to see how hard I’ll try to help them? A really good friend would keep texting until they got an answer, right? Or would they call? Maybe go over to the house?
- That’s it. I need new hobbies. I’m going to make myself SO busy that I don’t even have time to send text messages in the first place.
- Just going to casually check my phone to see if I missed a response. Totally don’t care if there’s not one.
Anyone else occasionally feel this way when a loved one doesn’t answer your phone call or text? (Please tell me I’m not the only one!) What sorts of thoughts do you have when this happens? What do you say to yourself to gain control?