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When I do not text back.

When “there is no room, for the “stuff” outside of just surviving the day.”- Exploring the love of low maintenance friends, and how to go lighter in the world.

By Emma WhitePublished 2 years ago 17 min read
When I do not text back.
Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

“That place where the sun always shines. No storm clouds gather there because it is always a good place to be. " Yvette Ladner

Lessons are often learnt from unusual places. Recently I stumbled across a lesson from a picture I saw on word porn. It was a photo of a text that said, “Hi, Sorry I have not texted you back. Then there were all these lines—line after line that was about why the, person who had written the text had not texted back. Lines filled explaining the hardship this person had endured and why she had not texted back. All the lines are crossed out equaled a paragraph but after they were crossed out, all that is left is;

"Hi, Sorry I have not texted you back, when do you want to catch up?"

The writer had crossed out the lines as she knows she cannot share this information because people do not receive it anyway.

This really got me thinking.

So many times, this is what I do. I wanted to explore this concept of why when I do not text back people have a problem with this, and how their reactions affect me.

All the crossed-out lines in the picture created by Word porn were all sentences based around, the person who had written, them talking about anxiety. Explaining how they are recovering from recently having a panic attack, and not being able to get back to this person they were texting. I may not have panic attacks often now, but they happen from time to time.

But outside of the occasional panic attack, in my life, life still happens, and sometimes it kicks you in the guts. While you are struggling to breathe, here is all this commentary from other people about how disappointing you are. Because people cannot get their heads around the fact, that I have my own life. Sometimes I have a lot going on. But still, they do not get it, "And how dare I do not respond back. " Meanwhile, I am still on the ground, both metaphorically and physically. A lot of the time it is literally sitting on the floor of my kitchen with my cat, trying to process this latest kick in the guts. Trying to get my head together and that is why I am not texting back. You will often find me just sitting there, while my meow has her milk, and I am conversing with her about how to survive in the latest tirade of crazy. Very occasionally I join her in a beverage, and I will have half a glass of wine. Now, I am not condoning drinking, but on occasion I join her. But having people constantly having a go at me, about why I did not text them back, is honestly the last thing I need.

I mean I try to respond back, and I mostly do. But so often, if those responses of mine are not to the time-frame other people would like.

Look out!!!!!

You’re suddenly a horrible person. If I am frank, I am super over this behavior and sick of it. It just makes life harder.

I am not trying to be a bad friend or an unkind person, but sometimes it takes a couple of hours, days, weeks before I remember to text back or get the chance to. Sometimes it is longer depending on the other things going on in my life. However, I am just trying to live my life, and I genuinely care. Unfortunately, life happens, and it might take a bit for me to get back to people.

I don’t get upset when people do not respond back to me, because I know life happens to them. I feel that way about other people and offer them that grace because, man, I wish it was extended to me.

I have lost count of how many times I have received a tongue lashing, or a savage text or message over, why I did not text someone back. There have been days when I have been at the end of my rope, just from a long exhausting hard week. Suddenly I get a phone call or a snide comment about how bad I am, for not answering or not being available. Look I am sorry I am trying to deal with my life.

But this week I am done with sorry for not being available. I am just at that point where if you text and I do not respond, do not expect an apology. I will text you back at some point. But there will be no sorry in that.

Why because I am fed up with this crazy global fashion, where making people feel like they worthless, all because they dare not, text back, or don’t do what we want. If they don’t respond to something that someone else wants. We mistreat people because, God forbid, we are not the center of someone else’s life. So, we think it is OK, to be awful and guilt-trip others. Why, all because they do not text back or meet whatever, expectations we have placed on them. But at the heart of this problem it is because someone else does not measure up to our expectations. Why are we this generation where we believe that it OK, to persecute someone, because they don't do what we want.?

This is just self-entitled borderline narcissism and it must stop. I see clients every day drowning in the expectation of others. A lot of that drowning simply comes from, feeling overwhelmed that they can’t text or call everyone back. When my clients are not responding to other people, those same people are guilt tripping them over that. When actually they are just trying to survive their own mental health battles, and this is extra pressure that they don’t need. It is just so damaging.

So, by dissecting my perspective, and my recent experiences, I found a lot of freedom. So I wrote down all the reasons I have not texted people back, over the last couple of months.

When I do not text back, it is not about you or, whoever it is trying to reach me, it is about me.


When I do not text back it is because I might have had a week, where multiple deaths have occurred, I work in the fields of Aged Care and Mental Health, so actually, that can happen a lot. Especially when you work with the elderly the most vulnerable, and the most common demographic where death is frequent. I do not resent my job, I love it, but sometimes it can be taxing. So, sorry, not sorry for taking a break to collect my head together.

When I do not text back, I might have supported a family, friend, or loved one who has been struggling with depression, or suicidal thoughts. Because I work in the field of Mental health, people come to me a lot, especially outside of my work. Why, because they know I might have the knowledge, to help them or know someone who can. I do not mind helping my loved ones, so sorry, not sorry I need a moment to respond to a person in crisis.

When I do not text you back, I might have experienced another type of significant loss. I might have been unwell. I could even just be exhausted from trying to do everything. You know, trying to prioritize my jobs, family, goals, study, work, clean my house, do commission paintings, finish assignments, read all my emails, cook, drink more water, workout to stay fit and healthy and support or look after people. This list goes on. I might have said no or could not respond, due to the things happening in my life. So sorry, not sorry I am just trying to do all of the things. Like putting on the washing and cooking dinner for my loved ones, and not answering your text messages.

When I do not text back, it is, often because I am in the middle of something and when I get a text. I quickly glance at the text because I am screening to see if this is urgent (like are you bleeding, dying, ect); If it is urgent, I will respond; if it is not urgent, sometimes I will text back then. Sometimes I will keep on doing what I am doing. Sometimes I get distracted by what I am doing and do not get back to people for a while, and that is OK.

I decided to share this brief concept, and my reason above as to why I have not texted people back, on my blog. I got some interesting responses from all sorts of people, all feeling the same way. Feeling like they were on trial for trying to cope with their life and deal with other people’s expectations, and not meeting their requirements. I am just going to focus on not texting back, because with all the responses about not meeting all other people's other expectations. I could write another book with that information alone.

One of the responses I got back was from my beautiful friend Yvette. She is this radiant human with so much love for her fellow man, it is amazing. Honestly, she is someone I look up to very much. We talked about this subject for so long, via text, over Facebook, then finally when we were both free, (notice when we were both free, not expecting some time frame of each other), we called up over the phone and, chatted for like an hour while I was working out on the treadmill.

Yvette had texted me a response to my blog post, that was so very profound I had to share it, and here it is.

“I love this so much. Life is just hard sometimes and there is no room, for the “stuff” outside of just surviving the day. Glad you know when I don’t text back straight away, I will eventually get back to you! I love our solve the world problems, phone calls, when we have them.”

This is so beautiful because this is precisely what our friendship is like. Because it is real and still full of love, but that line “there is no room, for the “stuff” outside of just surviving the day.” This is exactly what myself and all these other people were talking about. Life is full every day. Life is sometimes too full to text everyone back, and we need to be OK with that.

This is why I love Yvette our friendship is easy and carefree. No expectations and that is why I cherish her company so much. This is how we all should, go about life in general when it comes to other people. Not persecuting them to feel bad for not meeting our expectations and not texting us back.

Throughout our conversations via text before being able to ring each other Yvette wrote, the “love of low maintenance friends”. Which I just love so much. We are low maintenance friends that, love each other from a distance because she lives hours away. That was such a relief to read because I felt the pressure from all the other people, complaining about how I do not get back to them, just lift. I am blessed to have good friends like Yvette and a great family. But this is a prime example of how important it is to not be so expecting of other people, and the impact you can have on other people, for the good. Just by her saying that, shows me it’s OK, if I do not text her back. She is not going to put pressure on me. Which I might add was just a breath of fresh air.

I asked her if I could write about this and I was so excited when she said yes.

Yvette went on to share what Low maintenance friends mean to her.

“To me and this is what I came up with, there was so much stuff, but this is the simple version! Low Maintenance friends are those people who have a special spot in your soul, where the sun always shines. No storm clouds gather there because it is always a good place to be. The Doggo’s (she has beautiful dogs they are like my un-biological hairy nephews) live there also” which pretty much sums it up for me. Sunshine and happy with no stress.”

I feel like there is so much we can learn from my beautiful and wise friend. This definition she came up with, for low-maintenance friends is exactly how we should try to do life around everyone. Let us give up this right to think that everyone should be at our beck and call, all the time. Let us replace the expectations with compassion and understanding. Let us just enjoy our interactions with people and give up the expectations. Let us walk through life, being sunshine and a safe place to all.

We all are busy; we all have things going on. We are all fighting battles no one else knows about. Looking after sick loved ones, financially supporting people, looking after children, working, trying to make appointments, trying to take a breath when life is hard, and the list goes on. We do not know what is happening in someone else's world. That is why if someone does not text back, it is OK, and this is exactly why we, should be kind to each other. We need to stop expecting so much from each other and cut each other some slack. Yes, we need to expect that we should treat each other well. But, expecting everyone to be at our beck or call is not one of those things. We are not the center of the universe, and we are not the center of other people's lives. Neither should we be.

Instead of expecting people to respond back to us now, we need to offer grace to people who just cannot do all of the things. Because news flash, none of us are perfect at actually doing all of the things. Most of us get through the day with a to do list, longer than my arm to do, and we are lucky if we get half done. I mean I schedule rest in there to, usually only achieving half the do-to-list, but my life is full.

How can we expect to be the center of someone else’s world, when we ourselves can not get through our to-do-list?

We need to walk kinder in the world. We need to expect less and love more.

Yes, we will all miss the mark, I do that is for sure, but we have to try and keep trying. We must be diligent in becoming OK, without being the center of the universe. Why....because it leads to mental health concerns, it hurts people, spreads mental health onto others, causes stress for others and ourselves.

Expectations only feed and breed insecurity in ourselves and others. It serves no one, it might help me have clients, but I would be so happy to not have a job if there was no need for me. Honestly, I would just paint all day. But I work in mental health because I want to help people. But I am telling you, that this thinking about the world revolving around us. Is something I loathe so much. It does not do anyone any good, it only leaves this trail of disappointment, destruction, and hurt.

Snapping at someone because they did not text you back is, only causing them pain and you to feel awful. Often, I do not defend myself in these circumstances. Because it is not worth it. Most of the time the person giving me a hard time just won’t realize why this is so frustrating.

The other thing I see all the time, is we all need to realize that we are not meant to engage with every fight. Honestly, why should I or anyone else, have to apologize for being a human, living life. Why should we have to say sorry for not texting back due to our life being full.

Not engaging in petty arguments is excellent for my sanity, and I recommend you try it. Often, we will not get to have our say or for our side of the story to be told. As a community, we have to learn to be OK, with that too. Life is not meant to be about fighting all of the time. How can we enjoy life when we are looking for battles everywhere?

Debasish Mridha once said “Some of us are busy doing things; some of us are busy complaining.” This is the truth, we all have things happening in our lives, so you can either enjoy what time you have with people or complain about them. I find I am often less likely to want to continue friendships with people that give me a hard time about why I am busy in my life. As well as, complaining about why they are not the center of my world, as opposed to enjoying my company when they do have it.

We have to be deliberate in being kind, learning to build up our resilience, keep on moving forward, loving other people, and not being the center of the universe. It is about working things out, trying hard, and being kind to one another about how we, each walk-through life. Not being cranky at people because they do not text us back straight away. We need to bring the sun more and not the clouds. Because life is hard enough, without causing issues due to unanswered texts and expectations.

We might also consider that maybe when people do not text back, something else is trying to happen. Maybe when someone does not text back, this is a scenario meant to grow us. Maybe we are being tested to work out our own problems. Maybe we need to address the issues about, why we think people must respond to us straight away. Maybe when people do not text back, we need to consider to ourselves, “that’s OK, something is happening in their life right now, what is the experience teaching me, and if I need help, what other options do I have.”

There is more to life than presuming we should be the center of the universe. On the other side of that is, a world of getting along better, caring more, being more empathetic to someone else’s walk. Take a chance and give up your expectations. Be the sunshine in someone else’s life instead, of another dark cloud, making them feel worse.

Remember when people are unavailable, they are not doing it to be bad people they are doing life as well, and life can be tricky. Replace your unhappiness, from someone not getting back to you, with joy when they do. Because when you start to do this, you are more likely to find they will want to be around you. People will enjoy your company, if you are not giving them a hard time, and you will benefit, from feeling kinder. Instead of sitting around feeling awful for why someone has not texted you back, just be OK, with that.

If by chance people never text you back, and maybe they have pushed you out of their life. That is OK, too. People are aloud to cut what does not suit them in their life. Just as each of us all do the same. Sometimes people move on, and that’s OK. We must be OK, with people living their lives, the way they want too. The same way we want the freedom to live our lives the, way we want too.

So, who would have thought that a simple picture I saw would lead to so much discovery. For me I am not apologizing for not texting back. I am just going to not let that get to me. I am not going to be worried and just be the sunshine. I am going to be encouraging others to let the expectations go, especially around people texting you back.

Let us all let go of expectations in general. Just enjoy life and do life the way it is meant for each of us individually. Embrace the time spent talking, texting, and seeing those you love.

Written by Emma white


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