Introverts get energy from spending time alone, so constant communication all day long can drain us.
In today’s fast-paced world, text messaging has become the primary mode of communication for many people. Unfortunately, this easier access has become a nightmare for introverts like me — we prefer to think before we “speak,” even if the speaking is in written form. We might take a long time to respond to texts, anywhere from a few hours to a few days.
Before you start questioning me, I want you to know that this behavior is pretty common for many introverts. It’s just the way it is.
However, some people take it personally and wonder why we don’t respond sooner. Really, it has everything to do with me and nothing to do with you.
Here are five reasons why the introverts in your life might not text you back right away.
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5 Reasons Why Introverts Don’t Text Back Right Away
1. They prefer to think before responding.
As I touched on above, as introverts, we are constantly thinking… and overthinking. And this relates to our texting.
Rather than spending time being engaged with the external world, we’re often in our internal world — our heads. Hopefully, the more we ponder our response, the more thorough and genuine it will be. We would hate to respond impulsively, only to regret it later.
2. They’re overstimulated from constant communication (in all forms).
Introverts get energy from being alone, yet are bombarded with constant communication all day long — work emails, texts, phone calls, video calls, office meetings, you name it. Eventually all this social interaction catches up with us and drains our energy. At the end of a long day, texting might be the last thing we have energy for.
Plus, unlike some extroverts, we’re fine disappearing into a book, video game, or other hobby of ours — that doesn’t include our phone. So your text may be sitting there, but we don’t even know it yet. And, speaking of alone time…
3. They don’t want their alone time interrupted.
Ask any introvert, and they will probably agree that their alone time means the world to them. It not only helps us recharge our social battery, but it also gives us time to enjoy our favorite activities. While there may be several reasons we cannot answer your text right now, cherishing our alone time is probably a big one.
However, present-day technology can make it challenging for us to truly be alone. Even without anyone near us, physically, anyone can interrupt our flow of thought with a simple text or phone call. If you’re an introvert, I highly recommend hiding your phone, putting it on silent, or leaving it in Airplane Mode (try it!) until you’re ready to respond.
4. They fear being misunderstood.
Text messages are devoid of nonverbal cues, such as tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language, which can make it difficult to convey emotions and intentions accurately. Because many introverts are great listeners, we like face-to-face interaction so we can pick up on all the nonverbal clues.
Plus, text messages often lack the context that comes with face-to-face or voice conversations. This can result in misunderstandings and embarrassment.
5. Texting is like small talk — text “conversations” often lack depth.
For some people, small talk is a way to connect with others. However, this is not true for introverts. We prefer to have meaningful conversations; this way, we can understand them on a deeper level.
Unfortunately, most text messages are a form of overly-stretched-out small talk. And you have to remember that introverts don’t talk for the sake of talking. Texting that is all small talk will quickly drain us, and we’d rather use our energy for something else.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
5 Ways to Save Your Relationships as Someone Who Doesn’t Text Back Right Away
Like me, if you don’t prioritize texting, the people in your life might get frustrated with you. They might feel anxious and worry that you’re mad at them or you will ghost them. So, to show your friends and family that you really do care about them — even though you don’t enjoy constant texting — try these five things.
1. Communicate your texting preferences.
By being open about your texting preferences, people will see that you taking a while to respond has nothing to do with them. Say something like, “I’m not ignoring you; I just take my time to respond.” Or, “I’m not ignoring you — I only check my phone at certain times in the day, so I’ll write you back in a few hours.”
2. Set aside dedicated time for texting.
Constantly checking our phones for incoming messages can be stressful and disruptive. How are we supposed to get anything done?!
Setting aside a dedicated time for texting — whether it’s 10 minutes a day or an hour — can reduce this stress; that way, we can focus on other things when we are not in texting mode.
3. Use alternative forms of communication.
By choosing the right communication methods for you, you will be more efficient in “talking” to friends. Instead of texting, choose other forms of communication, like phone calls, emails, voice notes. Tell the texter you prefer one of those things, and they will probably respect it and go along with your preference.
4. Respond to important messages promptly.
Not responding to texts right away can cause the person to become frustrated or upset, depending on the circumstance. For example, maybe the text is urgent — their pet is sick or they just broke up with their boyfriend. In that case, I’d recommend calling them as a response.
If you can’t call — perhaps you are at work and headed to a meeting — text them that you cannot talk, you’re in a work meeting, but you’ll call them when you have a break or right after work. That way, they’ll be comforted by the fact that you care and will contact them later.
5. Apologize for being MIA — and explain why.
Offering a genuine explanation for your delayed text can improve your relationships with others, especially if the person is a new friend and doesn’t know you don’t love texting. When we apologize, we express our consideration for the other person’s time and feelings. It can help us repair any potential damage caused by the delay, and hopefully the person will understand. (In fact, they may even be a bit envious that you can ignore texts so easily if they are glued to their phones 24/7!)
Introverts, how do you feel about texting? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
You might like:
- Why Texting Can Be Draining for Introverts
- Dear Extrovert: Why This Introvert Can’t Answer Your Text Right Now
- Why Do Introverts Love Being Alone? Here’s the Science
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