After inviting a good friend of 15 years to accompany me to a summer music festival in Chicago, he said he would think about it and get back to me.

Several days had passed when I saw him again. I completely forgot to ask him about whether he had decided to go.

So I texted him simply: “I 4got 2 ax u lst nite, whts ur vrdct on the fstval?”.

Two full days pass; there is no reply.

I text again: “Hv u made decision on ths [the festival] yet?”

Several more days pass, and there’s still no reply.

I finally decide to use the good old-fashioned way of communicating and straight-up stone call his ass.

“Hey,” he picks up and says curtly, “Can I call you back?”

“Sure,” I say.

He does not call back.

The next day I text him: “I take it by ur not 1st, not 2nd, but 3rd non-reply tht u simply dnt wnt 2 talk abt it [the festival]. Thts cool. I am prbly going 4 th whle thng & wil assume u r not coming.”

Again, he does not reply.

All four attempts to communicate with this friend of mine has resulted in no reply at all.

It’s the first time I’ve encountered such an cold, one-sided interaction, as if my long-standing friend of 15 years simply did not exist when it came to the subject of festivals and his possible attendance with me to it.

With each successive message sent, a corresponding anger grew in the fragile part of my psyche, imagining scenarios as to why on the other side of my text messages, each one more perturbed and distorted than the one before.

We’ve since seen one another numerous times, and not once have we mentioned this. It’s as if I never asked him nor sent him these text messages. This part of our friendship has been completely erased from our collective memory.

Another example: I recently went on a date with a girl.

The date seemed to go well, and we kissed at the end of the night, vaguely making plans for sometime in the future when we both weren’t busy.

A whole week passed (I went to another music festival and moved houses), I emailed her, and after five or six days without a reply, I began to think the whole experience an aberration, a figment of my imagination in which no stock should be placed.

Surprisingly, the next day she replied, saying that she had had a really busy week but was happy to be back in town after a conference all last week out of town. She finally suggested that we get together soon.

I replied via text two days later during midweek, deferring the potential reunion time to her.

She did not reply.

Two days later, on Friday, I sent her another text asking her to describe her week in three adjectives.

No reply.

All of this forcefully brings about the realization that there is a standard, tacit protocol to messaging (both text and email), and when it is not met, a sender feels snubbed, slighted and generally pissed on.

(Or at least I do.)

Below are a few cursory observations regarding this standard protocol that I culled from these experiences.

Feel free to add.

If a person answers your text message immediately, they are either really bored, not busy or overly eager, none of these a particularly positive way to be viewed by the receiver of your message.

In the case of a romantic interest, immediately answering can be a positive or negative action, depending on which party you are and whether or not you want replied to quickly. So, if you like someone, you text them and they reply within five minutes — this can be a great sign, or, if the tables are turned, it can be undesirable, possibly disastrous because over-eagerness is unbecoming and many times viewed as tantamount to desperation.

If a person answers hours later, it means they were either busy or want to come off busy, but it also means your message was not placed on some sort of immediate priority, and therefore, neither are you. It’s best to back off, cool your jets, let the ball linger in their court for a while, see what the next possible moves that can be made are and act accordingly.

When a person does not reply at all, it means they do want to communicate with you anymore, period.

F off, A hole.

These two instances illuminate yet another aspect of the ultra-fragmented nature of contemporary life: an unfinished conversation, hacked off into oblivion; an expectant response never retrieved; an expectation lowered; a disrespectful-yet-ever-increasing way to treat fellow persons; an absent goodbye lost forever in the indifference of technology.

Fitness equipment
Nutritious food
The recipe
markets
Motor car
Real estate
Motor car
Science and technology
Street fashion
Big data
Fashion show
Small tools
The recipe
A bad girl
catering
health
outdoors
Reduce weight
science
stretch
training
Street fashion
The recipe
Fitness equipment
Nutritious food
Classic cars
Classic cars
Fashion magazine
Fashion show
Female models
health
Small tools
The recipe
Motor car
Science and technology
Lose weight
Reduce weight
A bad girl
Small tools
Street fashion
The recipe
Motor car
Real estate
Fitness equipment
Nutritious food
The recipe
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Real estate
technique
animation
car
games
Motor car
movies
music
news
Science and technology
tutorial
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Street fashion
travel
Big data
business
Fashion show
fitness
health
lifestyle
Small tools
The recipe
A bad girl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
catering
health
outdoors
Reduce weight
science
stretch
training
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Street fashion
travel
art
health
music
photography
sports
The recipe
tourism
travel
Fitness equipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritious food
routine
training
video
video
Classic cars
evaluation
technique
transact
Classic cars
technique
transact
business
Fashion magazine
Fashion show
Female models
fitness
health
lifestyle
Small tools
The recipe
travel
animation
car
games
Motor car
movies
music
news
Science and technology
tutorial
catering
health
Lose weight
outdoors
Reduce weight
science
stretch
training
A bad girl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
business
fashion
fitness
health
lifestyle
news
Small tools
Street fashion
The recipe
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motor car
Real estate
technique
Fitness equipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritious food
routine
training
video
Yoga
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
The recipe
tourism
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motor car
Real estate
technique
animation
car
games
Motor car
movies
music
news
Science and technology
tutorial
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Street fashion
travel
Big data
business
Fashion show
fitness
health
lifestyle
Small tools
The recipe
A bad girl
Reduce weight
Street fashion
health
The recipe
Fitness equipment
Nutritious food
Classic cars
Classic cars
Fashion magazine
Small tools
The recipe
Motor car
Science and technology
Lose weight
Reduce weight
A bad girl
catering
outdoors
Reduce weight
science
stretch
training
Street fashion
The recipe
Fitness equipment
Nutritious food
Classic cars
evaluation
technique
transact
Classic cars
technique
transact
business
Fashion magazine
Fashion show
Female models
fitness
health
lifestyle
Small tools
The recipe
travel
animation
car
games
Motor car
movies
music
news
Science and technology
tutorial
catering
health
Lose weight
outdoors
Reduce weight
science
stretch
training
A bad girl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex

business
fashion
fitness
health
lifestyle
news
Small tools
Street fashion
The recipe
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motor car
Real estate
technique
Fitness equipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritious food
routine
training
video
Yoga
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
The recipe
tourism
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motor car
Real estate
technique
animation
car
movies
music
news
Science and technology
tutorial
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Street fashion
travel
Big data
business
Fashion show
fitness
health
lifestyle
Small tools
The recipe
A bad girl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
catering
health
outdoors
Reduce weight
science
stretch
training
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine </a
news
sports
Street fashion
travel
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
The recipe
tourism
travel
hygiene
invest
markets
medical
Motor car
Real estate
technique
animation
car
games
Motor car
movies
music
news </a
Science and technology
tutorial
business
Street fashion
Big data
Fashion show
Small tools
The recipe
A bad girl
Reduce weight
Street fashion
The recipe
Fitness equipment
Nutritious food
Classic cars
Classic cars
technique
transact
Fashion magazine
Fashion show
Female models
Small tools
The recipe
Motor car
Science and technology
Lose weight
Reduce weight
A bad girl
Small tools
Street fashion
The recipe
Motor car
Real estate </a
Fitness equipment
Nutritious food
The recipe
Motor car
Real estate
Motor car
Science and technology
Street fashion
Big data
Fashion show
Small tools </a
The recipe
A bad girl
Reduce weight
Street fashion
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
The recipe
tourism
travel
Fitness equipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritious food </a
routine
training
video
Yoga
Classic cars
evaluation
technique
transact
Classic cars
technique
transact
business
Fashion magazine
Fashion show
Female models
fitness
health
lifestyle
Small tools
The recipe
travel
Motor car
Science and technology
Lose weight
Reduce weight
A bad girl
Reduce weight
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
magazine
news
sports
Street fashion
travel
The recipe
Fitness equipment
Nutritious food
Classic cars
Classic cars
Fashion magazine
Fashion show
Female models
Small tools
The recipe
Motor car
Science and technology
Lose weight
Reduce weight </a
A bad girl
Small tools
Street fashion
The recipe
Motor car
Real estate
Fitness equipment
Nutritious food
The recipe
Real estate
Motor car
Science and technology
tutorial
Street fashion
Big data
Fashion show
Small tools
A bad girl
appetite
attitude
rendezvous
catering
catering
Reduce weight
training
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
magazine
news
sports
Street fashion
travel
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
The recipe
tourism
travel
Fitness equipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritious food
routine
training
video
Yoga
Classic cars
evaluation
technique
transact
Classic cars
technique
transact
business
Fashion magazine
Fashion show
Female models
fitness
health
lifestyle
Small tools
The recipe
travel
animation
car
games
Motor car
movies
music
news
Science and technology
tutorial
catering
health
Lose weight
outdoors
Reduce weight
science
stretch
training
A bad girl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
business
fashion
fitness
health
lifestyle
news
Small tools
Street fashion
The recipe
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motor car
Real estate
technique
Fitness equipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritious food
routine
training
video
Yoga
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
The recipe
tourism
travel
hygiene
industry
markets
medical
Motor car
Real estate
technique
Fitness equipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritious food
routine
training
video
Yoga
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
The recipe
tourism
travel
animation
car
games
Motor car
movies
music
news
Science and technology
tutorial
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Street fashion
travel
Big data </a
business
Fashion show
fitness
health
lifestyle
Small tools
The recipe
A bad girl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
catering
health
Yoga
Classic cars
evaluation
technique
transact
Classic cars
technique
transact
business
Fashion magazine
Fashion show
Female models
fitness
health
lifestyle
Small tools
The recipe
travel
hygiene
markets
medical
Motor car
Real estate
animation
Motor car
Science and technology
tutorial
Street fashion
Big data
Fashion show
Small tools
The recipe
A bad girl
Reduce weight
Street fashion
Fitness equipment
Nutritious food
Classic cars
Classic cars
Fashion magazine
Fashion show
Female models
Small tools
The recipe
Motor car
Science and technology
catering
health
Lose weight
outdoors
Reduce weight
science
stretch
training
A bad girl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
business
fashion
fitness </a
health
lifestyle
news
Small tools
Street fashion
The recipe
travel
Motor car
Real estate
Fitness equipment
Nutritious food
hygiene
Motor car
Real estate
Motor car
Science and technology
Street fashion
Big data
Fashion show
Small tools
The recipe
A bad girl <
Reduce weight
Street fashion
Fitness equipment
fitness
nutrition
Nutritious food
routine
training
video
Yoga
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
The recipe
tourism
travel
hygiene
industry
invest
markets
medical
Motor car
Real estate
technique
animation
car
games
Motor car
movies
music
news
Science and technology
tutorial
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Street fashion
travel
Big data
business
Fashion show
fitness
health
lifestyle
Small tools
The recipe
A bad girl
appetite
attitude
movies
rendezvous
sex
toys
catering
health
outdoors
Reduce weight
science
stretch
training
business
cookbook
fashion
fitness
health
magazine
news
sports
Street fashion
travel
art
fashion
health
music
photography
sports
The recipe
tourism
travel
Fitness equipment
routine
training
video
Yoga
Classic cars
evaluation
technique
transact
Classic cars
technique
transact
business
Fashion magazine
Fashion show
Female models
fitness
health
lifestyle
Small tools
The recipe
travel
animation
car
games
Motor car
movies
music
news
Science and technology
tutorial

TAGS: , , , , , , , , ,

KIP TOBIN's real name is Stephen Christopher Tobin, but no one really calls him that, not even his mom. His favorite letter is "i", which is also one his least favorite words; his favorite words tend to include euphonious consonants like Ls and Rs and Ss, such as surly luscious allure. He relocated to middle America last year. He writes fiction and nonfiction but will not tweet. He's currently working on his doctorate in Latin American Literatures and Cultures, studying the intersection of the body, vision and media in contemporary Hispanic Science Fiction . If asked, he will tell you that S. Gautauma pretty much summed 'er all up when he said: All things are transient. Work out your own salvation. He's constantly in that latter process, all the while trying to become as present and aware as he possibly can in this world of simulacra and simulations. You can leave a message on the board here and he will try to get to back with you. His alter ego sometimes posts music mixes on Tip Robin's Mega Maxi Music Mix Mash (tiprobin.blogspot.com), which is unsearchable on the internet and something of a micro, gotta-be-in-the-know phenomenon. He's no longer a part of the social networking revolution. The revolution, it seems, will not be televised but rather streamed, and he hopes he's not watching it. He wishes everyone good luck whenever he can. Good luck.

112 responses to “Brief Middlebrow Realizations of Post-postmodernity #1: The Psychology of Messaging”

  1. Matt says:

    Same thing happened to me recently. Had what I thought was a date set up, she seemed eager about & set she’d text me to finalize the arrangements….and then radio silence.

    This is why, as a general rule, I do not rely on texting for holding important conversations. I call, and leave voicemails where applicable. I’m inclined to think–due to an utterly unscientific personal theory–that the sound of a human voice is more likely to prompt a reply of some sort rather than little words on a screen. It’s just a slight bit more personal.

    Alas, this is sometimes thwarted by growing trends. All of my friends of about 25 or so seem to rely exclusively on texting, to the point where if I call them they’ll reply by text, sometimes immediately after I’ve called. Drives me batty.

    • Becky says:

      I’m one of those people who calls back without listening to voicemails.

      “Hey what’s up?”

      “Did you listen to my voicemail?”

      “No. I had [some excuse], so I just thought I’d call you back. What’s going on?”

      Pretty much, I just roll with it. If a person calls me, I call back. If they text me, I maybe text back, depending on circumstances.

      I’ll listen to voicemails if I want to determine how urgent it is that I call someone back.

      Best bet with me is just to call and leave no voicemail, in which case my curiosity will prompt a swift return call.

      Am I a phone jerk? I also forget to turn my ringer on half the time, so in my own defense, I probably don’t even know you called/texted.

      • Becky says:

        Not YOU you, but the universal “other person.”

      • Sarah says:

        I don’t leave voicemails. I’m calling because I want to talk to you. If I call and you don’t answer, you will see that I called. Call me back please. I know I bitched about my parents below but another pet peeve of mine that they’re always guilty of is the following:

        Home phone voicemail message: Hi, Sarah. It’s your dad. (No shit!) I was just calling to say hi but I guess you’re not home. Maybe I’ll try your cell phone. If I don’t get you on your cell phone just give me a call when you have a chance. Bye.”

        Then he calls my cell. So I talk to him then when I get home have to listen to his message. I work from home. I’m almost always home. If I don’t answer my house phone I’m either chasing a naked baby into a bathtub or I’m out running errands. Either way, I’m not really in a chat for the hell of it mood so if you don’t catch me at home, don’t call my cell too.

        • Becky says:

          We don’t have a house phone. It was redundant. We had Vonage for a while, but we never checked the messages, since that required turning on the computer and going to a special website just to find out our mothers had called again, so we ended up telling people, “If we don’t answer at the house, call our cells. If you leave a message at the house, we’ll never hear it.”

          Since we were almost never home and our house phone broke in rather short order, we abandoned the whole operation.

        • Sarah says:

          I have to have a land line for work. The mistake I made then was giving out the number. When I moved in January I had it installed and programmed the number into my cell phone and haven’t looked at it since. No one knows it. If the phone rings it’s either a telemarketer or an old bill collector who’s tracked me down. Either way, the ringer stays off.

        • Becky says:

          Earlier, the husband needed it for faxing stuff. That was part of it. But now he has a sprinty scanner, so he emails PDFs.

          The digital age is upon us, like it or not.

        • Kip Tobin says:

          Becky and Sarah,

          It seems like you have it all kind of worked out, or are at least working toward working it out.

          I’ve decided I don’t like many aspects of the digital age, and I deal I’m slowly disentangling myself from it as much as I can (and no longer of Fbook and have never Twittled).

          Thanks for the thoughts.

          Kip

        • Richard Cox says:

          I’m glad I don’t have any reason to call Sarah. She doesn’t sound like she’d ever be in the mood to talk.

          😛

        • Sarah says:

          @Richard. Hey, now. Single mom. Full-time job. You people are lucky I find time to read and comment here.

          But seriously, you’ll notice the bulk of my phone avoidance tendencies are aimed at my parents. They just have an incredible knack of keeping me hostage on the phone while saying absolutely nothing. You used the key word – reason. If a call has a purpose, I’m all ears. If not, sorry but I’ve got about a hundred other things I have to do during my day.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Ha. No, I get you. You mentioned below about wishing you could get your parents to text, and when I finally got my dad to text a bit it was awesome. He’ll be 65 this year and forever refused to own anything but his same old flip phone, but nevertheless he started accepting and sometimes sending short texts that enabled me to pass along the one bit of information necessary and not get stuck on the phone for an hour.

          Then, after grousing for months about his three kids and their newfangled iPhones, he bought himself one and now texts me all the time. It’s amazing. A month or so ago I went to visit and I see this rectangular thing on the kitchen table and realize it’s an iPad. He bought a freakin’ iPad.

          Miracles do happen.

        • Sarah says:

          I guess it’s a matter of mindset. Amazement that the technology exists versus annoyance at its casual and manner-less use and such.

          My grandfather when in his mid-80’s had the first digital camera I had ever seen. When he died at age 97 he still had an up and running website where he would, among other things, scan in and upload Civil War era pictures of my ancestors along with scanned photographs of his paintings and posted quite a bit of his writings as well. He would buy a computer for $20 or whatever at a yard sale just so he could literally take it apart, see what was inside and try to put it back together.

          You could see on his face the giddy child coming of age in the 20’s and 30’s meeting 21st century technology for the first time. He rocked.

    • Kip Tobin says:

      Great rule, Matt, and I shall try to make it a bit more of my own from here on out. Something even semi-important or even just timely merits a call, especially with regards to a date.

      I just find it odd that we are at a point where we can just stop all communication with someone, and that’s the way out, or in the case of my friend, that the whole discussion about it stops and recedes back into nonexistence.

      Or maybe it’s also kind of odd this whole method of communicating with others, via text message, as it brings about this whole other container of questions about the how’s and how often’s, etc.

      The whole enterprise kind of drives me batty, especially when it makes me over think about it.

      • Matt says:

        It seems to work all right. I pretty much use texting only for those very casual, needle-in-a-haystack “I’m bored, let’s get a beer” queries mentioned elsewhere, or in circumstances where I simply cannot physically speak on the phone: at work, a noisy concert, one of those weird deadspots where I get no signal but can still send data etc. Or if I happen to know the other party is in a situation where they can’t answer.

        Still prefer to call whenever possible.

        Stopping all communication apropos of nothing is just a selfish, asshole behavior. And somewhat cowardly, I think. I have a lot more respect for someone who can outright say “look, this friendship/relationship just isn’t working for me” than those fucks who just give you the cold shoulder.

    • Mary Richert says:

      Ok, actually agreeing to a date and then dropping off the planet is just shitty.

      • Matt says:

        Yup.

        Avoiding me for about a week afterwards, too.

        • Kip Tobin says:

          That’s just it, this whole behavior seems to be more and more common, the avoiding someone else altogether when we change our minds about wanting to go out with them. It’s really immature and seemingly more and more common.

          I remember a couple of years ago I had been dating a girl for over two months but I wasn’t feeling it. I decided I had to break up with her. I pined over it for several weeks before finally going over there and doing it. It absolutely sucked to tell a girl to her face that it wasn’t working out, that there was simply no spark, but I have no doubt it was the best for her, that she got it over it quicker, and she knew without doubt that I respected her. She, in turn, respected me.

          It really is a very simple equation, but sadly less and less common.

  2. Brin Friesen says:

    My theory on cellphones in general is they’re about destroying the commitment of all relationships.

    What are the classic justifications for having them? Top two I’d guess would be: staying in touch and emergencies.

    When’s the last time you fielded a very important call you had to answer NOW, let alone an emergency?

    As far as staying in touch, it actually does the opposite. Nobody commits to any of the time they have with the people they’re spending time with. That’s the real advantage. The phone is on. Options are open. Could anyone ever get away with asking for 2hrs with a person with their phone off? Too much commitment to one person. Need to have my options open.

    Other huge social advantage is that you can show up late or not at all and text your way out of things. It’s socially acceptable insofar as nobody but an asshole can really call you on your excuses. If you lacked a cellphone and you’d made an appointment with someone they’d be forced to show up or stand you up. Standing someone up is totally socially unacceptable.

    When I got a cellphone in 2000 my friends said the same thing to me: “Who the fuck do you think you are to have a cellphone?” When I dumped it in 2002, it only took another year before those same friends launched into, “Who the fuck do you think you are to NOT have a cellphone?”

    Sorry this was a little off topic.

    • Kip Tobin says:

      Not really off topic at all, Brin, as I didn´t really have a specific topic I wanted it to pertain to.

      So you dumped your cell in 2002 and haven’t had one since? I wonder about people who do not own cell phones in the modern age, cause I hear about them from time to time, like that woman in Yo La Tengo, never had one, never will have one, or Vince Vaughn, who is notorious for hating them, and is given them on sets and loses them frequently.

      I think that the leash-factor is huge, and has much to do with why those that hate them hate them and those that love them love them. For those that love them, in some way it makes them feel important, and talking to people in public can certainly project a (false) sense of (self-)importance.

      It’s interesting that it’s “totally socially unacceptable” to stand someone up, yet it’s completely acceptable to not reply, which could easily be argued as a minor form of standing someone up, at least in terms of expectations being obliterated.

      I´ve been interpreting for the past three months and have had to have a cell phone not only with me but turned on and checked frequently for emergency interpreting services. Once again I am loathing its existence, especially after having heard in Harper’s and GQ last month that long term usage (10 years or more) is when many independent studies show a 75% chance of altering cell integrity.

      I can easily see a day when I don’t have one, and I people can only access me at limited times.

      • Brin Friesen says:

        Of course I gave in and got one. No will power… but I hate them. I hate seeing that insidious glow on people’s face at concerts and movies and bookstores.

        I prefer to think of texting as something like sending cables in The Sun Also Rises to Lady Brett.

        • Kip Tobin says:

          I believe that glow you speak of deserves a moniker: the blue hue of technology awash on our faces, something to that effect. I think of that visage often, and especially when I see people mired in the hull of a laptop screen, intently staring, silent, occasionally grinning, like there’s a secret to be guarded.

          Ahh, Lady Brett and the cables. Those were much simpler times.

        • Brin Friesen says:

          First off, well done with Brandy.

          Secondly, I believe I do have a moniker for that Borg-blue glow: Gay.

          Ah and you nailed it, those occasional grins. Those disturb me the most. The person seeming intimately touched and amused by something with that goo goo ga ga look staring at a keypad or QUERTY down beneath them.

  3. Sarah says:

    I was very anti-texting for so long. I thought it was a stupid thing teenagers did. For my ex-husband and his friends, however, it was the only way they communicated. It annoyed me. Then I realized the wonderful part about texting – that I had to think about what I wanted to communicate before it just came bursting out of me. My ex and I went from hating each other to good friends and completely in sync parenting partners thanks to texting.

    I also wish I could get my parents into texting, just a smidge. They still insist I call them once I have reached my destination if a car trip lasts longer than an hour. So, when all I need to tell them is, “We’re here,” I still have to respond to, “Soooo, how was the drive? Did Olivia sleep the whole way? Lots of traffic? Did you listen to the Sox on the radio? Dice-K couldn’t buy a strike.” Gaahhh!!

    Regarding your protocol observations, I think you’re over-thinking it too much. I usually respond to texts right away. I separated from my ex when my daughter was still an infant. Single mom, big scary house, two young kids. My cell was always in my back pocket or at least within arm’s reach. Always, no exceptions. I know people who respond hours later because they’ve left the phone in their purses on vibrate or something. I don’t think it’s necessarily a true indicator of personality or interest level.

    All in all, texting has its place, its usefulness. I wish I could make doctors’ appointments via text instead of talking to annoying secretaries. But Matt’s right, there is something about actually speaking to a person, as long as you want to be speaking to that person of course.

    • Kip Tobin says:

      Sarah,

      I would guess that if your parents texted, your life would be easier, but theirs might not. My mom texts (on a Blackberry no less) and it’s taken her a year to figure out how to put punctuation in there. She was not made for this technology, but she gets by enough to be able to do it at a basic level.

      My two examples here may be acute examples, but I don’t think I’m overthinking it too much. Or rather, I think that the fact that people start a conversation and then never finish it, well, that merits a little discussion (which is why I posted it).

      If someone simply doesn’t reply from the beginning, then I think that’s a clear message from the beginning, but not after you start a conversation.

      All this pondering about it leads me to believe that it sucks that I have to use it, or that I put this amount of emotional investment into it. And with regards to the people I’ve texted, I will do so with caution should I encounter them in the future. And unfortunately, I will probably become a bit jaded by other texts in the future.

      Texting will ultimately fall to the state of email, an optional form of communication which we are inundated with and use when its convenient and don’t when it’s not. I’m not bitter about it, just verbalizin’.

      Kip

    • Mary Richert says:

      Dude, that’s really cool. My parents have recently learned to text. They don’t do it often, but they like to send me photos when they go someplace interesting. It was cool when they were in France and decided to share some of the sites they visited. Texting definitely has it’s place.

  4. Ryan Day says:

    Texting is frustrating. I usually call people when they text me. Then they reject the call and text me again. Ufff. The total lack of commitment that Brin mentioned above totally drives me batty as well. I hate the ‘lets meet at 8… wherever… I’ll call you when I’m in the neighborhood…’ playing it by ear is totally the status quo, which leads to way to much frustrating indecisiveness and meandering from locale to locale trying to decide if you want falafel and martinis or chili and brandy. Not knowing what I’m going to be doing with my evening makes me a bit anxious. All the time that should be spent enjoying is spent speculating.

    I think if you text someone once and they don’t respond, you have one more shot. It’s like tennis, I guess. You get one shitty serve with a do over, but if you don’t get it over the net and/or the person doesn’t return the ball, you can’t just go on serving all day… I know nothing about tennis. I hope that wasn’t an obvious flaw in my metaphor.

    I would never leave you hanging, Kip.

    • Sarah says:

      The showing up late or excusing oneself with a simple “Sorry” text bugs me. I’m a planner. I plan far in advance. I’m OCD with the planning. And for making plans in the first place, texting just won’t do. There’s a back and forth to making plans that can be done with no ambiguity in a two-minute conversation or very vaguely over two hours of texts. Just hit “call” and figure out when and where, damn it!

    • Kip Tobin says:

      No flaws in your metaphor, my friend. I prefer ping pong, but it works there as well, and the whole act of text is easily analogized to a volley where you’re expecting the ball back.

      I wish I wasn’t this way but the expectant nature of messaging can leave you hanging, and that suspension sucks.

      Playing it by ear is the status quo for Spain, but not so much here, at least not in my circle of friends. A time set is a time set, and to be 15 minutes is unacceptable. Lately I’ve been trying to set ranges of ten minutes, like, instead of saying let’s meet at 7 pm I say let’s meet between 6:55-7:05pm. Seems rational, right? You can alot for unforeseen impediments.

      I’m believe you would never leave me hanging, Ryan, cause you never have and, as a result, nor would I leave you hanging either.

      Stalogo.

      k*

      • Ryan Day says:

        It seems super rational, and pretty damned Tobin. Hey, I’m going to be at Pitchfork on Friday July 16th… say 5:17-6:24… I’ll just give you a call… Or a text. I’ll text you at 5:17 on July 16th, then we can go find falafel and Martinis. I know just the place.

    • Matt says:

      Yeah, my under-25 friends do that. Drives me up a wall. I prefer to use my mouth to conduct a conversation, not my thumbs.

  5. Becky says:

    I’m guilty of this. Not answering texts from time to time. Never anything major. Like, if someone texts out of the blue at 11pm on a Friday to say, “We’re at such-and-such place! What are you doing?” and I’m already in my pajamas on the couch, it’s really not worth a shit to text back, “In jammies. Nothing doing.”

    I texted more when I had my blackberry; I have big thumbs (I’m so pretty) and since iPhones don’t respond to fingernails, my iPhone punishes me by sending creative messages to my friends like, “Win the duck??? Were art yo guts?”

    It’s a pain in the ass.

    So if it’s a minor issue to which my response is mostly irrelevant, I’ll just let it go.

    But failing to at least text back “not tanks” in this kind of event-planning scenario? Inexcusable. Just plain rude not to respond to that sort of thing even way back in the days of cassette-tape answering machines. This is not a tech issue, this is an etiquette problem.

    • Kip Tobin says:

      Becky,

      Sorry I took so long to reply.

      As for not answering a non-essential text, I’m all for it. I’ve done it. Someone mass texts you and says, “We’re going out tonight at xx xxx” and you don’t text and don’t show, well, you never committed so you needn’t worry about replying. Social events that whose texts are jut blind darts trying to find you in the night, well, those can be ignored. But, as you said, one-on-one’s should have some sort of priority, enough to text back within a few days at least, or, as stated above, sent off a quick, “Busy” text to not leave you hanging.

      Kip

  6. Becky says:

    So Kip; what are your feelings about replying to people online? I mean, where do you draw the line? Should we hold you in contempt of your own principles?

    I mean, you sent us this message, but now you don’t reply.

    • Kip Tobin says:

      Becky,

      I plead fatigue, a heavily congested spring cold and the fact that I’m staying in friend’s room temporarily where I have to stand up to type on my laptop. I happened to spend all day yesterday in front of a computer where I was able to transcribe and post this post.

      As for replying to people online and its own protocol, you’re right. I try to answer all of them, it’s just that before I knew it there were 30 comments and I stood and typed last night as long as I could until the Nyquil kicked in.

      So, I’m tryin’, just too many to keep up with.

      k*

      • Becky says:

        Oh Kip,

        No elaboration necessary. I was totally joking, just giving you a hard time.

        Also meant to be a reference to a recent gripe session others had elsewhere about their elaborate commentary going unanswered.

        It really doesn’t bother me. Ignore me at will. Honest to God. If people won’t talk to me I do just fine talking amongst myselves.

        Feel better.

  7. Sarah says:

    Ooh, just thought of another pro-texting argument. Without it, we wouldn’t have great Gloria lines such as, “I’m going to text the crap out of you.”

  8. Jordan Ancel says:

    Texting is such an immediate way of communicating, so it’s very frustrating when people don’t respond within a reasonable amount of time, let alone not at all.

    That said, a client of mine had sent me an email asking why I hadn’t returned her texts for the last few days, wondering if we were still going to meet.

    I was really surprised because I always respond as soon as possible, especially when it’s business related. I hadn’t gotten any texts.

    I called her immediately after I received the email and knowing that if I said I didn’t receive her texts, and subsequently blaming it on the phone company, would sound like an excuse, I asked what number she texted to.

    She had been sending to my landline.

    • Matt says:

      I’ve done that once or twice.

    • Kip Tobin says:

      Jordan,

      Apologies for not replying to this comment earlier. (In fact, this post, of very post I’ve ever written, has taken the energy right out of me. I’ve spent at least 3 hours staying on top of these comments, and I think I spent 2 hours writing the post.)

      This is very funny, texting landlines and fax machines.

      I wonder what happens to the actual lost texts, that is, the ones that actually are sent and are never received. Do they go to some dead-text office (or rather folder on a hard drive on some government sever)?

  9. J.M. Blaine says:

    You can see some really kooky
    & interesting things on gospel
    TV at 3 am.
    the other day they were talking
    about the mark of the beast
    & microchips & all of the sudden
    this fellow who looked like
    like a dollar store Tom Brokaw
    went into this Old Testament prophecy
    about how in the last days people will
    do a lot of talking but no one will be listening
    & he just went on about how communication
    abounds and yet is lost & gadgets
    and creeping passive-aggressiveness
    and I don’t smoke weed
    nor was I even eating late night
    Cocoa Pebbles but it was really
    fascinating in that 3 am sort of way.
    It was true man. I hate texting and reluctantly
    carry a cell phone.
    Preach Kip, preach.

    • Kip Tobin says:

      The end of the world
      has always fascinated me
      because it always seems to
      be happening,
      at every age, at every stage
      in history, and yet we ignore
      that it’s always been occurring.

      A Buddhist saying that I love
      says that “Those who know, don’t
      speak; those that speak, don’t
      know”. That words are in some way
      a cry for help, and that simply trying
      to communicate how we feel to someone
      can create an abyss between us are
      signs of our innate isolation. Sure,
      we can bridge that gap somewhat,
      and when we do, we feel much closer
      to that person, but it’s kind of scary
      to realize how much divide there
      is between us.

  10. Richard Cox says:

    Generally I’m a quick text replier so I hate it when people don’t return the favor. It’s easy to imagine all the reasons why people don’t reply when we think they should. What’s that Chuck Palahniuk quote? “What you don’t understand you can make mean anything.” I think that often applies here.

    However, when you’re making plans, or you’ve just met someone, the lack of reply is mystifying. I met someone recently and we hung out and had what seemed like a great time, and then afterward the phone went dead, text and otherwise. I called a few times and left messages and got no response. That was it for me. I don’t keep after it amid radio silence.

    I happened to mention this behavior to a chick friend of mine, why a girl might act this way. I didn’t use the new friend’s name, but I told her a bit about the girl and it turned out she knew her. And of course, a few days later, I get a phone call from the previously silent girl.

    “Do you go around telling everyone what we did?” she asked, not pleased.

    So I tell her I was looking for a bit of advice and it was totally harmless, and she says, “Well, I had a busy week. I told you I could be flighty. If you want to call, call.”

    I say all this because whether we’re talking about texts or emails or dinner over candlelight, women are impossible to understand over any form of communication.

    • Kip Tobin says:

      One whole week of silence? That is mystifying.

      Again, it seems like the protocol here is –at least for some– a week. A week can pass and if it’s a busy week, no communication is fine. That used to be my standard for email, but now I can take up to a month to not reply. Beyond that, it means I’ve dropped the ball, that messaging has overwhelmed me.

      To me, it seems like after you call or text her several times and get nothing in return, well, a short message that reads, “Hey, I’m swamped. Be back when it’s over in a few days, a week max” would work wonders in terms of setting some sort of expectation. Silence equates to (as you and Chuck point out) the interpretation of anything in one’s head. By the time a week passes, the girl is already in having wild, unadulterated sex with some Parisian model just to spite me (a worst case scenario that has played out a time or two in my head in the past).

      I think that, as you implied, men are just much more straightforward in their communication, and women tend to be much less so (and puzzling to us).

      • Dana says:

        HA!! Men. :rolleyes:

        Kip, I have to side with the person who mentioned the cryptic nature of your messages regarding the festival. OMG WTF? Where are the vowels? Vowelist. But I can’t believe that you’ve let this drop with your friend of 15 years. Completely rude. Next time you see him you should really bring it up. As for making dates with a new woman in your life, I’d suggest a phone call at a minimum. Don’t you want to hear if she sounds excited at the prospect of seeing you again?

        I’ve sent perhaps 20 text messages in my life. It’s because I don’t have a smart phone. I have a DUMB phone and it takes me a painfully long time to type even a very brief message.
        Painfully.

        I love to IM but no one does that anymore.

        Richard, you’re smoking hot and that woman doesn’t deserve this much of your time. Better fish are on the horizon. Or on the golf course.

        • Richard Cox says:

          I was wondering that about Kip’s texts as well. Even when I had a regular phone, T9 made it so texting in actual English was pretty fast. I don’t care for text speak on phones but then for whatever reason on icanhascheezburger it becomes funny. The world is a fickle place.

          And yeah, I didn’t pursue the girl any further. We text from time to time, but after that whole thing I haven’t been motivated to ask her out again. Maybe if I run into her somewhere we’ll laugh about it, but I’m too lazy when artificial barriers like that go up. As you said, there are plenty of other options. Thanks for the vote of confidence. Ha.

        • Kip Tobin says:

          SmokinghotRichard: I have a simple phone, and probably won’t make the move to a smart phone. That said, I hate T9 as the words I use tend not to be in the dictionary (that is, the modified words) and don’t want to add to the dictionary.

          SizzlingDana: I am a vowelist, I guess. As I stated above, texting like that allows two things; one, you can maximize your message content in a confined space, and two, they’re can have the surprising effect of little puzzles that you have to decode.

          I will no longer let important messages rely on a text. Way too much riding on that. The girl gets the call.

          As for the friend with years behind us, I don’t know. I mean, I am not one to beckon confrontation, nor am I one to hold a grudge, so it seems easier to let it go than dig it up and talk about it and possibly cause some larger rift.

          Thanks for the comments/ideas.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Oh, but Kip, one of life’s great rewards is to look through your T9 custom dictionary and find all the awesome words you’ve added. Minutes upon minutes of amusement.

        • Kip Tobin says:

          You are right, sir. I concede: T9 provides hours upon hours of frustration initially, but ultimately yields minutes upon minutes of amusement.

        • Sarah says:

          Clearly, Richard, Kip here doesn’t know how to have a good time. Customizing your T9 dictionary is one of life’s great pleasures.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Poor Kip. Wallowing away in his sad T9-less life.

          I transcribed my dictionary once for a blog entry, and then someone else posted theirs so I abandoned the idea. I wonder if I could find that now. It’s not so much the swear words that make it funny as it is the variety of terms you never realize you use with such frequency. I wish I could figure out how how to get my customized dictionary out of the iPhone. But with it you don’t add them manually. It just remembers what you typed and suggests and/or autocorrects for you as you type later.

          I wasn’t an iPhone believer until I had one. I know there is a lot of hate out there for iPhones and their devotees, but it really is a brilliant product.

        • Kip Tobin says:

          I don’t hate the smart phones at all, and I think something that makes your life easier is unarguably a product that merits praise from some angle. I guess that see it as more of a timewaster (in that now you have something that can store innumerous games and apps and allow you do something other than solitaire or snake while you wait for your friend to show up) and a tighter leash, i.e. you can do more things with it, kind of like a computer, but it takes a little longer. So if you can get work email from home (or even personal email for that matter), you’ll spend more time invested in doing it while not at work.

          Of course the other perspective is that it is an enabler of doing things quicker, for sure, and therefore they can do more things with their free time. It’s all about where you’re coming from. The very sound of a cell phone ringing gives me something of a twinge in my spine. I cringe a little. And to most people I’ve observed that it’s simply something else to respond to, to answer to, etc. Both seem valid to me, and there probably is also some middle ground.

      • Matt says:

        That’s the kicker: it’s so quick & easy to send a “Sorry, swamped, will call when I can” text that NOT doing so is a pointed act in itself.

  11. javier says:

    I love texting… not intrusive like a call, you can reply whenever you can and a lot can be said. however, if you text me in that shortened version I will just assume you’re some kind of retard and will simply just no reply

    mayb that’s what happened with the festival guy, he got annoyed.

    loved the post by the way

    • Kip Tobin says:

      Hmmm, interesting take on it.

      I have always taken out as many vowels and letters as possible in order to fit the maximum amount of words into one text. When I lived in Spain, my texts were an amalgamation of Spanish and English (whichever had the shortest words) and was always vowel-cut. I would agree with you if I didn’t write properly, but I do, so I think if you’re going to participate in the medium, you might as within the confines of the medium to make it as efficient as possible. Plus they become something of a puzzle when you have to decode them.

      Thanks for commenting Javi!

      k*

  12. Carl D'Agostino says:

    What’s texting? What’s a cell phone? What’s an answering machine? What’s email? What’s a fax? What’s a phone? Good Christmas sakes! Haven’t ANY of you people ever heard of PENMANSHIP? Do any of you even know what a STAMP is? All this shit started when that damn Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1498. Don’t you see your communication debauchery is the work of the AntiChrist? And you are ushering in the Apocalypse? And if the world ends because of you people, the Cubs will never have the chance to win a World Series.

    • Kip Tobin says:

      Carl,

      Gutenberg is the real Antichrist, as he’s the one who foiled the Cubs’s chances of ever getting into the series about 400 years before they came into existence.

      Makes you wonder where it will end, or how. That is, where will technology be in 10 or 50 or 100 years?

      I would like to think that in some way we are better off with all this instant communication, as it surely lends itself to an efficiency previously unimagined. But it causes, it many ways, a lot of negative externalities of sorts, things like this where some of us take a step back and ponder it. Or the fact that our attention spans are inherently much shorter than they’ve ever been, that we can’t (or at least don’t) retain phone numbers anymore, that we can’t seem to carry on a conversation for more than five minutes without wondering if someone replied to a message (text or email or post) of ours.

      My penmanship has indeed changed since I’ve been typing, which, as I once heard, means my personality has been changing. (Urban myth or truth?)

    • dwoz says:

      You’re in good company.

      Socrates thought that written language was the first step toward the end.

      Interestingly enough, my book in-processes defines exactly how written language is responsible for the apocalypse. Have you been hacking my google?

      • Kip Tobin says:

        I do not hack the googles.

        Good old Socrates. Of course, had we had no written language, then we wouldn’t have the bible, the torah, the dec. of independence, the constitution and all the other literary cannons that have blessed and cursed us along the way.

        Question: “how written language is responsible for the apocalypse” refers to the one (the apoc.) that has not yet happened yet, or is there one that happened that I’m unaware of? The holocaust? Please clarify, as it really piques my interest.

  13. Joe Daly says:

    The No Reply Scenario all boils down to respect for me. If a person can’t respect me (or themselves) enough to reply back, then it’s hard for me to engage that person anymore, knowing that their emotional convenience will trump all other aspects of the friendship/relationship/whatevership.

    Two attempts is what I pretty much settle on now. Right or wrong, it’s cleaner that way.

    And having spent an hour walking around Chicago on Saturday, baking in the sun and strolling around the Belmont Street festival, I am super jealous of the great summer you have ahead of you. Chicago in the summer is the best city in the world.

    • Brandy says:

      “emotional convenience”. nice!

    • Kip Tobin says:

      Mr. Daly,

      I wholly agree with your boiling point here (as I alluded briefly to it in the last sentence), that to not reply is lack of respect for that person. And it only seems to end up jading you in terms of wanting to communicate with them in the future, i.e. if you wonder whether or not they’ll reply, then what’s the point in sending a message? Their “emotional convenience” will determine whether they do? That sucks, and is reason enough to not contact them again. If we all acted this way, we’d all be uber-flakes in an emotional maelstrom.

      I hope that we aren’t already.

      k*

  14. Brandy says:

    Thank.God.Someone.Said.It.

    I think it’s terribly rude not to respond to a text, email, etc. It takes two seconds. I hate HATE being ignored. You will hear from me twice as much (versus just answering me in the first place). I don’t make other people feel unimportant–and I don’t expect it either. If you’re that busy then at least reply “Busy”.

    Good read Kip–ever think about writing an etiquette book for the age of technology? 🙂

  15. Kip Tobin says:

    Thanks Brandy. I wondered if someone hadn’t already said it, or if there isn’t some sort of ultra-hip website that has a prescriptive list of protocols to follow.

    Hating being ignored, as stated by Daly above, is really disrespect. A simple “I’m busy” reply suffices, and at least acknowledges your presence.

    An etiquette book for the age of technology is a good idea, and would probably sell well. Not a bad idea. I’ll give it some thought.

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

  16. Carl D'Agostino says:

    What’s hacking? What’s a google? What’s a reply? Now Socrates I know all about especially about the part where he invented chopsticks and developed a catchers mitt in case a future generation invented the Cubs.

  17. Mary Richert says:

    Now, it’s possible that I have some form of under-the-radar social dysfunction, but here are my rules for texting:

    1) I text back immediately if possible, mostly because I often text people for stuff like “hey I’m bored, lets go get a beer.” If you take longer than 30 minutes to respond to that kind of text, I’ve probably made other plans already.

    2) If I don’t text back immediately, I’ve probably forgotten. Sorry. Or you asked me a question I wasn’t sure about, so I had to think about it. Then I forgot. Or then I decided the answer was no but didn’t feel like telling you because I’m sortof an asshole sometimes.

    3) If you text me repeatedly about the same question and I still haven’t answered there are two problems: I am being a lazy asshole and won’t just give you a straight answer (the answer is no, but I should probably tell you), and you are not getting the point. (Sorry, again. I know it’s kinda harsh.)

    Same goes for e-mails and phone calls. But it’s been a long time since I did anything like dating and I mostly only send texts to people I know well enough to assume they will care about receiving my message, so if they don’t respond, I assume they are busy. I typically don’t text twice. No answer = missed your chance.

    • Kip Tobin says:

      Awesome. Your reply is exactly what I was looking for in terms of a comment, that is, bulletted points about what you, the reader/texter/participant, believe to be the norm. Thanks for sharing them!

      This is funny: “Or then I decided the answer was no but didn’t feel like telling you because I’m sortof an asshole sometimes.” For that matter, number 3 is pretty shilly-shally, too, basically saying that we flake because we flake sometimes, right?

      If this is true, I get it, I got it and I can now accept it and move on. Within the realm of friendships and relationships, I can simply accept a certain number of people to just stop texting me without reason and then the next time I see them we’ll pick it right back up where we left off.

      You and several others seemed to indicate that “I just forgot” is a common reason. Understandable, but it kinda sucks because it seems to illuminate the fact that we are forgetting more now than before, at least terms of caliing/messaging people back. We are becoming a bit jaded on communication technology.

      So it is.

      Thanks for the thoughtful response.

  18. Meg says:

    I have experienced this drop off in communication from every guy I’ve ever dated. Some have actually just disappeared off the face of the earth, or so their lack of response indicates. I keep expecting their faces to appear on milk cartons.

    But a friend of 15 years who doesn’t just come out and say no thanks is a dick, especially when he adopts a policy of radio silence when it comes to the question of attending a festival with you. Male, female, goat, or otherwise, it’s just rude not to respond to a question.

    I hope the festivals were fun! 🙂

    • Kip Tobin says:

      The festival was pretty fun. The other one is coming up.

      I agree that not replying about something expectant and in common in terms of something semi-time sensitive is kind of shitty, and I wouldn’t do it to someone, but it did sort of catalyze this post. And what I really wanted to accomplish with it was garnering some general opinions as to what the hell the norm is with regards to messaging, specifically texting, although you could count email in there to some extent.

      Thanks for the input!

      k*

  19. I’m guilty of all of the above. And I’ve been the recipient of all of the above. We writers are so over-analytical too, and sensitive. I get butt hurt over a text or non-text daily.

    I want rotary phones back.

    • Kip Tobin says:

      NL Belardes,

      Well put. We are all probably guilty of doing this and have this done to us.

      W/r/t rotary phones, there is a (half-ass) movement underway called the Slow Media movement where people write each other letters, don’t have cell phones, use rotary phones and faxes. Basically, it’s 1985. Weird, but I kinda like it.

    • Becky says:

      Butt hurt.

      Lol.

      That’s right. L.O.L.

      • Kip Tobin says:

        You did not just type L then O then L on my comment board! Heathen!

        LTN.

        Butt hurt is humorous.

        • Becky says:

          It’s funny because it’s true. I get butt hurt on a near-daily basis, too. As a matter of fact, I am currently butt hurt.

          And it may have a writerly connection in a roundabout way. At least insofar as people who are even a little convinced they lie near the center of the universe are bound to think anything anyone else does or does not do is directed at or a reflection upon them.

          And writers DO tend to be that way…

          Disclaimer: Though not all writers categorically, and if any writer among us wishes to say they do not believe themselves to be at or near the center of the universe, it will be accepted with a knowing wink per all the proper laws of postmodernity and anti-stereotypical thinking.

        • Matt says:

          I can only say that if I AM the center of the universe, the universe is one seriously screwy, off-kilter place.

          Actually, that would kind of explain a lot.

        • Becky says:

          Between you and me and anyone else who may happen to read this, I think that’s part of the reason everyone’s so nice around here. They have felt the pain of butt hurt and understand that anyone around them, at any time, could get butt hurt. For any reason at all. We are a ticking time bomb of butt hurt.

  20. Inés Pérez says:

    Hi Kip!!!

    Great post, as always. I had some situations like this as well, and I think it’s a collateral damage of these new ways of communication (e-mail, SMS, etc.), which brings an opportunity to communicate effectively (at least in a certain manner), but with 0% of heart implication in the communication itself, especially if there is something unconfortable going on (if you don’t want to provide a clear response about your interests, in a sentimental or any other way), which for some people on some level is such a relief, because you don’t have to face the situation directly.

    In any case, I would personally not establish a Protocol about the response time to an SMS/e-mail (i.e. 5 minutes means a) you are very keen to meet someone or b) you are desperate to meet someone), and I prefer to let the river flow and see what happens. I think it’s much more interesting to establish a Protocol about the quality of the communication instead of analising response times, number of SMS, e-mails, etc., especially if there is a romantic interest. For instance, I don’t like at all to receive an SMS from a guy with lots of acronyms asking me out. It is rather cold, and in some cases I might have strong doubts about his orthography skills (i.e. “ola wapa¿qtal todo?¿qdamos st finde?bs”) If you REALLY want to know if I’m doing fine, and you want to meet, give me a proper call!!! :o)

    Un beso enorme desde el otro lado del charco. ¡¡¡Talogo!!!
    Inés

    • Kip Tobin says:

      Inez,

      You are 100% correct about this being collateral damage from technology. I have yet to have someone break up with me via text, though I’ve heard that it has happened. I can only imagine the crushing smallness one must feel if they read a text that says, “This isn’t working out”, because the lack of respect is so huge, as is the cowardice.

      I agree that you should tell someone upfront about what you expect from them textually, especially if you’re expecting full words. I simply have my own language when it comes to texting (and that language is different if the recipient speaks Spanish).

      Good old-fashioned calling. Ahh, those 90s were simpler days.

      Un beso gigantesco desde el otro lado de la lagunita!

      k*

  21. Judy Prince says:

    NJoid ths Stephen Christopher Tobin! Wt duz ” (Julio) Cortazarian cartographer” mn? I’l rspd rt awa.

    • Kip Tobin says:

      A Cortazarian cartographer would mean that I am going to trace JC’s influence upon modern writing, make sort of a map of all the writing that his own has touched since his death in 84. Does that makes sense? It was the term I came up with in my proposal to grad schools that had a bit of alliteration and I’ve kept it ever since.

      And you, Ms./Mrs./Miss Prinze, what do you study/think/believe/(year to)do, etc?

      ps. I never write like that except in text messages, when I’m trying to get all the bang for my buck in terms of space crammed in one text message.

      • Judy Prince says:

        Stephen Christopher, I think you should cease your JC peregrinatings. “Cartography” is totally cool in itself and also as permanently affixed to your researchy persona. However, having meditated (ok, I was napping after lunch) upon your future, I advise your throwing your brain in an opposite direction from the academic researchy one, even though I’m sure you’re totally in like with JC and every human person that has ever written anything resembling his stuff since his death. And also, reasonably, you wanna get an academic job for all of your pre-retirement years.

        But just for a kick, and also bcuz you need it, let’s experiment briefly with your life. Answer the following questions, if you will:

        1) What is the totally most cool thing you have ever done?

        2) What is the totally most cool thing you have ever observed?

        3) What is the best Spanish meal you’ve ever eaten?

        4) When you are in Chicago or thereabouts, do you Spanishly roll your “r’s”?

        5) If you could go into a library and, with impunity, grab a book and rip it apart, which one would it be?

        6) If you could right now consciously plan your rebirth (i.e., your next incarnation), who and where would you be?

        7) Say the words “MEEP!” and “FORKLIFT”. What did it make you think or feel?

        8) Construct a micromodel village (in your mind just now).

        9) Tell the sun to obey the moon.

        Have fun!

        • Kip Tobin says:

          Judy Prinze:

          I sense through your words that you are a life coach, and a very good one at that.

          Okay, let’s give this a whirl:
          1)Dunno
          2)Simulataneous 5 stand fireworks display for the 2003 superbowl when i lived in San Diego
          3)Calzots!
          4)Autonomically
          5)Focault’s Pendulum
          6)Late 20s/early 30s Paris, me
          7)Steamrolleryishesque
          8)*
          9)Done

          That’s it! Kismet! I don’t want to do a doctorate on Cortazar at all, or be academically at all. What the hell was I thinkin’? Oh, thank you Judy Prinze, you’ve saved yet another, hopelessly lost aspiring writer from thinking going into academia is a semi-stable way to go about pursuing both writing and reading from a longer term perspective.

          You must get paid very well.

        • Becky says:

          Judy:

          5) The Unbearable Lightness of Being

          I don’t really understand your list, but I like to give that answer to that question (or any question even a little bit like it) whenever the opportunity presents itself.

          Also, unless your answer is someplace/time in the future, I’m pretty sure #6, if realized would create some version of a Granfather Paradox and Kip just ended the world.

          That is all.

        • Judy Prince says:

          Stephen Christopher (I love to say and write “Stephen Christopher” partly bcuz my son’s named Christopher; also, I don’t know why someone would be named “step-hen”….. but I’m sure dear Rodent could check the National Dictionary of the Etymology of Names for us…), let me (to earn the big bucks I get for life coaching) comment on each of your answers, as follows:

          1) We cannot accept “dunno” as an answer. Try again. Jeez. We’re talking the most totally cool thing you’ve ever done!

          2) OH YEAH!!!!!!!

          3) What is a calzot?

          4) I’m impressed. But can you do a French “r”?

          5) Gotta take issue with you on that, even though it’s not life-coachly appropriate. Foucault trumps Derrida, DeSasseur and Chomsky.

          6) OMG—-YES!!!!

          7) Quite.

          8) Comment Robot converts some numbers to smileys without announcing that fact to the commenter. That doesn’t excuse your answering the question, Stephen Christopher.

          9) Good man, you. About time we had that little cosmic situation settled.

          Upon receiving your answers, I’ll give you your LIFE COUCH. It’s more than magical……it’s ergonimic, spiritual, a little insane, OTT, and cartographically AWESOME!!!!!!!

        • Judy Prince says:

          “5) The Unbearable Lightness of Being”—–Becky, thank you! For years, I’ve been trying to do as you, but people keep gurgling on about the damned book. ‘Supwiddat?

          Re #6, now consciously planning one’s next incarnation: If we accept (as I’ve done, for the nonce) the cunning idea that there is no “time”, or rather that time is simultaneously Present, Past and Future, then it also is limitlessly stretchy-adjustable to accommodate Stephen Christopher’s desire to reincarnate to the “past”.

          Just to wind up the clock, so to speak, on this topic, have you seen or read JB Priestley’s play “The Inspector Calls”? Or any of his so-called “time” plays? He was into Dunne and Ouspensky on the “time’s all-time” concept. My own fave is psychic Edgar Cayce who posits something a little more advanced than his predecessors: “There is no time, there is no place, there is only patience.”

        • Becky says:

          I speak only vicariously through my husband’s sci-fi geekdom and from a childhood filled with Back to the Future.

          The Liar’s Paradox is more my style, honestly.

          As for Unbearable Lightness of Being…I keep it on my shelf in the home office just so that I can scowl at it when I’m in a foul mood. And also to show my pretentious friends that it doesn’t even warrant a spot in the display bookshelf in the living room.

          Wretched thing. Unbearably heavy. Least compelling read of my life. And if you wear ME out with philosophy, you have crossed the line. You are in the bad place. Up yours, Milan Kundera.

        • Kip Tobin says:

          The most totally cool thing I’ve ever done would have to be skydiving on Friday the 13th. Lost a contact lens about 10 seconds in, had to squint out of my one good eye to drink it all in…

          Umberto Eco’s Focault’s Pendulum is the most pretentious piece of shite I have ever read, and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why I kept on reading it. It was like DaVinci Code on ‘roids.

          I would like to go back and read Unbearable Lightness to see if I think it’s as bad as you both seem to think. Immortality was very good, and I must admit that his style works very well for me.

          Numer 8 was not a question. Come to think of it, nor was 9.

        • Judy Prince says:

          That WAS a totally cool event, Stephen Christopher! Do you think that seeing it with only one “good” eye was a help or a hindrance?

          And, yeah, the micromodel village thing wasn’t a question, but here it is in question form: “If you were constructing a micromodel village, what would it look like?”

          Re Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, I had thought you meant a piece BY Michel Foucault. Rodent says you’re right about the Pendulum. I don’t plan to read it. Some people say it’s hiddenly about the lingist-philosopher Foucault, not some same-named scientist. But the jury’s still out on that.

          Just that one answer on the newly-posed-in-form-of-question-to-satisfy-nitpicking…..and then I’ll send you your LIFE COUCH. Well worth the work, oh Stephen Christopher!

  22. angela says:

    i’ve been both the recipient and giver of “no reply.” the giver was a guy i had been dating for almost two months who, without a word (call, email or text), decided to stop dating me. (cluing me in would have been nice!)

    the recipient was a guy i went on one date with. i thought if i ignored his emails, he’d get the idea, but some friends convinced me i wasn’t being very nice, so i finally replied, saying, in euphemism, that he didn’t do it for me.

    as for texting, i love it because i don’t have to have drawn out conversations about something stupid, like, “i’ll be there in 10 minutes.” i wish to GOD my parents texted. every conversation with my mother when i come visit on the train is like this:

    me: hi, mom. i’m on the 2:15 train. i should be there in an hour.
    mom: what? where are you?
    me: on the train. the 2:15. i should be there in an hour.
    mom: are you in the station?
    me: what difference does it make? i’m taking the 2:15 train. i’ll be there in an hour.
    mom: oh, at about 3:15 then?
    me: yes.
    mom: in an hour.
    me: yes.
    mom: okay, call again when you’re 10 minutes away.

    and then my head explodes.

    • Gloria says:

      Oh my god. That’s my mom too. Does your mom take 19 hours to say goodbye too? this is my mom when we go to say goodbye:

      My mom: okay, well I better go
      Me: okay, love you, bye
      My mom: kiss those boys for me
      Me: okay, love you, bye
      My mom: and please have a good week and remember to [insert lame joke]
      Me: okay, momma. I love you. You too. Bye.
      My mom: okay, well I’ll call you next weekend then.
      Me: sounds good. Love you. Bye.
      My mom: alright, sweetheart, I love you.
      Me: love you too, mom. Bye.
      My mom: bye!

      And as I’m hanging up the phone she always throws in a quick, “Kiss those kids for me.” And then i have to put the phone back to my ear and say, “Okay. Bye!” And then snap the phone shut quickly.

      • Kip Tobin says:

        this is exceedingly funny, very close to home. i think most people are guilty of extending a goodbye much longer than necessary. to throw something of a cliched conversation i have with my dad, he would always ask me both the time and the weather when i’ve lived away from them. (and sometimes even when i live an hour away, like now).

        i once had a friend in college who, when the time of the conversation had ended, he simply stopped talking and hung up.

        me: so that’s friday?
        him: yeah.
        me: at 9?
        him: yeah.
        me: you’ll be there, right?
        him: yeah.
        me: okay, cool. well, i guess [click] i’ll see you there on friday around 9 o’clock, then.

        me: hello?

        me: aaron, you still there?

        it always annoyed the hell out of me at the time, but when i think about it, it’s probably one of the best ways to end a conversation when it is essentially finished. no sense in lingering, especially when we all have people to text and things to act like we’re doing…

        • Sarah says:

          That always drives me nuts in movies and TV shows. You see someone on the phone, not privy to the other half of the conversation and all you hear is, “Want to have dinner tonight? (Pause) Great, I’ll see you later then.” *Click*

          Where are they meeting? When? Is he picking her up? Does she really want to have dinner with someone who can’t be bothered to say goodbye?

          When a conversation is for all intents and purposes finished yet the other person is lingering, I will just come right out and say, “I’m hanging up now. Bye.” That usually gets an, “Oh, okay. Bye then.”

        • Becky says:

          I’ve never noticed that, but you’re right.

          I don’t know anyone who doesn’t say “bye,” and if someone didn’t, I’d be concerned. I’d probably get butt hurt.

          You know who I bet did that? The writers. Or maybe not. Maybe the writers were like, “Who hangs up without saying goodbye? That’s just messed up.”

          But directors were like, “It’s slag and ruins the ‘flow’ of the scene.”

          Who is responsible for this? How do we punish them????

  23. Brianna Barcus says:

    I always thought the whole purpose of text messaging was for urgent correspondence or the quick note that really didn’t warrant airtime over the phone. For these purposes I find it an absolutely brilliant way of communicating.

    And I agree Kip, it is exceedingly frustrating when someone doesn’t get back to you relatively quickly via text. It’s not as if texts generally contain highly philosophical questions which require the receiver to ponder for hours before responding. And if you are sending those kinds of questions, you deserve to wait…or save it for an in person drink-and-a-smoke conversation.

    I think it’s a person’s responsibility to make it known if they are a texter or a non-texter, then no one is left offended. Besides, don’t some people still have those phones where the have to press the number key multiple times to get to the letter they want? If I had one of those phones, I wouldn’t text either.

    • Gloria says:

      My 17-year-old can text on one of those phones while it’s in her pocket. I swear – in three generations, babies are going to be born with a qwerty keyboard attached to their fingers.

  24. Gloria says:

    I disagree about people who text back right away. I think it’s polite. There’s nothing wrong with polite. I, in fact, am all for polite.

    • Gloria says:

      And, in case it wasn’t clear, I would like to add that not responding to a text in a timely fashion is impolite. I don’t mean the texts I send en masse to a select group of patient friends who love me for my quirkiness (like the one about visions of crashing headfirst into the parking enforcement guy). I’m referring specifically to the texts I send that have an obvious time-sensitivity to them. Rude is rude. I don’t care what century it is.

      • Kip Tobin says:

        Gloria,

        I didn’t mean to generalize, and I probably didn’t clearly drawn my line of thinking through. To reply quickly, especially in relationships, is can be such a wonderful experience. When you like someone and you text them and they reply right away, it warms you a bit inside. If they don’t reply soon, it sucks, and a mind it starts a wonderin’/wanderin’.

        My brother replies within a minute. He admits that he’s absolutely addicted to texting. And when I’m with him for a night hanging out drinking beers, eating pizza and catching up, he’ll check it 20 or 30 times. He seems enslaved by it, maybe even happily so.

        I’ve been this way, and it further fragments my memory and mind, takes away my concentration and just generally puts a rather large bump into my flow of the day.

        I suppose there’s nothing wrong with it (replying quickly), but I was trying to jump straight through to what could be wrong with it, at least in terms of the eye of the receiver. And, of course, it’s only my opinion, which is why I solicited others’ (i.e. “Feel free to add.” from the post).

  25. benita canova says:

    cell phones, ipods, email, facef*ck, there’s no end to the stimuli. everyone’s going schizo as a result. our filters are overloaded. a no reply is really a cry for help. ask your concert friend what color your voice is…

    what we have here is a failure not to communicate.

    won’t someone please think of the children?

  26. Kip Tobin says:

    a non-reply is really a call for help? maybe you’re right. maybe he’s drowning in messaging and really just wants me to throw him a line. (a landline?)

    i believe children are our future
    and that we should teach them
    somewhat well so that they can
    help to guide us through the way
    and towards the future where
    no cars go and global cooling
    is right around the corner, and
    peak oil could be equated to the
    world’s period once every milenium

    “some men, you just can’t reach. so you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it, well, he’ll get it. i don’t like it any mo’ than you do…”

  27. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    Agreed. Cyber-cellular communication has become such a mind-fuck I’ve given up on understanding any of it in the romance department. If you put me in a situation with a man and a piece of technology (that is not an electric guitar) you may as well drop me off in a labyrinth at midnight after robbing the batteries from my flashlight. I don’t want it like it was in the 80s, when phones were attached to the wall, I don’t need to take it back to gentleman callers on white horseback. Let’s get primitive, I say. Whoever clubs me over the head and drags me home by my ponytail wins. (The prize might be more curse than blessing, but that’s another rant.)

    Nicely done. I second your opinion.

    • Kip Tobin says:

      I’m glad you agree, and it seems like some others agree as well. It feels like, at least in the amorous dept that throwing in technology allows us not only more ways in which we can communicate but more ways in which to dodge, delay and hide out, stalling for more time. And while it can be good (that great feeling when someone you like texts you back immediately), it can also be bad (when someone drops your text and you forever).

      Probably the best way to get untangled from technology is to put it down and back away slowly, over time, until it is quite far removed from you. That’s my plan. I Fackbook suicided Jan 1 (as well as Myspace), no longer am on any dating sites, I keep my phone turned off at night and when grad school starts up in August, I will have a grand opportunity to keep it off most of the time, bringing me back to the point where I use when I use it, and it doesn’t use me. Check it once a day, tell people that I’m dropping out for the most part, but they can call if there’s some sort of emergency and I’ll need a day to get back to them. Shit, maybe I should get a beeper? That’s be retro-rad.

      As for your comment regarding clubbing you over the head in order to win you, well, that really reminds me of an excellent article by Charlotte Allen called “The New Dating Game: Back to the New Paleolithic Age”. I believe it illuminates this current issue so pervasive in contemporary life about how we are in fact retreating to a sort of caveman-like behavior.

      http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/new-dating-game

      Highly recommended, fascinating, erudite and extremely well written. It is quite long (12 pages on the internet), so if you want me to email you the article, I have it all in one document.

      k*

  28. Wes says:

    I learned a long time ago not to text girls if I had any hope of getting them out on actual dates, but until I’d missed a good number of chances. A call’s the way to go.

    Kip – is this saying that the shorter your posts, the longer the comments section? Looks like you’re spending more time on these comments than you ever did on FB, but then maybe you enjoy this more?

  29. Kip Tobin says:

    Great, glad you learned it. I guess that being a writer or at least thinking that I am one, well, that my words have some sort of value, so a typed message, even a small one, is not something I take lightly. To the contrary, I take it rather heavily, so to not reply is an affront to my writer-ego. (I’m not saying that what I text should be valued more than anyone else, just that I put a lot of time and consideration into it.) And so I figured that it would be taken that way. BUt I suppose therein lies one of the age old chasms inherent within communication, that the gap between what you think about what you say and how it is actually received can be universes apart. And, in general, how hard it can be to communicate something simply, and how nearly impossible it is communicate something complicated. Our words are pale reflections of our thoughts. Still we try.

    That said, I will no longer text anything regarding meeting up. Didn’t know it could be a deal breaker (and I must admit that it seems supremely shallow that sending a text inquiring about when to meet up next can somehow be reason to end it all) and now I won’t do it anymore, especially with girls I would like to see again. If its iffy, texting is the way to go. What a psychology behind this.

    As for brevity, I did not intend for this to garner so much commentary following it. While it is something of a now-universal experience –to not get a reply– I thought it would have some appeal, but in no way did I think it would reach all the way up to number 2 in the Most Reads on TNB.

    No doubt, it took much longer to stay on top of the comments than it did to write it. My point in writing these curiously titled “Brief Middlebrow Realizations of Post-postmodernity” (the second one coming next week) is to write something short that is, at least to me, some sort of epiphanic light-bulb that goes off in my head about why the modern world is the way that it is. These things happen either by thinking about something too much or by having some occurence like the above happen thanks to my interaction with the world.

    You take pictures (very good ones, of course), and I sit down and write.

  30. Eli says:

    A very wise, young friend of mine advised that I read a wonderfully entertaining–if also depressing–book called “The Game.” I’m sure subsequent editions of the book will explain exactly how to “peacock”, “neg”, and seal the deal through the text message, but, Kip, I think your post and the book get at similar points: communication is about much more than what we say. It’s also how we say it or, as in the cases you site, how we don’t.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *