Let me guess, you were messaging back and forth, things were going great… but then suddenly, you got left on read.
We’ve all been there, and yes, it absolutely sucks. Especially when you really like someone…
Whether it’s the dreaded double blue ticks, or message ‘seen’… it was likely something YOU said, or something they did that has resulted in a long interlude of tumble weed standing in the way of your conversation.
And what happens? You find yourself acting like a mentalist… pacing back and forth, and performing the death stare at your phone every 10 seconds. All the while praying for a notification to flash up on your phone to end the misery…
But two hours quickly turns into six. And by this point, you’re tired from excessive pacing. So after performing enough steps to complete a marathon, it’s time to decide what to do next.
You have two options here:
1. Hit panic button, assume the worst, and send a long psychotic double text. Do this, and you’ll likely end all hopes of ever seeing this person again.
2. Read this article for a more sensible solution…
Still with me? Good.
In these situations it’s easy to doubt yourself, jump to negative conclusions, or over analyse the last message you sent…. but please don’t. At least not for now…
Why have you been left on read?
First off, you need to understand why you’ve been left on read.
There are many reasons why people don’t message back straight away – some harmless (which I hope is the case for you), and others… a little more sinister.
So before you jump the gun, let’s look at 10 common reasons why this person you like might’ve seen your text, and not replied.
Reason 1: They’re genuinely busy
We all live busy lives. People tend not to check their phones all that often whilst working the 9-5 grind. Why? Because it looks unprofessional.
So be patient and respect work boundaries. Because chances are they’ll get back to you once they’re finished for the day.
It’s worth looking back at your old messages to take note of when they text you most frequently (It will likely be around 7-10pm). So in the future, stick to texting them during this time frame.
Friday and Saturday nights are also best to be avoided. Most people are out socialising and partying with friends. So adjust your texting patterns to within socially acceptable hours to avoid your messages being left on read again.
Best rule of thumb whenever someone ghosts you or leaves you on seen is to wait at least 24 hours before sending a reply.
By waiting 24 hours this shows you have self discipline and are emotionally stable enough to be considered “date-worthy”.
If you reply any earlier than 24 hours, this can raise red flags. Especially if you go full blown psycho and give em shit for not replying to you earlier!
So 24 hours. Stick to it. And hopefully within this time, they’ll get back to you.
Reason 2. They got distracted
Read receipts don’t necessarily mean the person you like is ignoring you.
We all have countless (annoying) distractions hitting up our phones every damn minute – IG, Twitter, FB, Snapchat and now Tik Tok if you’re not a dinosaur like me…
These social media apps are fighting for your attention. So it’s easy to get distracted and forget message someone back.
For example, a trending meme or a video of a kid yodelling in Walmart is likely to catch your attention more than a text message. Just sayin’.
So again, the reason you’ve been left on read could be harmless. It’s always best to assume this is the case otherwise your mind might spiral to worst case scenarios.
One good way to ‘jog their memory’ to get back to you is to post an Instagram story.
Why? Because if they watch your story, this will likely spring them into action to reply to your last text. WITHOUT you having to awkwardly send a double text…
Remember, you’re competing for their attention just like all the other social media apps and news feeds. So be creative and try to grab them with a different form of medium. And no, this doesn’t mean sending a dick pic or a sexy lingerie shot.
Reason 3. There’s no real urgency for them to get back to you
Look at the last message you sent – did your text warrant a reply?
If not, then there’s probably no real reason for them to reply straight away.
Maybe the conversation naturally fizzled out. If so, that’s fine! Even if your last text included a question, don’t worry.
Just wait 24 hours, and re-engage with something new. Change the subject entirely with ZERO mention of the last conversation you had. This’ll help wipe the slate clean.
However, if things did in fact end on a cliff hanger, then maybe the issue runs a little deeper…
Because if the last message you sent was time sensitive. i.e you were trying to fix up a date for tomorrow and needed a quick response…. Then maybe the reason they haven’t replied is because they’re not interested…
If so, please don’t worry. Because later I’ll give you some great tips on how to win them back.
In the meantime lets look at a few other reasons why you might’ve been left on read 🙂
Reason 4. You’re more invested in the relationship than they are
This one requires deeper analysis. I need you to scroll through your messages from the last week or so…
How much effort do you put in compared to them? Are you sending long paragraph texts whilst they only send one or two word replies?
Or, do you share memes on IG but they never return the favour?
Maybe the investment levels in your relationship are unbalanced. You’re more into them than they are into you….
This can be a bitter pill to swallow. But it’ll at least give you some kind of closure as to why they might’ve left you on read.
Maybe they have other options, they’re hedging their bets, or they’re worried things are turning too serious.
Which brings us onto reason numero 5.
Reason 5: Things are getting too serious
Sometimes it’s a reality check when you notice the other person you’re dating is heavily invested.
Why? Because people have commitment issues. And depending on where they’re at in life, the thought of a serious relationship can scare a lot of people off.
And when people sense this, the default reaction is to ghost. Because this is the easiest way to cool things off.
If you’ve noticed yourself over texting but haven’t dated this person long, you can easily salvage the situation.
Just tone it down on the texting, and try to match their investment level. It needs to be 50/50. If they send two texts, send two back. etc etc.
But if you’ve been dating a while, then maybe it’s a good time to ‘have the chat’ and find out what you both want.
Because if they’re not ready to commit, they might not be worth your time…
You can’t convince someone to date you exclusively. So if they’re not ready it might be best to move on to the next. To find someone who is willing to give 100%.
Reason 6: Your texts are boring
Another hard pill to swallow – maybe you’ve got shit chat?
No matter how good looking you are, if your text messages don’t grab them, they’re not gonna be excited or compelled to get back to you!
If you play it safe, you’re gonna get friend zoned.
The idea is to flirt – be fun, and tease each other senseless. You want to get your crush fired up to date you…..to meet you in person. This is the ultimate end goal!
So if you ask mundane, boring questions, and provide deathly dull updates about your life, of course they’re gonna stop messaging you.
Reason 7: You said something that upset them
Was it something you said that annoyed them?
Look back at the last interaction you had. Did you say something insensitive? Was a joke not well received? Or did you forget to do something they specifically asked?
Sometimes we as humans are selfish, and forget people have feelings. And banter can sometimes be misinterpreted. So try and work out what you did wrong (if anything) and apologise if needed.
But DON’T message them saying “is everything OK?” or “are you alright?”
This basically implies, “Am I losing you?”
If you think you said something that upset them, look to change the subject. And apologise later.
Otherwise, assume the default rule – wait 24 hours before messaging them again.
Reason 8: The first date didn’t go well
Be honest with yourself. Did the first date really go to plan? Or was it a train wreck?
Because if you’ve been left on read shortly after the date, then it’s likely you did something (or didn’t do something) on the date that turned them off.
Statistically speaking, most people ghost or turn cold shortly after the first date. i.e. once they can gauge enough about the other person to know if they want to see them again.
And first impressions matter greatly. So if you’re getting the cold shoulder within 7 days of the first date, then it might be wise to move onto the next.
If this is the case, don’t beat yourself up about it. You’re not gonna get on with everyone!
Dating is very much a numbers game. So don’t take it to heart if you’ve they’ve gone cold shortly after the date. There are plenty of people out there who will like you for you.
Reason 9: You’re not their priority
Whats the back story between you both. Did you meet in a bar or club? Is their ex still on the scene?
Why do I ask? Because you need to be smart about this. If you’ve vetted them during the early stages of dating, then you should be able to answer the following questions:
1. Are they a party girl / boy?
2. Do they have a reputation for sleeping around i.e. they have options
3. Are they over their ex?
4. Are their mates all single and going out a lot?
5. Have they recently updated their Tinder / bumble profile.
Because maybe the reason they haven’t got back to you is something out of your control. i.e. there’s someone else.
It’s horrible to assume the worst. But if you’ve been dating a while, you should try to think of the bigger picture as to why they might’ve gone cold….
Because if it’s not the first time you’ve been left on read by this person, and you’ve noticed them taking hours or even DAYS to respond, then it might be time to re-evaluate your dating strategy.
Reason 10: They’re not interested
Again this one is highly subjective. And depends on how long you’ve been dating…
But if you’ve noticed a growing trend of hearing the awkward sound of crickets every time you text, then maybe you should get the hint.
Unfortunately leaving someone on read, or ‘ghosting’ as it’s commonly now called, is the most preferable way people choose to cool things off.
Because ghosting is a very non confrontational way to imply you’re not interested. Rather than having to have an awkward, long drawn out conversation about feelings (or lack thereof).
Yes, it’s cowardly but if you haven’t dated each other for long, then they don’t owe much of an explanation. So why twist the knife?
But hey, let’s not assume the worst. Because this might not be the case! As I said, it’s highly subjective, and if you’ve read this far, you’ll know there are a multitude of reason why you could’ve been left on seen.
So rather than burn bridges and perform any of the following:
– Beg for them back
– Express your feelings over text
– Make false accusations, or
– Call them out for not messaging you back…
Let’s look at a better way to respond.
Because if you finish on a good note it will always leave the door open for a second chance. Whether that’s 1 week from now, or several months down the line.
Being left on read is a good test of your emotional stability. So to avoid looking like a psycho, here’s how NOT to get red flagged:
What to do when left on read
Hopefully you’ve worked out where you might’ve been going wrong…. and whether or not your unanswered message was just a harmless first time encounter.
Whatever the situation maybe, it’s important to NOT panic.
The first step is to wait it out at least 24 hours before doing anything. This will give the person you like enough time to (hopefully) reply in the meantime.
If after 24 hours they STILL haven’t got back to you, then either:
- Post an Instagram story to indirectly get their attention and ‘jog their memory’ to get back to you. Or
- Reset the frame by sending a fun, light hearted text with zero mention of your previous interaction.
By resetting the frame with something positive and LOL, this will help relieve any awkwardness and remove the guilt of them not messaging you back any sooner.
And by replying in a fun, nonchalant manner this will show you aren’t butt hurt about being on left on seen.
Meme’s generally go down very well as a first message to send after being ghosted. So scroll your IG feed accordingly!
Oh and if you found yourself guilty of over texting, then make sure to tone down your waffling once you receive a reply again 😉
Remember, you want to match their investment level to avoid them running for the hills.
What happens if you get left on read AGAIN?
If you STILL haven’t received a response it might be worth moving on.
You should value your time and have some self respect. If someone isn’t willing to give you the time of day, ask yourself – are they really worth it?
But if you DO want to try one last time, then make sure you wait at least 7 days before re-engaging again. Ideally longer….
Basically, you want to allow enough time for the dust settle. And 7+ days will be long enough for the other person to start wondering about you…
Because by suddenly NOT hearing from you, they might start to realise how much they miss you and value your company.
So by applying a ‘no contact rule’ this can really help switch the dynamic and get the relationship back on track.
Wrapping it up
Whatever happens, try to avoid any awkward confrontation unless you feel like you deserve a valid explanation . i.e. you’ve been dating each other a long time.
But if you never hear back from them, try not to beat yourself up.
Consider it their loss – no doubt they’ll later come to regret it…
The important thing is to go out with your head held high. Don’t let a rejection knock your confidence.
Being left on read happens to the best of us! So brush it off, protect your ego and find someone else who’s willing to give 100%. You deserve nothing less!