In today's world, where it feels like everyone's on their phone at all times, someone taking hours to reply to your text can feel like a straight-up diss. Like, hello! You're obviously on your phone (because who isn't 24/7?), so why aren't you replying? Is that just me, or do people actually not care how long you wait to text back? I did some research, and according to three relationship experts, people absolutely do care how long it takes someone they're romantically interested in to reply to them. But they also say that if someone takes long to reply, it doesn't automatically mean they're purposely ignoring you or that they're not that into you.
"People definitely keep their eyes on the clock when it comes to texting," relationship and etiquette expert April Masini tells Elite Daily. "The text-back rate is used to indicate interest in the relationship. This is especially true when the relationship is new. If someone texts back right away, that text back rate indicates interest! If someone waits a day or a week to text back, that text back rate indicates an absence of interest." As you get to know someone better and get more adjusted to their texting style, you may start to understand why they take long, but in the beginning it may feel like they don't want to talk to you — which may not be the case.
"Sometimes people are at work or busy and need to focus," life coach Nina Rubin tells Elite daily. Dating coach and relationship expert James Preece echoes Rubin. "Don't rush to conclusions if this is the first time it's happened," he tells Elite Daily. "People do get busy and life can get in the way. Some people are just talkers rather than texters. If it happens a lot, then it could well be that they aren't as keen as you." In an ideal world, instead of someone taking hours or days to reply, they would just tell you they're not that interested. But until that world is a reality, reading someone's texting style can give you an idea about how they feel (or don't feel) about you.
Whether or not someone texts back quickly doesn't necessarily matter, Preece says. What really matters is whether or not they're being respectful toward you. "It's common to wait a period of time to reply in order to give the impression they are in demand and so, they don't come across as being too keen," he says. "The problem is when the other person takes equally as long to respond. This leads to a very stilted conversation that risks both parties losing interest." So, while it may be tempting to play at their game and also take long to reply (LOL, been there, done that), it may be in the budding relationship's best interest to be the bigger person and reply when you see it.
If it really bothers you that the person you're texting is taking a long time to reply, however, it may be hard to be the bigger person and reply quickly. A slower rate of texting back can create hurt feelings and spark rejection in some people, Masini says. So, if someone taking hours to reply to you is actually affecting you emotionally, Preece advises you talk to them about it. "It's better to nip it in the bud early rather than build resentment and risking ruining the relationship."
"It would certainly be easier if they’d simply say (write) their truth than string their dates along with short texts and lengthy response times," Rubin says. But until people decided to start doing that instead of just taking forever to answer, all you can really do is wait, talk to them about it, and if you want to, play them at their own game. But try to keep in mind that them taking long doesn't automatically mean they're not into you. Consider giving them the benefit of the doubt.