Did you get my message? Uhm, well did you?

Did you get my message?

The etiquette on how quickly to return texts and other messages depends more upon who sent it more than when it was sent.

I like attending weddings when they're not mine. To be fair, I've only had one but I was so busy making sure everyone else had a good time. And shortly after we returned from the Honeymoon, my bride was prompt in sending out Thank You notes. The etiquette is one year, though Italians usually don't give wedding gifts, we give money. Colloquially known as "ah boost," that cash always warrants instant "Thank You's."  
     Social media has changed the expected time of response to all messages to immediately. So what I do often think about is the accepted response order when returning a Facebook message, voicemail, text or email. For me, texts take precedence. Which text gets the first reply depends upon my relationship to the sender. My child commands the fastest response time. I think most parents would agree. I turn my phone on silent on dates, though there have been times where one or both parties have evoked the "Gotta' take this. It's my kid" rule.
     Who gets the returned message next is a bit tougher. Imagine this: it's 10:30 on a Sunday morning, you're at Home Depot wandering the aisles hoping to remember the item you so urgently went there for in the first place.  You look down to see you have two texts. One's from your boss the other from your significant other. Tough choice -- or maybe not? And then everyone else files into a pecking order that only you have in your head.
     The matter of how quickly you need to respond to a message is far more perplexing. So with all things being equal, and you're not in bed, a meeting, a plane or at a funeral, how long do you wait to return a non-urgent call, email or text?  If you don't hear back from a text you send me within 15 minutes; a call within an hour; and an email within a day, then you should notify the local authorities. But I don't expect the same turnaround as I'm joined at the hip with my laptop and smartphone. 
     When it comes to dating or spouses, the rules of message reply are at their strictest. As men, we've come to accept how "dinner at seven" doesn't really mean seven. Now I know that both men and women are guilty of this but the double standard is definitely in effect  The same way it's never acceptable for a man to ask a woman her age, I believe now it's never acceptable for a man to ask why a woman why she never replied as they work harder and have more to do than men. Fact. No matter because women tend to adhere to the "I reply, when I have time to reply, of course" etiquette.
     What I find disheartening is how we've come to accept that our texts, emails, and phone calls  don't warrant an immediate response, or worse, any response at all. Though it's become the preferred method, I'll never understand why the "no reply" has replaced the "No, Thank You." In truth, it has less to do with gender roles and more about involvement levels. The more connected we are when we're together with the message sender, in general, the faster we respond when we're apart.
       
     So now if I don't receive a response from someone I care for, I don't worry. Instead, I delete their contact information. Unspoken messages travel the swiftest. I'm often amazed how quickly some then respond, and how pleased I am that some never do.

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