Is It Rude Not To Reply To A Text Message?


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So, you didn’t reply to a text message and you’re concerned that it was rude. The following question plays on your mind, is it rude not to reply to a text message?

Yes, it is rude not to reply to a text message because, in reality, it only takes a few seconds to compose and send a reply. It’s common courtesy, especially when someone takes the time to reach out to you. However, there are exceptions to this rule and we will discuss them below. 

Understandably, we all use our phones to varying degrees. Some, more so than others. 

In answering this question, I would be remiss not to mention that I fall into the category of individuals who do not value online communication as much as I do in person. 

In fact, my disregard for online communication has often cost me friendships and potential relationships.

To me, I never considered it real or a representation of my intention to communicate whereas to others, it does. 

That’s an important factor to consider.

Depending on the person you are communicating with via text message, they may or may not consider your lack of replies to be rude. 

So, when answering the question, is it rude not to reply to a text message, you have to address it on a case-by-case basis depending on the individual in question, the circumstances of the text and the nature of the relationship.

If you’re ignoring a text message from your boss about a deadline, ignoring that text message will not only be rude but unprofessional and uncourteous.

Your lack of communication could cost someone money and that is undeniably problematic. 

On the flip side, ignoring someone you chat to on occasion who sends you memes doesn’t matter all that much.

They may or may not consider it rude.

Does it matter, though?

Here’s the thing, the nature of texting dictates that when one receives a text, the corresponding action is to send a reply. 

By this definition, not replying to a text message is rude, irrespective of the circumstances. But, the follow-up questions would be this – Do you care? Does the other person care? 

If neither of you care, then there’s no problem.

Even if it’s rude, it has no effect on either party and creates no consequence.

It’s as simple as that. 

With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the situations when it is rude not to reply to a text message. 

Related post: What to do when someone ignores your text

If you’d prefer to listening to this article, check out my YouTube video directly below.

1. It’s a business message

There’s great value and appreciation for punctuality in business.

It’s almost an unspoken rule of thumb because it shows professional courtesy, reliability and a willingness to put in an effort. 

When you discard all of these attributes by not replying to a text message, you’re setting a poor precedent that can work against you in the future.

This is especially true when your lack of communication is in response to a manager or your boss.

Rather than just come across as rude, you put yourself in a position of being viewed as unreliable.

Would any boss or management praise or offer opportunities to an employee who can’t even reply to a text message that ends up slowing down work performance or costing the company time and money? 

I don’t think so. 

For this reason, I tend to keep a number strictly for business. 

By doing this, I can drown out the possibility of being inundated with unnecessary text messages.

Thus, my ability to reply to any and all work inquiries are unmatched. 

Related post: Why am I unreliable?

2. It’s a life or death situation

When someone needs help because they’re stuck in a dire situation, it’s not just rude but awful to ignore their text message.

They aren’t messaging you out of boredom, they need help. 

You may not be able to help but a simple reply will save them precious time to find someone who can.

Just think about this for a second – if you needed help because of an emergency, would you want to be ignored by those you reach out to for help? 

Very rarely can you justify ignoring a text message from someone who is dealing with a traumatic experience and needs your help.

The bare minimum of what you could do is reply to them. 

3. Your loved one is missing you or is checking up on you

You don’t have to reply straight away, especially if you have things to do and that’s okay. But, it’s a sweet and thoughtful gesture.

These are the people who genuinely care about you, why wouldn’t you want to reply to them? 

I notice that people, including myself, tend to take for granted those who we have in our lives without fear of losing them. 

The problem is that we will lose them one way or another.

That’s just the way life works. 

Are you going to be okay with the fact that you chose to ignore someone who cares about you when they sent you a text message to check up on you? 

It’s rude to ignore a text message from a friend or family member who just misses you and wants to make sure you’re okay.  

They don’t have an ulterior motive behind texting you. They just care and that’s such a selfless and considerate thing to do.

Why would you respond in a rude way by not responding at all?

It would make you appear to not care about them or their feelings. 

Even if you take all day to reply to them, it’s okay. But, do it. 

4. You’re not busy at all

If you have the time and this is someone you actually have a good relationship with, whether it be personal or professional, why would you ignore them?

Don’t you think it’s especially rude to not reply to a text message when you could? 

When it comes to texting, there will obviously be instances when you can’t or don’t reply to someone. 

It may seem rude but when you have a justification for not replying, it negates any negative connotations to ignoring a text.

In this case, you’re choosing not to reply. So, yes, it’s definitely rude. 

5. Someone is trying to confide in you

Being vulnerable and opening up to others about our struggles is not an easy thing to do. People tend to bottle up their emotions out of fear of being judged, rejected or ignored.

When someone is desperate to open up and share something that is important or bothering them, it’s common courtesy to at least reply.

It’s the decent and kind thing to do. 

Imagine if the situation was flipped and you were the one who never got a reply to a text message from you that was important. 

Would you feel okay about that? Would it hurt you?

It would. 

What I’m about to say may sound melodramatic but it’s true.

Replying to a sensitive text message could save a life. 

You don’t know who is hanging on by a thread and a simple text message reply could actually help them find some comfort and support needed to move forward. 

6. They’re trying to do you a favor

As weird as this sounds, I’ve encountered people who will text me for help, I’ll do everything I can and when they get what they need, I won’t hear back from them.

Suddenly, they’re too ‘busy’ to reply. And, I’ll be honest, I’ve found this to be rude.

I’ve actually seen friendships end for this reason.

When you stop making an effort to reply to text messages from someone who goes out of their way to help you, it often makes them feel used.

Just remember what this person has done for you the next time you consider ignoring a text message from them.

When it isn’t rude to not reply to a text message

Remember how we spoke about circumstances dictating whether a lack of replies is rude or not? Well, these are the instances when it is not rude to not reply to a text message. Let’s discuss them in detail.

1. When you are unavailable

There will be times when you are so busy or occupied that you’re unable to get to your phone and that’s okay.

Being unavailable is an excusable reason or justification for not replying to a text message.

Just like how you can’t be in two places at one time, it’s unreasonable to always expect someone to be on their phone while dealing with everyday life.

You may even forget to reply because of how busy you are.

Someone who is sensitive might get offended by this but they have no choice but to accept that you were simply unavailable at the time.

2. When you need time to think

When I was younger, impulsivity seemed to rule my life. I did more talking than thinking and this landed me in a lot of avoidable trouble.

Since then, I’ve consciously made the decision to think before I speak.

Some conversations dictate an extended period of reflection before they progress. Just because someone else is ready to talk, doesn’t mean you are.

Similarly, what they’ve said may require you to think for some time before you reply.

In such a case, it’s not rude to not reply to a text message when you need more time to ponder about how you feel.

One could argue that you are doing them a favor by taking long to reply.

3.When you are being stalked

A lot of women tend to face this problem online and I have to say, I completely sympathize with you.

It can be frustrating and overwhelming when someone keeps texting you despite you having no interest in them.

This can apply to anyone but if you’re being stalked by someone online or harassed with constant messages, ignoring them is the right thing to do, especially when they refuse to listen to reason.

Don’t waste your time anymore. Just ignore them. Whether it’s rude or not doesn’t matter.

You have no obligation to reply to a stranger or someone you don’t want in your life.

If they don’t get the message and won’t respect your wishes of not contacting you, ignoring them is justifiable.

4. When you are being attacked or humiliated

Never put up with someone who is attacking your character and humiliating you.

Demand respect.

The way to do that is by selecting whether they deserve any response from you after their putrid texts and behavior.

Sometimes, the best response is no response at all.

I’ve noticed that people who are out to get you will do their best to get a rise out of you.

They’ll say terrible things to you in hopes of getting under your skin.

Not giving them that satisfaction by freezing them out will work better than anything you actually say.

So, in this case, not replying to a text is not rude at all.

5. When you are trying to move on from an ex

I don’t agree with the idea that you should be friends with your ex.

When a chapter of your life has ended, it’s best to move onto the next one without holding on to that which has passed.

It’s a difficult thing to do.

Most people who struggle to move on from the past understand what I’m talking about.

You have no choice but to ignore your ex because remaining in contact with them will only add fuel to your loneliness, sadness, depression or pain.

For the sake of your own happiness and well-being, ignoring your ex is the best thing to do.

It’s the right thing to do for both of you, especially if there’s absolutely no room for reconciling.

Related post: Is it immature to ignore your ex?

In conclusion

There are many instances when it is rude not to reply to a text message and you may have to make amends to those who get offended.

I believe that it’s definitely something that can be fixed but it can have negative consequences in your life.

As we discussed earlier, the last thing you want to do is ignore a text from someone your love or from your employer.

If you do, I highly recommend that you reach out as soon as you can to express your sincere apologies as well as a reason for why you didn’t reply.

Be that as it may, there are instances when not replying to a text message is not rude.

In fact, we could argue that these circumstances dictate silence on your part.

With that being said, I hope you enjoyed this article on whether it’s rude to ignore a text message. Feel free to leave your thoughts or questions in the comment section below and we can keep the conversation going.

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