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Why People May Not Answer Your Calls or Texts

Updated on October 29, 2019
lambservant profile image

Lori values relationships and is always seeking ways to improve communication skills.

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With modern technology, we have become spoiled at getting things quickly, even instantly. Email, social media, and texting have created a lifestyle of impersonal communication. We don't talk to each other enough, either by the phone or face to face. Most people I know say they hate talking on the phone, some also hate texting. On the other hand, too many are addicted to their phones. You cannot go anywhere without seeing people staring at or scrolling or texting. We've forgotten how to be present in the moment.

One thing that is very common is people get impatient when their phone calls and texts aren't answered quickly. They take offense, get agitated, and let it ruin their lives for the day. But there are many plausible reasons why someone doesn't respond to your messages quickly. Then there are reasons you will never fully understand. Follow along and find some answers.

Dead Zones

If someone isn't answering your texts or phone calls, it might be they are in a dead zone location, a spot where you just can't get enough reception to send or receive messages.

People traveling will often hit areas where there is no reception. Consider these:

  • The Mountainous
  • The countryside
  • The desert
  • The ocean
  • Long stretches of highway through farmland
  • Forested areas
  • Most state and national parks
  • Anywhere there aren't towers close by

If you know someone is going to be someplace where there is a risk of getting no signal, be patient.

You are not going to get cell service in a national park such as Yosemite.
You are not going to get cell service in a national park such as Yosemite. | Source

Lost Charge or Charger

My phone loses it's full charge more quickly than I like. If I don't fully charge before I leave the house and I am gone for a long period of time, it will run out.

Sometimes I lose or forget my charger at home. My car charger is of poor quality and takes forever to charge my phone.

Some people are careless about not charging.

If you know this about a friend or family member, then there is probably nothing you can do about it. But just keeping it in mind might prevent anxiety.

Lost or Damaged Phone

Someone could lose or damage their phone at any time, any place. Here are some mishaps I've had.

  • Dropped my phone on a hard surface.
  • Dropped it in some source of water (I once dropped a phone in a glass of water).
  • Left it in the sun too long.
  • Left it at home.
  • It fell under the car seat or somewhere else in the car.
  • Misplaced it at home or somewhere else's home you were at.
  • Left it at a location just visited.
  • Left it in a public restroom (I once entered a stall and found someone's iPhone on top of a low shelf next to the commode. Ew.
  • Left it in a grocery cart, church pew, classroom, meeting, etc.
  • Accidentally dropped it in the trash and didn't know it.
  • Set it on top of your car and drove off.
  • It fell out of your purse or you dropped it and it went sailing under something where it was hard to reach.
  • Keep these things in mind as it is likely to happen to everyone who uses their phones almost everywhere they are.

People are Busy

People have lives. They get busy and can't or don't want to respond because they are doing something important to them.

  • At the doctor or getting medical tests.
  • Out shopping.
  • At church.
  • At school.
  • Dining with co-workers, friends, or family.
  • Enjoying some recreation.
  • Helping a sick or needy family member or friend.
  • At work.
  • In a meeting.
  • They are driving. It is against the law and dangerous to use a phone while driving.

Allow people to have a life. If your message is not urgent, don't get worked up. Not everything is about you. It isn't a rejection of you, they are just busy and will get back to you.

The person you messaged might be at the dentist.
The person you messaged might be at the dentist. | Source

Illness or Adversity

When people are sick, they may not be up to talking or texting. It is the same way if they are going through some difficulties and having a hard time coping. Here are some examples:

  • Influenza.
  • Post-surgical.
  • Hospitalized.
  • Injury involving lots of pain.
  • Cancer (the treatments are often equal to or worse than cancer itself).
  • Any other illness that drains energy, causes pain, fever. and weakness.
  • May be depressed. If they can't get out of bed they don't usually have the energy to talk or type.
  • A family or some other emergency.
  • An accident or car breakdown.
  • They've been going through a tough trial, or series of trials and just don't feel like conversing.

If someone is too depressed to get out of bed, they are not going to be up to talking or texting.
If someone is too depressed to get out of bed, they are not going to be up to talking or texting. | Source

Personal and Relationship Issues

I wrote this article a couple of years ago and was inundated with comments and questions about why a boyfriend, girlfriend, or friend was not answering your messages. I found it annoying and took down the article. I am rewriting it and disabling the comments. I had no way of knowing why their friends weren't responding, but what I learned is that people have a lot of insecurities, are immature, and needy and cannot cope with waiting for a response. Here are some things to think about:

  • You have offended them but they are not up to confronting you.
  • They are avoiding you because you are demanding in your relationship. It may be subtle and you don't recognize it, or it may be glaringly apparent and you don't care.
  • You've had an argument and they are not up to talking.
  • Your expectations are too high for the other party.
  • They are lazy about or do not like using their phones.
  • They may just be flaky people who don't care.
  • They might be otherwise engaged with others.
  • They may be trying to get back to you from some slight.
  • It is important to be honest with yourself and be willing to take stock of your relationships and your own behavior and make some changes.
  • If you have a tendency to carry on long conversations via text it becomes tedious for people to have to type and type and they get tired of it.
  • You may like to keep talking and talking on the phone and they want to talk for a short amount of time.
  • Some people just don't like to communicate at all. It's not personal, they just don't like communicating with anyone.
  • You may be barraging them with constant messages, or someone else is and they are tired of it.

How You Should Respond to the Absence of Their Reply

If you find yourself impatient, disgruntled, or downright ticked off when someone doesn't respond to your messages right away, it is important to consider the many possibilities above. Drama is not the answer. Drama means angry confrontations, pouting, telling friends, bad-mouthing them to others, especially on social media. These are not appropriate behaviors and reflect immaturity. Not only that, but you are putting a huge amount of stress on yourself. You could be doing something useful or satisfying rather than being consumed with your anxiety. Don't let delayed responses or no responses rob you of a good life. I realize there are times where it is very important to speak with someone and I understand why anxiety arises in those situations. Formulate a game plan ahead of time. Be gracious to them and to yourself.

© 2019 Lori Colbo

Comments

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    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      3 weeks ago from Pacific Northwest

      Dear Brian, I love your honesty. I think the pervasive problem of telemarketing has caused most people to ignore calls with unfamiliar numbers, especially when we see their area codes. I wish the laws would change to prevent that. I am with you. If we are not sure about the Identity of a caller, they can leave a voicemail.

      I see you are from Bainbridge Island. There is another hubber from there but I can't remember which one. I am in the Gig Harbor area, so howdy neighbor. God bless you and thanks for writing.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      3 weeks ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      Telephoning gives me the creeps—I don't know why. It takes me a long time to get up the nerve to make even a simple, no problem, call and a long time after to ease my anxiety. I've read that phone anxiety is common among introverts. I generally avoid making or answering calls, figuring a caller will leave a voice mail that I can answer when I get up the nerve or by text or email.Decades ago I stopped answering any calls from numbers not on my Caller ID, since most such calls are from phone pests and scammers.I don't mind promptly answering phone texts from acquaintances. When I don't, maybe I didn't hear my phone alerting me, or I was driving, or in a conversation, or at church, or napping.

      When I delay answering a text or an email, I'm satisfied with my excuses; when others don't reply soon to my texts or emails, I feel snubbed plus imagine worst case catastrophies.

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      3 weeks ago from Pacific Northwest

      Eric, $350 is a significant chunk of change but considering the seriousness of what goes on in a courtroom, it seems fair.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Good points, Lori. My phone disconnects from Wi-Fi every time I complete a call or text. I'm missing many calls. Diagnosis: Simply old.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 

      3 weeks ago

      Generally speaking if someone (wants) to get in contact with you they will make the time to do so.

      Barring any fallouts, injuries, or emergencies most people have their own priorities as to whom they will contact first..etc.

      Once you've texted or left a voicemail the ball is their court.

      It's not worth investing too much time trying to figure out why they haven't responded or called you. Continue living your life.

      "Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."

      - Oscar Wilde

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      3 weeks ago from Norfolk, England

      Yes, there are many reasons why people may not be able to answer a call. It frustrates me though that people tend to spend so much time on their phones rather than engaging with people.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      I think you've covered every eventuality (and quite a few that I'd never thought of). Isn't it odd that 20 years ago we functioned just fine without phones and now it's as though they need to be surgically removed from our grip.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Great article with some valid points about, why someone may not answer your calls or messages.

      Nowadays, there is too much dependence on phones. And, for some it’s an addiction. There is no harm, or to get panicked, if the phones or messages are not answered immediately.

      I belong to that age group, when we were comfortable without phones. Writing letters, or receiving other’s letters was a wonderful experience.

      An engaging and interesting article. Enjoyed the read.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      Many of those things you listed that can happen to phones has happened to me. Thank gooness I have a hard case on my phone as I can't remember how many times I have dropped it. There's no one I would be too stressed about if they did not promptly answer me. I suppose that would not me true if I had a true emergency. You covered this topic very thoroughly, Lori.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I understand that distracted driving through a phone is now killing or injuring more people than drunk driving. (probably an exaggeration but if it is close omg)

      "Eric, the phone is not your boss." Thank you mother.

      I have spent hours arranging for two CEO's to talk with a government official. You don't just get to call successful people up. Or is that successful people don't just pick up.

      $350 dollar fine for a lawyer whose phone goes off in court.

      Some people get all bothered about what is texted, I get bothered that it was texted.

      Oops sorry, I go a little crazy on this issue.

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