Don’t Ignore Me

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I hate being ignored and it can happen in really subtle ways. Messaging makes life easy but it’s both a blessing and a curse, for an overthinker like me. Context is missing from the written word and messages that are read but not responded to, piss me off. It makes me feel ignored, insignificant, unimportant.

It taps into deep insecurities from childhood. Parents working late. Parents listening to the words but not actually hearing them. Fake responses or acknowledgements just to get me to go away or be quiet, so they could get on with work. Or worse, that “in a minute” that never arrives. Ever since I was 4 years old.

I get real hang-ups when I see messages read but don’t get a response. I’d rather the recipient looked at their notification and if they didn’t have time then and there to respond, unless it’s blatantly rhetorical, to leave the message unread.

I know that life happens and there are sometimes intentions to respond that aren’t fulfilled. I do it myself far too frequently.

But when it is mid-conversation, even one held over a day or even more, I struggle. Whilst I know internally that I’m not ‘less than,’ I still need the external validation of a response.

I’m also a completist. If things aren’t finished, they eat away at my brain. If a conversation is left hanging, I’m constantly aware of it. It interrupts other thought processes, not always consciously and certainly not by choice, but it’s always there at the back of my mind.

It also happens in other circumstances: twice this week a friend said they’d call and then didn’t. The first time I sent a message to ask what happened, and they re-arranged for the next day. That next day? Nothing, until an apology far later than the time they’d said. It really irritated me – I’d much rather they’d said they couldn’t do it, than offer twice and let me down. And the second time, there was absolutely no response or reminder I could give that didn’t make me sound like a total, passive-aggressive arsehole. I thought through all the things I could say and gave up; it was easier. But it still stung and made me feel a low priority.

And with all these things, I can tell myself it’s okay till the cows come home but it feels uncomfortable. It makes me feel that I’m clingier or needier and my overthinking kicks in… “Do I push too hard? Do I ask too much? etc…” And the answer is of course, “no.” It’s just that I don’t believe it.

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