Other users must enable these settings on their end for you to see the status of text messages that you send to them. Aksana Nikolai is a graduate of the New York Institute of Technology with a bachelor's degree in language studies and international affairs. Nikolai is currently working in online marketing and communications. She has been writing since , specializing in made-for-Web content and maintaining her fashion and beauty blog. Skip to main content.
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References 1 Apple: iPhone User Guide. Forshee explains that current research shows that cellphone usage is directly related to relationship satisfaction. Our cell phones allow us to communicate with one another even when we're apart, creating the feeling of attachment even at a distance. Read receipts can make that connection stronger, or more tenuous. Rezz Dennis hosts Textually Active , a podcast about dating and relationships in the digital age, and she uses her read receipts more intentionally.
It helped her to know when a conversation was happening. It's like on AIM when you could see that someone was online. You know that now is a good time to chat. This is because a lot of texting in committed relationships doesn't require a well thought-out response.
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The texts are more schematic: What time is the party we agreed to go to? Are we out of Pop Tarts? Is your trip Tuesday or Wednesday? One person I spoke with told me that she and her sister turned on their mother's read receipts without telling her, so that they would know she had read important messages like what time her daughter was landing at the airport.
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My husband and I both have read receipts on, but a few weeks ago he turned his off for everyone in his phone, and forgot to turn them back on for me. Usually if I text him while he is at work, he will read it, but probably not have time to respond to it. My text that says something basic like "I want Chipotle for dinner" gets read, and I know he'll respond to it when he can. It took me almost a week to realize he'd turned them off, because I usually don't pay that much attention to them. I have my read receipts on for everyone. But one day, he hadn't "seen" any of my messages in more than six hours.
I knew he was supposed to be on a construction site that day, and immediately my mind began to spiral. Considering I had all but assumed he was dead because he hadn't looked at the video of our dumb dog catching a snowball in her mouth, this seems accurate. The danger zone for read receipts is in early or insecure relationships. There's a reason Tinder and Bumble don't show you when someone has looked at your message. The read receipt creates a narrative.
That's part of why they are so controversial. Some people absolutely hate read receipts and think they will kill all conversation , others me think they're fine and helpful in certain contexts.
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Early on in a relationship or crush, though, you have no idea where the other person stands. Reading a message with read receipts on, Forshee says, is a form of nonverbal intentional behavior. In a new relationship, though, that intention is unclear. Are read receipts on to increase transparency? Are they off to hide something?
Do they get turned on at some point as a signal of intimacy? The read receipts on their own say something. One woman told me that she has all of her read receipts on because she wants the men she dates to know that she has seen their message and chosen not to respond. If they aren't saying something that advances the conversation, she wants them to know she saw it and chose not to say anything. They'll ask me like 'do you know these are on? I like them. Over the course of reporting this piece, I brought up the premise to dozens of people at bars and parties about whether they had their read receipts turned on.
Everyone, regardless of where they stand, seems to understand why someone would have them off or on, but remains firmly unconvinced to change themselves.
Brad, a single man who works in consulting, told me that he absolutely hated when girls he messaged didn't have them on. Otherwise, I'm like stuck in this gray zone. Of the 12 people who are currently single whom I spoke to, seven of them four women and three men wanted the people they were dating to turn on their read receipts, but did not want to turn on their own. This, they felt, would give them an advantage, extra knowledge. There is power in keeping your own feelings close to your chest while someone else displays their vulnerability.
Read receipts are divisive, controversial and can be easily misread. They can also help you communicate more effectively…. Therapists agree that the best way to deal with read receipts is to have a conversation about them as early on in a relationship as possible. They can also help you communicate more effectively if both parties mutually agree to them — or mutually decide against them.
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Healthy relationships require freedom. Erin texted to follow up a few weeks after we first spoke. She'd broken down and told her boyfriend that he'd unknowingly turned on read receipts.
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She was right after all; he hadn't known they were on. Sadly, though, the truth came out in the midst of a break-up. The read receipts, she says, had nothing to do with it. Ultimately, the read receipt, no matter how convenient or vexing, is not going to change the course of human communication.
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