Do you suffer from anxiety when someone doesn’t text back?
We’ve all been there, staring at or constantly checking our phones anxiously waiting for someone to reply to a text.
When it makes you anxious, however, this is bordering on unhealthy and can cause you mental anguish and put a strain on your relationships.
Texting anxiety is a very real condition that is recognized by therapists worldwide.
Here is a look at what it means to suffer from texting anxiety, why it affects some people, and most importantly, what you can do to get over your own anxiety when someone doesn’t text back:
Why Do I Get Anxiety When Someone Doesn’t Text Me Back?
There are a few reasons why you might be getting anxious when someone doesn’t text you back.
First of all, this is a condition called texting anxiety.
The core reason why texting anxiety exists is mobiles and smart devices. These devices make it possible to send and receive messages instantly, giving us instant gratification.
Instant gratification has a huge impact on our lives. When we receive something that gives us that feeling of gratification, dopamine is released.
Dopamine is a chemical in our brains that’s associated with pleasure and reward systems. So, when we’re on edge waiting for a text we’re basically waiting to receive a dopamine hit.
This is further magnified when we’re receiving texts from someone we like or we’re expecting good news.
Knowing that someone can send a message instantly and at any time creates a sense of anxiety around expecting it – and not knowing exactly when a text will arrive.
What Is Texting Anxiety?
Texting anxiety is exactly what the name implies, it’s anxiety caused by waiting for one or more texts to come in.
The symptoms are no different from general anxiety. Someone suffering from texting anxiety might show any of the following symptoms:
- Feeling restless or tense
- Having sweaty palms
- Experiencing stomach pains
- Increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly
- Having a sense that something bad is going to happen
Even though phones make a sound when a text comes in, someone with texting anxiety will still manually check if there are new texts constantly.
They may even start to make up reasons why they aren’t getting any texts. Such as having poor mobile signal, blaming their phone, and any other number of excuses.
How Likely Are You to Have Texting Anxiety?
If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety in other areas of your life, you’re much more likely to suffer from texting anxiety.
It can affect anyone though, and in this digital age where we’re almost attached to our phones 24/7, texting anxiety is becoming more common.
In fact, according to the UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center, Americans unlock their phones between 100-150 times a day on average.
That’s a lot of time spent checking our phones!
It’s easy for me to say, but we should all be trying to reduce the amount of time we spend checking our phones.
If you find yourself unable to stop checking your phone or realize you’re getting anxious waiting for texts, it’s better you take steps to address this sooner rather than later.
How to Deal With Texting Anxiety
There are a few ways you can deal with texting anxiety and lessen the anxiety you’re feeling:
1. Only Check Your Phone at Set Times
It’s hard to do, I will be the first to admit this. But you should try and commit to only checking your phone every 15 or 30 minutes or some other set interval.
The longer you can go without thinking whether you should check your phone, the less you’ll be anxious about whether there will be a text.
2. Don’t Feel Like You Have to Reply Instantly
Part of the anxiety around texting for some people is what they’re going to text back, and feeling the need to text right away.
Set a precedent with your friends and family that you’re not always going to reply right away. This will relieve some of the time pressure you may be feeling.
3. Keep Your Text Replies Short
Another way of relieving some of the pressure you may be feeling about replying to text messages is to keep them short.
Don’t use text messages as a way to have a conversation with someone, this is how things you say can easily get misinterpreted.
4. Don’t Jump to Conclusions
One of the biggest issues with text messages is trying to read between the lines and understand how someone is feeling.
Text messaging does not convey emotion, tone, gestures, or come close to replacing face-to-face conversation.
5. Move Away From Relying on Text Messages
If texting is making you anxious, the further you can remove yourself from texting the more you’ll be able to lower your anxiety.
Why not pick up the phone and call someone? Or emailing someone is also a good option as you can spend longer crafting it.
6. Practice Detaching From Your Phone
Smartphone addiction affects more than one in three adults in the US and is an ever-growing problem.
The more you can detach yourself from your phone the easier it’s going to be to lessen your anxieties, and the better you’re going to feel overall.
How Do I Stop Obsessing Over Someone Not Texting Me Back?
For a simple answer to how you stop yourself obsessing over someone not texting you back – you need to put your mind elsewhere.
The more you think about it and dwell on it, the more wound up you’re going to get.
Go outside, do some exercise, talk with friends… do whatever you have to do to take your mind off of the message you’re waiting for.
When the other person is ready to message you you’ll hear that familiar text message sound coming from your phone.
If you don’t, then it’s just not to be and you’re going to have to deal with it for the sake of your mental health.
Image credits – Photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.