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Read at 4:32PM


  1. The little blurb that pops up at the end of a messenger to inform the sender their message has been seen

  2. An instrument of torture for the overly analytic

I, Molly Burford, am a chronic over analyzer and read receipts are messing up my life. They’ve installed a whole new level of trust issues within me, and I’m pretty sure the damage is permanent.

The read receipt has its benefits, sure. It allows the sender to know that their message has been seen and therefore they do not have to instant message or text to make sure they got it. If they don’t ever respond after reading, you’ll assume the best; they probably got tied up. Or if it’s a repeated occurrence and the person is genuinely blowing you off, you’ll know to forget them and move on; that is assuming you’re a perfectly rational human being.

That isn’t me.

You see, when someone with a read receipt hasn’t responded (malicious or not) to my message, I will fill their silence with my own rationale, such as that they hate me. Sometimes I’ll worry that they misunderstood my message and don’t know how to respond, so sometimes I’ll try and clarify and get ignored again then feel like a psycho. Or if they do respond with “hey, sorry, got busy” I’ll feel even more insane because then I’ve become stage five clinger and hate myself. It’s a vicious cycle.

The read receipt can cause a lack of confidence in one’s communication abilities, too. As aforementioned, sometimes I’ll worry I wasn’t clear in my “hey, what’s the homework?” and in lieu of the response I’m waiting for, I’ll sometimes reread what I wrote and analyze what I reallymeant. I’m in a constant state of instability because of your damn read receipt.

The read receipt is also seductive. If you know someone uses it, you’ll sometimes want to check later on in the day if they’ve read your message. When it sits there mocking you at the bottom of the message window, you’re even more intrigued by the recipient.

Now, now, over analyzers aren’t completely unreasonable; we will allow a certain amount of time to pass before we start to indulge in our neuroses. Depending on the person you’re texting (your crush, your mom, your friend’s mom), time lapse ranges between anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours.

I have a few very good friends who employ the read receipt, and I know they’re fantastic people and that I’m sure they have their good reasons for keeping the option turned on. But, if you have the opportunity, turn that thing off; it’ll make the world a better place.

Molly Burford is an aspiring writer from a little town in Southeastern Michigan, attending Michigan State University and set to graduate in May. You can find her hanging out with her friends, scheming of ways to meet Mindy Kaling, drinking her 8th cup of coffee at 7pm in her living room, or on Twitter @mburf92.

I’m Jen Glantz. I’ve been a published writer for over 13 years, spilling my words into magazines (ranging from style to scuba diving), newspapers, websites and even this one time, a speech, for someone who didn’t speak a word of English. What drives my words, my site, my writing, is the power of relating to people. I find that many people, especially young girls, feel so alone and quite often they feel embarrassed. I want to shatter those feelings! I want them to read what I write and understand that it’s okay to be a little outside of the box, but most importantly, that it is okay to just be who they are.

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