Let’s end the read receipt debate once and for all, okay?
Also, how do you pronounce it?
by Jenn Ficarra
To be honest I've been on the fence about read receipts for a long time. On the one hand, I want to know if you've gotten my text. On the other, I want to be able to pretend that a guy not responding to me isn't because he's ghosting but because he died in a horrible car crash and therefore was unable to see my message.
Read receipts have ignited many a fiery debate amongst friends, enemies, and lovers. Even in this office, people are very opinionated about read receipts.
"Only psychopaths have read receipts," says one, while another thinks having them off if is "just rude."
But who is right? Are read receipts the mark of a known psycho or are they actually the mark of a genius, of someone who has transcended social boundaries?
I respect / fear anyone who keeps their read receipts on…
— Mia Thermopolis (@DixPeyton) March 23, 2016
Let's invent laws for having a cell phone! I'll go first: Turn your read receipts off.
— Eva Woods (@edotwoods) September 2, 2017
Obviously, there is a strong argument for having your read receipts off. Sometimes you're not a great texter and don't want someone to think you're intentionally ignoring them. Sometimes you want to be able to craft a thought out response and not be beholden to the "read at XX" ticking time bomb that now shows.
Having read receipts off is like having one small shred of privacy in this otherwise highly publicized world we've created for ourselves. We can be seen everywhere but by turning off our read receipts we can, for a short time (or forever if you're a douche) hide and not respond.
Turning them off is the only way to stay sane in this insane world.
*turns on read receipts so they know i left them on read*
— Mig (@HeyItsMiggie) September 3, 2017
What's the point of even having an iPhone if you don't have your fucking read receipts on
— Harls Ditzen🍔 (@HarleighDitz) September 2, 2017
On the other hand, having your read receipts on might cause some damage. People can see that you're blatantly ignoring them. People can see that you've read what they sent but have no inclination to answer until you feel like it. People can see that they are not the center of the uni… wait… are read receipts actually a good thing?
It's easy to get drunk on the power and pettiness of having read receipts on but what if… what if having read receipts is the thing we're supposed to be doing? Having them on eliminates all the confusion and lets you know exactly where you stand with someone. They let you know that you're priority, not priority, or not even on their fucking radar.
Sure, they can be used to hurt people's feelings and "get even" when you want to stick it to someone. Those are all immature reasons. But there's also a very mature reason for having them on — it's the rational thing to do because you're a busy human who is not attached to their phone.
Maybe turning read receipts on is the humane thing to do.
I turned my read receipts back on today because my kink is suspense and anxiety
— Simone Les (@sayyestotheles) September 3, 2017
Maybe the issue isn't having read receipts. Maybe the issue is we now live in a society where people feel obligated to get a response ASAP. People have lost their ability to be patient. We all think way too highly of ourselves to assume someone can stop what they're doing that instant to reply to your meme.
Maybe we all need to just accept that we're too accessible and having some distance is the healthy thing to do.
Maybe you want read receipts. Maybe you don't. The moral of the story is this: stop assuming people are obligated to answer you. Whether they've seen the text or not, let them respond if and when they want to.
And here's a wild and crazy suggestion — if something is so urgent you need a response right then and there? CALL THEM.
I'm putting my foot down. Stop being an asshole and assuming people should respond to you when you want them to. Turn on read receipts. Turn them off. It's your life. Do what you want with it.
Now, there's just one final question:
do you pronounce read receipts as read receipts or read receipts
— kjersti (@artfuIsouls) September 2, 2017
(hint: it's read like you've been read for filth.)
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