I Turned Off My Read Receipts & My Dating Life Has Gotten So Much Better

I thought turning on my read receipts would make me less anxious about texting guys because they’d tell me whether the dudes were ignoring me or just hadn’t read my message. Turns out, having that option was worse than the alternative so I disabled the feature and I feel much saner now.

  1. Read receipts are worse than the “last seen” feature. The “last seen” feature was stressful and I got a little obsessed with it, but the arrival of read receipts felt like an upgrade. Not only could I see that the guy had been online but that he’d read my message too. Turns out, that set off my anxiety even worse than before.
  2. I was obsessed with figuring out why a guy read my message but hadn’t bothered to reply. Why wouldn’t he talk to me? Why was he taking so long to respond? Ugh. It took up way too much of my headspace, so I had to let those notifications go somewhere to die. It was the best thing I could’ve done.
  3. Disabling my read receipts made me more rational. I used to jump to the worst possible conclusion about the guy in question with basically zero evidence to back it up. It was crazy. When a guy didn’t reply to my message within five minutes, it was probably because he was at work or busy with something else, not because he was a total lying scumbag. It wasn’t until I stopped knowing whether he’d seen my message or not that I was able to take a step back and gain some much-needed perspective.
  4. I became a better dater. I was less stressed out, which actually made me a much better conversationalist because I was a lot less uptight. Nothing kills the excitement of getting to know someone like feeling super stressed every time they message you (or don’t). I had to learn to go with the flow, which wasn’t easy but has been a good thing for me.
  5. I stopped prioritizing dating. When my read receipts were enabled, I spent so much time worrying about them and making the guy as well as his texts life-or-death important. It’s ridiculous. Without those nasty notifications, I could do something else with my day that was more productive.
  6. I reeled in the desperate vibes. I used to think that seeing that the guy I was chatting to was online and had read my message was good, but sometimes it filled me with anxiety. It put pressure on me to double text. His presence on the messaging app would tempt me too much— I’d have to send a message right that second. This totally killed my chilled vibes and made me seem desperate at times. Not having those read receipts meant that I could stop looking at my phone every five seconds because I wasn’t swamped with too much information.
  7. I stopped playing games. If a guy took too long to reply to my message that he’d obviously read, I’d be furious. I’d start playing games like not replying to him too quickly in future or letting him see that I was online but not replying to his message. What a waste of time! It just made me come across as insane and it made my stress much worse.
  8. It slashed my stress. Being able to check when someone’s read my message just gives me a false sense of security. People will answer their messages when they want to and when they can. Just because they’ve read the message doesn’t mean that they’ve really paid attention to it or understood it. People are busy and they have lives, and it wasn’t until I disabled read receipts that I was able to really internalize that.
  9. It showed me what I was really worried about. After some time, I realized that I couldn’t blame read receipts for my dating stress. I was really stressing about guys ignoring my messages because they didn’t want to talk to me. I feared rejection. Read receipts might’ve promised to make me feel better and more in control, but they were totally backfiring and making me lose my mind.
  10. It made me stop making unfair judgments. When a guy wouldn’t send me a message or read mine within a few hours, I was quick to judge him. I’d think he was chatting to someone else, leading me down the garden path, losing interest or whatever. Talk about jumping the gun. I was filled with negative thoughts all the time and felt like a stalker because I was always checking up on those read receipts. Yikes. Disabling them on my phone helped me to gain some perspective and not lose my head when a guy didn’t reply. Not only did that make me a better person to be around in general but it made me stop making dating a huge drama.
  11. Ultimately, it’s just a text. This became my mantra and it’s been a good one because it really is just a message and it’s just a guy. Period.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.