My Read Receipts Have Never Been Off

Ever since I began having an iPhone, my read receipts have been on. At first, I thought I’d leave them on to experiment. I just wanted to have fun. But then, I just kept them on. Why, though? Why haven’t I turned them off?

Maybe, I like the honesty. There is something liberating about not having to hide anything. Someone might wonder how I read a message at 8:33 p.m. and sent a paragraph at 8:33 p.m. But actually, I typed the paragraph ahead of time in the notes section of my phone in anticipation of the response. I didn’t want to be unprepared. Also, I have, indeed, been thinking about this conversation enough to type a response before even knowing what I’d be responding to.

I don’t think people who turn their read receipts off are as tricky as they think they are. I guess they feel that if the other person doesn’t see “Read 11:05 a.m.,” they’ll be oblivious. Is that true, though? When read receipts are turned off, people can convince themselves that there’s still hope. But then, at a certain time, the other person knows you read the message. If you send it in the morning, the recipient has probably read it by 9 in the evening. Most people check their phone at some point throughout the day. Then, after about 24 hours, it’s safe to assume you’re being ignored. I know that there are a lot of different circumstances and people can truly be busy. But generally, as more time passes, people realize their messages have been read. I guess time is the true read receipt.

If people can safely guess if their messages have been opened or not, then what’s the purpose of read receipts, anyways? I guess they’re just there for transparency. A read receipt is an official confirmation. I don’t think read receipts matter as much as people think they do. It’s just a tiny step towards letting someone know what’s really going on. It’s barely significant.

But then if it’s barely significant, why have mine always been on? I don’t have an exact reason. I guess I think it makes me slightly kinder than those who turn them off. I like letting people know for sure. I think I’m a little pretentious about read receipts. I should stop feeling this way, though.

Since read receipts have little significance, I’m turning mine off. I haven’t done this in four years. I don’t know why I’m announcing it and writing about it as if I’m doing charity, work, but I guess it feels significant to me. The biggest reason I’m doing it is to experience the other side. Why do others have theirs turned off? What’s the allure? Also, this is all so temporary. I can turn them back on anytime. It doesn’t matter if they’re on or off. How much do text messages matter? They are just messages sent between two phones. Does any of this even matter?


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