Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

How quickly and frequently do you need a response?

Asked by wundayatta (58714points) April 22nd, 2010

I’m thinking about this with email in mind, but it can apply to anything, really (snail mail, email, text messages, phone calls, etc). I tend to write a lot (duh) and in addition to what I write here, I correspond with a dozen or so other correspondents—both family and friends. Depending on the closeness of the relationship, I want a reply within an hour or whenever. I rarely have correspondents who reply as faithfully as I would like. In fact, I only have one.

In addition, there is a quality component. I like the correspondence to be of somewhat similar effort as what I put into mine. If things are regularly not equal, I tend to interpret that as a sign that I like that person more than they like me. If the correspondent does not have time for a thoughtful response, I feel that they can at least reply with a one liner if they don’t have time for more.

I tend to get grumpy and uneasy if someone doesn’t reply within my window of expectation. For some people, that window is within a few hours. For others, it could be a few days or even a week.

Do you have any windows of expected response? If so, what are they? What do you feel if someone does not reply in that window? Any examples?

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28 Answers

evandad's avatar

It would depend on the situation. I’m old so I’m patient.

wonderingwhy's avatar

As long as it’s not time sensitive, more than a week less than a month, usually. I don’t really worry about it if it takes longer. Things happen, people forget, I don’t hold it against them. If it is time sensitive and they don’t get back, I just go ahead without their input, though I admit, that’s annoying.

CMaz's avatar

When I feel like it.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’ve given up expecting responses like the ones that I send to close friends. It’s a nice dream sometimes—a fantasy—but no more than that as a rule. Which means that I can be very pleasantly surprised when I occasionally do get a verbose communication with good detail and color. That happens sometimes, too.

And I have totally given up on “quick” responses. I expect people to respond concomitant to the urgency I explicitly assign within the communication. I don’t expect anyone to read my mind about ‘how soon I need to hear’. If I need to hear by the end of the day, end of the week, end of the month, whatever, then I say so… and follow up soon if I haven’t.

escapedone7's avatar

I don’t check my e-mail as regularly as I should. The people who I want to have 24/7 access to me have my cell phone number. If something is urgent and they expect a fast or thorough response I would rather they just call me.

PacificToast's avatar

Maybe you are just more wordy then them? I only expect certain responses from people based on the issue of conversation. If it’s casual, I don’t expect much. If I’m making an appointment in the near future, I prefer responses to be quickly and clearly conveyed.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I expect a reply back within a day or so. I’m a type A & I want instant results, LOL. Most of my friends DO write back right away, so I’m fortunate in that. And when I get a mail that requires a reply, I try to get back by at least the next day. I just think it’s the correct thing to do.

Berserker's avatar

I have no expectations unless it’s urgent.

OneMoreMinute's avatar

I don’t put time restrictions on emails, sent or received. Are you serious?
If it’s important or urgent, I call them like Escapedone7.

I don’t check my emails regularly (and sometimes I do) nor my phone-sometimes my phone is in another room, and sometimes it’s ringers off. Or not charged. I’m better with the home line.

People have busy lives, and so do I. Some friends check their email twice a week.
And I can’t possibly respond to every email I receive. If I want an answer, I ask them for an answer.
there’s already too many rules to follow, I’m downsizing rules as I go along.
half the time I forget all about my email I’m sending as soon as I click send!

If a person doesn’t get back to me via email or phone, I see that as I’m supposed to be doing something else then.

FutureMemory's avatar

I check my email about twice a week. I usually don’t respond anyway.

Can you tell I loathe email?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

In this day and age of e-mail and text as the most common form of communication between people who don’t see each other weekly or longer, here’s my personal comfort zone:

Text- within a half an hour
E-mail- within a week
Fluther- within a few days
Facebook- within a week
Telephone message- within a few days

OneMoreMinute's avatar

Oh, I forgotabout texts…jus.fuggettabboutit…
I tried to text…hmmoggogg….I gave up.

Facade's avatar

Quickly and Frequently. If not, I feel like I’m being ignored.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

It’s now or never.

lilikoi's avatar

omg you would hate me @wundayatta. It can take me weeks to reply. Maybe months. It’s not that I don’t value the person immensely, it’s not that I didn’t appreciate 400% what was written to me, or that I forgot, or am too busy. I am just not good at it for some reason. If you send me an email asking me to go do something, I will confirm that in a matter of seconds. But just to talk? I never know what to say, the email gets buried while I roll it around in my head, I procrastinate, and then two months later respond. Maybe. I’d still be up for a hike or something though.

mollypop51797's avatar

It depends on how urgent I need an answer. I prefer a response within 1 day or about a 1 and a half. I’m not that pushy, but I’m not that patient either. However, if it’s more than 2 weeks then I’ll get a little worried, or frustrated or confused. However, I like to reply as quickly as I can because i don’t know the standards for others.

Ron_C's avatar

I don’t think that I would correspond with you. You are very demanding. Obviously certain things, like schedules require a quick reply. Discussion take time, require some thinking, and may only require a short reply like “hell no” or “are your crazy?”. Either way, we all have lives and others with whom we maintain contact. I can’t handle time pressures and am not likely to respond to pressure for “adequate answers”.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Any email should be replied to within 24 hours if not within the next 12 if it’s for work.

AstroChuck's avatar


jeanmay's avatar

It’s a lifelong work in progress. I am notoriously bad at responding to people, or simply getting in touch in general, or even just communicating on a basic level. I cannot explain it or excuse it, it is a most indulgent and destructive habit. Some friends (ok, most friends) find it really difficult to understand and are deeply insulted, but we battle on.

Having said all that I myself do feel somewhat put out when I don’t get a response from someone, particularly from those friends I care deeply about, or from my family. But given my track record, I have absolutely no right to feel slighted. I simply have to give them the benefit of the doubt, and reassure myself that they probably have better reasons for not getting in touch than I do.

wundayatta's avatar

It seriously bums me out when it’s a person I care about deeply and who has been very supportive of me just kind of starts flaking on responses, and even if they do respond, says nothing. I guess I should just get over it. I’m trying. But it isn’t easy. It hurts.

jeanmay's avatar

@wundayatta Maybe they have something going on that they’re just not ready to talk about.

OneMoreMinute's avatar

@wundayatta What was their reason for their non-response towards you? I assume you did ask them this question.
You did not even ask them why???

why not?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I too appreciate a timely response from my correspondents. I take into account the demands on their time and adjust my expectations accordingly. I know I have more time on my hands than do most other people.

I get grumpy when the delay exceeds what feels reasonable to me. These are of course relative terms.

wundayatta's avatar

@OneMoreMinute Yes. Asked. Not answered. Pretty much all my questions were ignored. No. All of them. It’s not communication. It’s kind of like a mean-spirited teasing. Oh well. Shit happens.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@wundayatta SOME people pay attention.

OneMoreMinute's avatar

are you sure they aren’t just over busy with their lives? or dealing with the downed economy?

If I get a mass email about a community event and I know I can’t make it, I just don’t respond. That means no. I 99% RSVP when I can make it.

Ron_C's avatar

I notice people responding mostly discuss their expectations and what is polite in correspondence, not need. Need and expectations are two separate issues. What struck me in the question was the word need. If you need to combination for the safe or contents will explode the building in 5 minutes, you need a reply in less than 5 minutes. If you email your grandmother about her travel arrangements for the Christmas party, you expect a reply before December. These are two entirely different situations.

Most correspondence does not require a response within a particular time frame unless one or more of the correspondents is highly neurotic.

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