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Text messages on a phone | Source: Shutterstock
Text messages on a phone | Source: Shutterstock

What to Say When Someone Leaves You on Read and How to Deal With It

Milla Sigaba
Jun 02, 2023
01:00 P.M.
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What to say when someone leaves you on read? When you realize your love interest has left your messages on read, a million things can run through your mind. However, experts and dating couches have rounded up a list of tips to navigate being left on read.

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In the modern dating world, the beginning stages of most relationships occur online. Whether your crush sent you a direct message on Instagram or asked for your number in person, texting someone to understand their intentions is a standard part of the dating process.

Unfortunately, another standard part of the dating process is being left on read. When someone leaves your messages on read, it is often seen as a love interest's deliberate act of ignoring your communication, especially when they do not turn off their read receipts.

A woman on her phone. | Source: Getty Images

A woman on her phone. | Source: Getty Images

While reading someone's message and not responding can be interpreted as a power move in some cases, more often than not, it indicates a lack of interest from the other person.

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However, your case might be different. So, if you find yourself on the receiving end of having your messages left on read, experts and dating couches have compiled a list of things to keep in mind and do.

A woman using her phone. | Source: Getty Images

A woman using her phone. | Source: Getty Images

What to Do When You Have Been Left on Read

Firstly, check if your last text needed a reply. If you need to be more specific or leave room for the conversation to flow, revisit your response. Another way to determine whether or not you have been left on read is to be patient. Licensed marriage and family therapist Chivonne Henry, MS, said:

"Many times, we can simply be overthinking it and can assume the person may be purposely ignoring us when they just may be busy."

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Take your mind off it once you've resisted the urge to double or triple-text back. "When you constantly wait around for someone else, you're communicating to yourself and others that you are secondary," dating coach Julie Pham suggests.

A woman looking at the screen on her phone. | Source: Getty Images

A woman looking at the screen on her phone. | Source: Getty Images

What to Do If Your Follow-up Messages Get Left on Read Again

Once you've given your love interest the benefit of the doubt and they still have not replied on time— relationship expert Dr. Darcy Sterling recommends 24 hours—send a follow-up text.

According to Dr. Sterling, you can change the topic or address your ignored message using humor. However, the name of the game is keeping things light. "Do not send the 'questioning' reaction on IOS. It generally reads as hostility unless you know each other very well," Dr. Sterling said.

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A man staring at his phone and waiting for a message. | Source: Getty Images

A man staring at his phone and waiting for a message. | Source: Getty Images

Remember, the follow-up text is the last frontier regarding determining whether or not you have been left on read, and the next best thing is to move on. Dr. Sterling shared:

"There's nothing worse than badgering someone to find out why they suddenly decided to ignore you. They may be ghosting you or considering other options. Either way, it's bad for your self-esteem, so I recommend that you start flirting with someone new who isn't playing texting games."

A woman checking her messages on her phone. | Source: Getty Images

A woman checking her messages on her phone. | Source: Getty Images

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Tips to Help Yourself Deal With It

Once you've re-examined your last message to ensure it gave room for the conversation to continue, waited an appropriate amount of time for a response, and sent a follow-up text, the next step is to deal with being left on read.

To do so, keep your mind off the unanswered message by doing something productive. Depending on how far along in the relationship you are, you can address the person's lack of communication skills. However, if the romance is new, another option is to pursue someone else.

A woman playing with her hair as she uses her phone. | Source: Getty Images

A woman playing with her hair as she uses her phone. | Source: Getty Images

Does It Work to Leave Someone on Read?

If you find yourself in a situation where you want to leave someone on read, experts revealed that the tactic has pros and cons. While it works as a seduction technique, leaving someone on read can also appear as a red flag about you.

Leaving someone on read can also be a part of the powerplay in a relationship, and while it might "work" short-term, it could lead to problems down the line. "When you start with 'game,' it's almost impossible to convert to 'real,'" Susan Winter, relationship expert, love coach, and author, said.

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