I suppose I should explain my title in a little more detail. When I first read The Little House on the Prairie books as a child, one of the things that always baffled me the most was the very little contact that Laura Ingalls had had with anyone outside of her family. The only time Laura and her family visited with relatives or friends was when they went to church on Sundays, when they visited family members during Christmas, or when they made trips to town, which was very, very rarely. In fact, interaction with others outside of her family was almost seen as something special.
Maybe the frontier life was a little bit deprived in terms of socialization. However, even if we fast forward to the '60s, the '70s, the '80s, and even the '90s, communication with others outside of your family or those you lived with was limited because methods of communication were limited as well. During these decades and before, there were no smart phones to FaceTime with or send text messages. There were no forms of social media to "like" each other's photos. In the '90s, and before, if you wanted to spend time with your friend, you called them up on the phone.
If they didn't answer, it was never a huge deal- you knew that they were busy at work, at school, or maybe, just maybe they didn't feel like talking on the phone at the time. No one's feelings were hurt because social media did not exist to alert us when someone else was on the internet but refusing to answer our phone calls. I know that this happened in the '90s and earlier not just due to TV shows and movies that depicted such interactions, but because that's exactly what I did as a kid, too.
Now that I'm 20 years old in the year 2018, I can't get on the internet without knowing what my friends are doing at any given point and time or even what they're eating or wearing! It might be convenient to closely follow your friend's and family's day-to-day activities, but it can also be a little strenuous- particularly because they can follow your day-to-day activities right back.
In short, this an introvert's worst nightmare. Introverts like myself and many others cannot face social interaction without building up large amounts of energy beforehand and losing it all afterward. To be honest, conversation can be very exhausting for me. I love my friends and close ones, but do I wish to see and talk to them every single day? Absolutely not. In fact, I could go days at a time without interaction with some of my loved ones.
I leave a lot of text messages on "read" for this very reason. Sometimes, I just want to be able to get on my Facebook page and share a picture of a cute duck or an intriguing news article without feeling guilty for doing so. Lately, I've had to learn that I am not required to feel guilty for not engaging in social interactions I don't want to have. If you can't go a few days without hearing from me, it isn't me with the problem- it's you.
On the one hand, I am very busy in my day-to-day life (as are most adults). I work multiple jobs, I am a full time student, and I help run two organizations. When I dived head-first into the adult world, I learned quickly that other adults' lives are just as hectic as mine, and we can't always text or talk or hang out all of the time, and that is okay. We have priorities now.
Where it concerns my own case, not only are there times when I can't text people back, most of the time I simply don't want to. I am well aware of the fact that it takes less than 60 seconds to send a text message, and I don't care. Text messages generally lead to conversations, which I don't wish to have all of the time. This is a major part of taking care of myself. You don't have to understand it, just respect it.
When I take a few days (sometimes, even weeks) to shoot you a reply over text or Facebook message, it is not because I'm mad at you. It is not because I don't wish to spend time with you. It is not because I'm trying to agitate you. It's because I have the social capacity of technological social interaction no later than the 1990s. You are not being singled out (most of the time) because I do this with plenty of my other loved ones- some who are much more understanding than others. So the next time you think about texting me to ask why I'm ignoring you or if I'm mad at you, think about the possibility that neither of those is the case.