To The People Who Have Constantly Ignored Us,
"Read at 9:02 P.M."
That's what we see on a day to day basis. It might not seem like much to you, but to us — the people who constantly care and try to be there for you — that simple text under our messages destroys us inside. Were you ever constantly ignored by people who you really do care for? People you would do anything for?
Well, to fill you in if you haven't, frankly, it hurts like hell. Constantly never being acknowledged. Never getting a response from people that you put so much effort into. The fear of being forgotten overwhelms us and makes us overthink every little text that we send. We take so much time to write out a simple text message, having it perfectly worded exactly how we want to express and communicate ourselves. What do we get as a response? We get nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Maybe it's the anxiety of it all where we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. That's what our society is now anyways, right? The perfect image of ourselves displayed for everyone to see. Within a cute couple picture posted on Instagram is engulfed with cheating and screaming matches. The girl on Snapchat who looks like she's having the time of her life at the party is actually clinically depressed. We continue to use social media as our mask to who we truly are. That's why being ignored hurts just as much as being rejected in person, if not more.
If we were rejected in person, sure it would hurt, but at least we would get some sort of closure. Being ignored through a text doesn't help us understand. It only lets us worry about what we did wrong. Yes, I understand that sometimes I forget to answer a text because the day gets so busy. How long does it take for someone to type the words, "I'll get back to you on this" or "Can I text you later?", though? I'd say about seconds. Seconds to make someone not feel less than they already do.
This letter isn't to scold people for ignoring individuals, but to help them understand what they're doing when they ignore someone. Communication is a huge part of relationships, both romantic and platonic. By ignoring people, do you seriously understand what you are doing to the overtly friendly people in the world? You have broken us down to make us feel unloved, forgotten and unimportant.
For a while there, I stopped smiling and saying hi to people because I knew to the depths of my soul that it would not be reciprocated. I stopped texting, posting on social media and simply smiling at people when walking to class because I didn't think anyone out there cared about me. I would go out of my way to walk 45 minutes to get back to my dorm than the regular 10 minute walk that it would normally take just to avoid people. I would walk with my head down and buried in my phone. I knew that each time a smile went unnoticed, a wave un-replied or a text unanswered that I would be, for what it seemed like, permanently broken inside.
The pain of being ignored sadly occurred for the next few months and for the first time in my life, I felt truly alone. I would use every bit of energy that I had to send a text or to say hi to people, but nonetheless, I was always left ignored and isolated. It wasn't until recently that I stumbled upon a quote that says, "Be nice. The world is a small town." The quote is from artist and writer Austin Kleon, and continues to remind people how kindness and respect can go a long way. Wherever we are, whether we are being ignored or a conflict arises, it encourages people to put the conversation in the context of a small town and, you know, just be nice.
I realized right then that my smiles and waves don’t have to be returned and that waving makes me happy and makes me have a better day. I am not smiling for you or for anyone else in the world. I am smiling because I enjoy smiling, I am waving because I enjoy being nice to people, I am saying “Hi!" because that's exactly who I am.
So, next time that you ignore my text or turn away when you see me in public, know that it no longer affects me. It does affect other people, though. Although it might be hard to think of someone other than yourself, try, because you're dealing with human beings that have feelings. Try to be nice to people because you never know what someone is going through. That one smile, wave or text can make someone's whole day. I mean, it would've for me back then, so now it's all I do.