Tech Relationships

Left on Read


You’ve never been more digitally available to your friends, family, and colleagues. You’re just a phone call, email, text, or DM away. But should you always be available? Of course not. Consider not listening to the voicemail from “Potential Spam”—your car warranty can wait until another day. To ease social anxieties, we asked Americans how long they typically take to respond to people they communicate with often across a range of communication channels.



Texts from significant others and children receive the most immediate attention—more than 90% of respondents who communicate regularly with their significant others or children reply to texts within an hour or two and the majority do so immediately.

Among close loved ones, texts from siblings and friends are the most likely to get left on read. Yet they still stand a coin-flip odds or better of hearing back quickly (siblings, 53%; friends, 50%). People typically are fastest to respond over text. Ignoring for a moment who’s texting, 88% of Americans say they respond immediately or within an hour or two to communication of the SMS variety.



Considering office comms, Americans prioritize messages from their bosses. A majority of workers (57%) reply immediately to their bosses’ texts and 75% reply to emails within an hour or two. A daring 22% of workers risk waiting a day or longer to respond to their boss’s emails, and another 3% with a death wish never respond.