Sometimes on either snapchat or skype (or any other instant messaging software) I will not get a reply to my message. It can be a normal message or question, and then they simply won't reply. I typically just try and think of another sentence to add on to "bump" the conversation and send them another notification, however is there a specific way I should remind/ask them if they've forgotten about my message? I don't particularly mind if they admit to missing my message, I just want the conversation to continue without having to wait for them to realize they missed my message.

The conversations are typically of a casual nature, so general talking or gossip, nothing work based.

  • 1
    I'm a bit confused with the title and the question in the post. If you asked how could you determine whether someone is deliberately ignoring your messages, then I don't think we can help you on that. Maybe edit the title?
    – Vylix
    Jul 12, 2017 at 6:16
  • @Vylix Well, we could, but such advice would probably work better in the screenplay of a comedy than IRL. Jul 30, 2017 at 13:48

4 Answers 4


With the proliferation of 'push' notifications many people are becoming notification blind, or find them easy to ignore. Also many people have multiple demands on their time at any given moment or are multi tasking so giving attention to one thing or another will get sorted by a brain into priority order.

When you are on one end of an instant message (IM) conversation you do not know what is going on at the other and two individuals can often have different thoughts on IM ettiquette.

With some of my friends I can have a conversation over a period of days because we come back to it and respond when we are free, dipping in and out with no time based pressure on the other to respond. I appreciate these friends tremendously because they recognise that life is busy and are stable enough in our friendships to assume that silence does not mean we have stopped liking each other. Simply that the other is busy.

With other friends their etiquette is around larger meta information, informing me of what they are doing and how busy they are, almost timeboxing the conversation and wanting me to do the same. They want to get the information across and get replies then and there and if either situation changes we must update each other as to if we have to go and do something else, or if I am going to be away from messenger for any given period must update them with 'away from keyboard' or 'putting the kettle on' etc to manage their expectations over how long it will take me to reply because they will be waiting.

There are interactions between those two extremes also.

The difficulty comes when two people have different IM etiquette and neither adapts. They may assume things and attach meaning to the other person's actions when it is simply how they interact with their friends.

Or life got in the way and they have been called away from the conversation, or your conversation was simply filling idle time for them and they got busy. Not everyone will let you know that they are no longer paying you attention, they will just drop off the conversation making it easier to pick it up later.

I recommend you adapt to the others behaviour and interact with them in the way that they feel most comfortable in a medium that suits them best (many friends respond better to text than IM, or only want to interact face to face. but I know how to contact them in an emergency).

If they have not responded to your message then leave it, they have many other priorities that you do not know about. Don't nag or 'bump' that can be seen as rude by many especially if it is simply a casual conversation. Just pick up at a later date in your usual way of interacting.

If it is a casual conversation and they have missed your message then it doesn't matter. They have been distracted by something else, drawing their attention back is you choosing their priorities for them. They know how to use their phone/IM service, so I recommend moving your own attention elsewhere too for the time being


In general people will respond to things/people that are important to them. If they are constantly "missing" or "not seeing" your messages that means that they have things that they value more than talking to you taking up their time.

There are exceptions, but if someone consistently takes longer than 2 hours (time you know they are not busy/prior engagements) to reply to a message then that usually means that they are not interested in talking to you/ feel you two are talking too much for how they feel about the personal relationship.

My suggestion is if you notice this behavior, try scaling back your communication with that person and allow them some space/ time for the relationship to grow. Focus on having 1 meaningful and unignored conversation per week, then 2 per week, so on and so forth until you are satisfied with the amount and quality of correspondence.


I find it that people who ignore messages are either:

  • Oblivious: attention and memory are limited resources. Politely remind them you are expecting a response. It works better if you have several channels at your disposal (for instance, if you have an email ignored, you can text that person about it). Don't be pushy: bringing it up more than twice will not make you a top priority. You can identify an oblivious person by noticing they will reply once they realize it is expected of them.

  • Disorganized: some people have way too many email accounts, or unpredictable schedules. Try to establish a routine that they can rely on. For instance, you can send your daily messages always at the same time, and let behaviorism do the work for you. A disorganized person is easy to identify, because self-organization is a practice - not a goal - that requires commitment, and, as such, their disorganization will eventually become visible.

  • Slippery: they might be avoiding you, or avoiding the issue. This doesn't mean they dislike you, but it certainly means that they don't want to engage with you at the moment. There isn't much you can do about them, you have to either let them go, or escalate the situation (talking to your manager, for instance, if they are a coworker). You can identify a slippery person by comparing how long they take to answer other people (or post social media). Don't become a stalker, however, it's not worth your time.

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    The oblivious could be simply that they don't read the backlog of chat messages, too. Jul 30, 2017 at 13:51

It sounds like there is no problem here. You use the phrase “deliberately ignoring”, which seems to imply that you will say something that does not become included in a conversation, but the body of your question doesn't lend support to that.

Are these always via 1–on–1 instant–messaging media, or are the also in forums that permit chatting amongst larger groups?

A conversation, or any other social interaction between people, acts like a reptile. Yeah, bear with me on that one. Reptiles don't regulate their body temperature internally the same way mammals and aves do: so, if they need to get warmer they will sit in the sun or on a hot rock; they will go to the shade if they are getting too warm.
Relations between people are much the same way: they will only grow as much as is contributed by all contributors, to be sure, but for any given group there is an optimal state of affairs which those people will subconsciously attempt to maintain. They will reach out if they feel deprived, and retract if they feel overwhelmed.
If you have the opportunity to observe a herd of goats, take the time to do so. It could be entertaining, but you'll see some interesting similarities there.

Some decent advice here, but perhaps I could recommend a somewhat different approach. Ask yourself what you expect to get out of the interactions with this other person — but, more importantly, what you expect to give.
If you really want someone to talk with you, then you could always say so. Be honest but not greedy.

There is another thing for you to consider: You don't give us examples of your conversations — and nobody here is asking you to do so! — but it is possible that this other person is not taking so lively an approach to your relationship as you are simply because they are attempting to be polite in absence of deft social tact.
Maybe they think you are being a bit too much of a chatterbox, or attempting to steer the conversation down roads that they consider to be uncomfortable. Maybe they tried to tell you such things, or maybe they didn't know how, or — whatever.
Something to think–about.

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