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I am currently having driving lessons, and my instructor and I communicate via texts in order to arrange our next lesson. He's always very good in replying, I often didn't have to wait more than 24 hours for a reply. However, it's now been 5 days since I sent this message with no reply:

"Are you free again next Monday the 31st for a lesson?"

How should I remind him about this message in an appropriate way?

  • 1
    Related (possibly a duplicate-ish): interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/83/… – Zizouz212 Jul 26 '17 at 20:38
  • That question relates to a purposeful ignoring (or at least I think it does) in this case I believe it to just be forgetfulness. – Crafter0800 Jul 26 '17 at 20:40
  • Does it? I didn't get the impression when I answered this. Besides, my answer to that question would probably be the same as over here. – Zizouz212 Jul 26 '17 at 20:40
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    No! Don't delete it, you can mark the question a duplicate if you felt it was equivalent (dupes aren't bad things), or you can seek a different answer. I was just pointing out that there was another question where the answers may work for you (and if that's the case, a duplicate would show that those answers worked). – Zizouz212 Jul 26 '17 at 20:42
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    Don't worry about the answer applying, Crafter0800. Dupes are based on questions, not answers. I think having a question specific to an academic setting is appropriate and will be a good reference to others. – Catija Jul 26 '17 at 20:55
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It's in the best interests of both of you to keep communicating, so repeating the message (more or less) should be OK. But maybe Monday is no good for them, and they don't want to be negative.

You need driving lessons and you need to manage your calendar. He doesn't want to lose customers, so he needs to keep in touch with them. Communicating serves both of your purposes. And five days without a response is a fairly long period of time to wait -- especially if it's well outside their normal turnaround time.

Just repeating the words of the first message may sound a bit mechanical. So you can give a reason for this message like:

I'm trying to juggle some coming events, but I would like to move forward with driving lessons. Is Monday the 31st OK? Or would another day be better for both of us?

The benefit of this approach is it may address a possible concern of theirs that Monday is no good for them. This gives them permission to suggest another time frame.

  • Yes. One of the downsides of texts is that once you read them, it can be easy to forget to come back and reply. I think a gentle nudge with another option is a good tack to take. – Catija Jul 27 '17 at 4:07
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It's perfectly appropriate to text him again. Nothing rude at all. No need to worry about asking again. Do as if it was your 1st time asking, no need to mention your previous message either.

Hi [ John ], I wonder if I can have a lesson on Monday 31st ? What time would be fine with you ? Can you please confirm ? (You can also ask for the lesson according to your time : I'm available at 10 AM, 1 PM and 4PM, does any of these hours fit your schedule ?)

If the teacher is often very busy (as I am), and doesn't answer the phone when teaching (as I don't), he may have forgotten to answer (a 5 days delay means most probably he forgot about it though). Better for both of you if you send the message/reminder at least a couple of days before schedule.

You can also send an email (many have website and contact-form for that purpose, sometimes an online schedule that you can access and book from). This works for me (in case I forgot to answer the phone), because I read them and answer :

  • very early (around 8 AM) before going into the car.
  • at lunch time (if any ^^).
  • late in the evening, after closing the school.

Side note: 20 years working in a driving school, if this matters. Not in UK, but the answer is most probably OK anywhere else I guess...

Funny fact: I once received a message 8 days after it was sent, student showed me on her phone :)


Drive safely, never text or answer the phone while driving, and all the best for the final test :)

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You could ask them to confirm that they received your text, rather than repeating it (more or less) verbatim:

Hello, just wondering if you got my text r.e. Monday 31st about whether you'd be available for a lesson.

That way it avoids blaming them for ignoring the text, as it asks indirectly about 'technical issues'.

Also, send it at a time that is appropriate - if you send it in the middle of a lesson, they may read it but forget to reply, because they are concentrating on something else.

  • Is it written without proper capitalization (and stuff) intentionally? – NVZ Jul 27 '17 at 5:50
  • @NVZ doesn't have to be. I suppose if it's to an instructor it should be formatted better! – marcellothearcane Jul 27 '17 at 6:25
  • This would cause the focus shift to "the text on Monday 31st" from the actual issue. Additionally, it will cause an extra text No, I didn't. What is it about? I'm asking you if you are free on 31st. Better to go straight to the point and ignore the fact that you have sent a text before (don't mention about it if he also doesn't) – Vylix Jul 27 '17 at 13:55
  • @Vylix any better? – marcellothearcane Jul 27 '17 at 14:38
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    @marcellothearcane yep, better. However, I'm generally against mentioning the previous message unless it's important, because it tends to shift the focus away and lead to uncomfortable situation (he might feel very bad for not replying for such a long time). Mentioning the previous unfollowed up contact should only happen if you suspicious that they deliberately ignoring you, and you want it sorted out. – Vylix Jul 27 '17 at 14:44

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