Hey, that’s a really cute Snapchat of your cat. Does that mean that every time you send me a picture of said cat, I’m going to respond with “so cute”? No. And that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them, because I do, but there are some messages – whether they are on Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter or over text message – that don’t require a response. Unfortunately, the lack of reply tends to lead to the dreaded “did you see my message?” question. This is the beauty of the read receipt.

I have my iMessage read receipts turned on. I’m one of the few people that I know who have had them turned on for as long as they’ve had an iPhone. I hear a lot of people say that once they’ve read the message, they are obligated to reply if the sender knows it’s been read. That’s a load of *insert poo emoji here*.

Here’s the thing: I am in no way obligated to respond to a person’s message as soon as I have seen it. Neither are you.

Say it again with me. You DO NOT have to reply to every message you receive, and you definitely don’t have to answer immediately.

If someone is going to get mad at me for not answering their “lol,” that’s their issue, not mine. Text conversations, like any type of discourse, come to a natural conclusion and I feel no need to try and force it to continue solely because they sent some two-word answer back. That’s a waste of everyone’s time.

The great thing about the read receipts is that it’s a way for me to let the person know that I’ve seen the message without having to respond with a generic acknowledgement of having received it. For example, if I’m meeting a friend and we’re both on the way and they text me to say “meet me at this location,” and they know that I’ve opened the message and don’t have to worry about me wandering around the city looking for them.

It’s not like I make a habit of ignoring messages, and I definitely don’t do it to be petty or if I’m mad at someone because that’s just an immature way to deal with your problems. If you’re asking me a question, I’ll answer it as soon as I can but sometimes I’m going to be in a situation where I can’t – there are other things going on in my life that mean I can’t be at the constant beck and call of my cellphone.

So even if I don’t respond all of the time, please keep sending me photos of your cats.