Home→Forums→Relationships→Sister takes long to respond to messages
- This topic has 7 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Helcat.
February 3, 2023 at 6:26 am #414913
I have noticed that my sister takes longer to write texts back to me than other people, like my parents. We live at far distance from each other and hence we don’t often meet in person, especially since the pandemic. I would like to have a closer digital relationship, but I’m not sure she is that interested. I’ve never thought of her as disliking me, yet this is the impression I’m starting to get through texting! She doesn’t share much about her own life anyway.
We usually write some longer messages, where it takes her a couple of months to get back. For me it can take up to a couple of weeks as well. I understand that she is very busy in real life and longer messages take more time, but I’ve noticed she gets back more quickly to other people in some chat groups we’re both in. In these groups the messages are pretty short (sometimes photos as well) and often even an emoji would suffice as an answer. I can tell she is online and has seen what I sent, but nothing follows. If other people in my family had sent that same thing, she would’ve shared an instant reaction. Her messages that are directed at me never seem to come spontaneously or naturally, like it takes her great effort.
I’ve discussed it with my mother and she has noticed it too. My mother doesn’t know for sure why it would happen, but she thinks my sister might want to put more thought into the responses she sends to me. But I’d much rather see her less “on guard” when it comes to my texts. I’m starting to find it quite painful, feeling a bit ignored, and have thought how to bring it up with herself, which is tougher than I imagined – I can’t think of a way that doesn’t sound accusatory, but is still clear and direct. How can I do this in a tactful way? “I’d like to have more contact” – is a message like that really going to stop her from feeling so timid around me?February 3, 2023 at 6:55 am #414914
Welcome! I’m sorry that you’re having difficulties communicating with your sister from a distance.
Is the goal to discuss your feelings or to encourage her to text more frequently or both?
If you want to put aside your feelings some encouragement might work.
I really enjoy hearing from you, reading your messages brings a smile to my face. Even though we live further away it makes me feel like we’re closer.
Obviously, you don’t have to send something exactly like this. It’s just a rough draft of what a very positive message looks like.
If you want to discuss feelings, it could put more pressure on her. But you would put it out there that perhaps the way you are being treat isn’t fair and that you would like to be closer.
I really enjoy talking to you, I miss my sister. I wish we could talk more. I know you’re really busy. But if you feel there is anything else holding you back, I’d like to hear how you feel.
Then there is a more direct approach.
I enjoy reading your messages, I wish we had a closer relationship. I feel like it’s been hard to maintain communication while living further away. I miss you a lot. It hurts not to be closer to you. I would like to focus on building a closer relationship if that is something you would like?
If you want things to change you’re probably going to have to change your response time too. Your long response time confirms that her behaviour is okay. So if you would like things to pick up, being the bigger person would be a good idea.
It’s going to be hard to directly confront her about delays in texting because you also do the same thing. The response could very well be that you do it too, so she thought it was okay.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Would you prefer something even more direct?February 3, 2023 at 7:00 am #414915
Might also be a good idea to call each other too.February 3, 2023 at 7:55 am #414917AnonymousGuest
Good to read from you!
“I’ve never thought of her as disliking me, yet this is the impression I’m starting to get through texting! She doesn’t share much about her own life… it takes her a couple of months to get back… Her messages that are directed at me never seem to come spontaneously or naturally, like it takes her great effort… I’d much rather see her less ‘on guard’ when it comes to my texts“-
– what you shared reminds me of the relationship between my sister and I (We also live far apart, continents between us). At one point, as I read your original post, it was almost like I wrote it. I’ll share about my experience and you can figure out what- if any- applies to your experience:
My sister growing up seemed to be much calmer and happier than I was, and she was popular, had many friends. I was anxious, obsessive, lonely and depressed a lot of the time. Fast forward, as adults, she accused me of being.. (I am trying to translate the word she used) .. she accused me of not being fun to be around. Of being.. depressing to be around. She did not enjoy my company. You can say that she didn’t like me because she felt yucky being around me.
It makes me feel not-so-good writing the above, that I made her feel yucky.. but it’s true. As a result of how she felt around me, she didn’t tell me about her life, never asked for my advice, and pretty much ignored me. On the other hand, she’s been polite, kind and supportive in the last few years, during the very rare times that we talk (only a few times per year). Thing is, I do not seek communication with her any more than she seeks communication with me.
I can’t blame her for finding my presence unpleasant, and I can’t blame myself for having been that anxious, depressed child, teenager and adult that I was. Another thought I have is about First Impressions: her first impression of me, made of many years of impressions, is what it is. It would be very difficult to change her established impression of me: too much time and trouble for me to attempt to do.
Back to you: “I’m starting to find it quite painful, feeling a bit ignored, and have thought how to bring it up with herself, which is tougher than I imagined – I can’t think of a way that doesn’t sound accusatory, but is still clear and direct. How can I do this in a tactful way? ‘I’d like to have more contact’ – is a message like that really going to stop her from feeling so timid around me?“-
-coming from my experience, and understanding that you (unlike me) are hoping for a closer relationship with your sister, I would choose the simple, honest and direct (non-accusatory) approach and send her a relatively short message telling her how you interpret the relationship between the two of you, and then ask her if any- or all- of your interpretation is correct.
anitaFebruary 6, 2023 at 2:35 am #415060
Thank you for your message! I’d say the goal is both. I’d like a bit more contact and hear from her when things matter in the moment (rather than weeks/months after they happened – or through my parents, as usually happens nowadays). If she’s interested in this too, of course. I’m genuinely interested in her life.
Thank you for your suggestions. Maybe it sounds silly but it actually really helps to get examples from someone else’s perspective. I think I will take a less direct approach first, so she knows I appreciate hearing from her, and if not much changes, I’ll just say it loud and clear (…that sounds more aggressive than I mean!).
As for my response time, I hear what you’re saying, but I should clarify that I only take longer when messages are really long. When she sends shorter things, I almost always respond within 24 hours, such as after our New Year’s messages. I responded on the 1st of Jan and asked her how hers was, and I still haven’t heard back, while we’re already in February. (I truly don’t know how much about this is being busy and how much is about not truly being interested. If she wasn’t, I also don’t think she would tell the truth as she’s very non-confrontational.)
I’ve realised that with me moving further away and the distancing over the pandemic, I’ve actually lost quite a few people in my life and maybe it just makes me value family members more.February 6, 2023 at 2:48 am #415061
Thank you for your message and it’s really interesting to hear this. Did your sister directly express this to you? (If I’m correct in my interpretation, these were her words, albeit translated.) It sounds like quite a painful thing to hear from someone in your family.
It could be that my sister feels similar on some level. I fought quite a lot of internal battles over the years.
I think you are right about not making the message too long, not too heavy. I have no idea what’s going on in her mind, so maybe her response will be very different from what I expect and she was just too afraid to communicate some things herself.February 6, 2023 at 4:32 am #415063AnonymousGuest
You are welcome. Her word, literally translated was that I am “heavy”, but she didn’t mean physically heavy, but mentally, as in depressing to be around.
“I have no idea what’s going on in her mind, so maybe her response will be very different from what I expect“- excellent attitude for a possible beginning of an honest conversation: don’t assume but ask with an open mind.
anitaFebruary 6, 2023 at 6:20 am #415065
That makes sense and sounds like a healthy way to approach the situation. I’m glad the examples helped.
I understand, it can be difficult figuring out how to communicate difficulties with relationships in a positive way. It’s totally understandable to want your feelings to be heard too.
I can hear how challenging it has been for you moving further away, the difficulties of the pandemic and losing friends. I understand wanting to be close to your family and how it can hurt to be less close with them.
It is a shame when people are conflict avoidant because ultimately healthy conflict is intended to to clear the air, resolve problems, empathise with each other and validate emotions.
I hope it doesn’t come to that and your sister responds positively to your chosen less direct approach first.
Apologies regarding the misunderstanding about texting time.