Home / Communication /

What Does it Mean When You Don’t Get a Text Back? (No Text Response)

James, one of my close friends, has great questions for me all the time. And his questions often help me get to write on this blog a lot more. One he asked the other day was, “What does a no text response mean from another person?” Well, it does certainly communicate something… But it’s important to know exactly what’s going on.

Studies have shown that adolescents that are texting long-term actually suffer more mental health problems than those who are not. It’s not really that shocking of a study if you think about it. Texting is a pretty terrible form of communication.

It’s because through text—we’re unable to really tell what’s going on emotionally. There’s no tone of voice in the conversation. If someone says, “Yeah, sure.” You can interpret that as them being excited. Or not excited. Or sad or happy…. All of the above would be possible when you read that text message.

Related: Dirty emoji’s to use!

a woman texting on a bed - no text response

8 Reasons You’re Not Getting a Text Back

— Here’s why you might not be hearing from them! No text response potential reasons:

1: They’re occupied with their own life

Someone who is very occupied with their own life isn’t going to be a great friend, honestly. This is someone who might be the NPD/BPD personality that we often discuss on this blog. It’s someone who is only really capable of thinking about themselves.

This is something called being self-absorbed. And it’s when the person really isn’t putting any effort out into the world. Here’s the thing: if this is the case—move on. Always remember to have a healthy boundary for the type of people who you think are TAKING from you and not giving back.

If you’re not sure this is the case, text:

  • “Hey, did you get my text message? Just making sure you’re okay?”

2: There could be something wrong that you don’t know about

Maybe there’s something going in that persons life that you don’t know about. If that’s the case, there’s no chance that they’re going to open up to you about something deeper. You may just simply have someone on your hands that doesn’t like to open up and share.

When that’s something that you’re thinking is happening—unfortunately, by you asking, it’s probably not going to do very much. They’re most likely going to continue to ghost you. But here is what you can do: continue to show up for them emotionally.

Say things like:

  • “Hey, is there something going on over there that you’re not comfortable sharing? If so that’s okay, just let me know you’re dealing with something… I’m here to support you and be on your team, just saying!”

Related: How not to be a dry texter

a young girl texting on her phone

3: Maybe they’re not as invested as you are—a no text response reason that hurts!

It’s sometimes very hard to tell when a person isn’t as invested in the relationship as you are. If you’re not sure whether they truly care or not. Unfortunately, the only signs that you’ll get from someone about this is really up to you.

Whenever you think someone doesn’t care—it’s usually a sign in itself that you’re not getting what you need from another person. And that’s okay to know exactly what you need!

Here’s something you can say to get a response:

  • “Hey, just letting you know that this relationship really matters to me. Let me know if you want to talk by phone… I haven’t heard from you!”

See also: What is dry texting?

4: There’s no intent to build a relationship

Someone has to have intent to build a friendship or to build a love relationship. Sometimes, you may be the person that the other person is trying to distance themselves from. I don’t know how to tell you that lightly.

But sometimes, a person might decide that your lives are not serving each other well. For example, I can suggest and tell you that people I have distanced myself from happen to be people who consume heavy amounts of alcohol.

Here’s something you can say:

  • “Hey, just making sure you’re not texting back because of me. Is there something I’m doing that’s not making you feel good or something?”

5: It got lost in the shuffle of other text messages

There’s a good chance, if you’re trying to be a good friend or a good boyfriend/girlfriend—that your text message just got lost in the shuffle of other text messages. More than 23 billion texts get sent per day… Yep, you read that correctly!

So that means that there’s a good chance your friend or spouse is simply bombarded with other text messages that they’re getting.

Here’s something you can do:

  • “Hey, just following up here on my last text. I know we get a ton of texts each day!”
a young woman texting on her phone

6: You said something that bothered them—a no text response reason that requires another text from you!

Sometimes, people are really not able to express themselves. It’s not you… It’s just society. And it’s really hard to express how you feel about a certain thing or topic. Maybe you said something that bothered them and you simply didn’t know.

The process of making mistakes with a person is the process of getting to know them. But how will you ever know NOT to say or do that same thing again if you don’t know exactly what you did?

Here’s what you should say:

  • “Did I do something? This relationship is important to me, so I just wanted to make sure I didn’t say or do something that pissed you off?”

7: They don’t know how to behave around you

People are different. We know this… But what happens when a person doesn’t know how to act around you? When that happens—they might decide that they need to stay closed off. This means that they are a little more unwilling to show their true colors around you.

Some people refer to this as being “introverted” rather than “extroverted.” And yes, sometimes a very introverted person is going to feel very closed off to an extroverted person.

But, that shouldn’t be a reason for them to not text you. If that’s the case—then you might need to help that person break out of their shell a little.

Try this:

  • “Hey, how are things going at [insert hobby they care about]?”

See also: Texting games to play

a woman sitting on stairs texting on her phone with coffee

8: They’re showing you where their priorities are

The last and final sign could just simply be that they don’t care about you. Or the friendship or relationship. Especially in romantic relationships, not getting a text back really shows where their priorities are.

If they’re texting with their friends but not texting you—that really says that what they want in life is more friendships. Expect to be dropped into the friendzone quite soon! But what are you suppose to do? What you can do is continue to feel out the situation. And see where their priorities are.

Here is what you can say:

  • “Hey, this romantic relationship is really important to me. I hope you know that. I haven’t heard from you and that makes me feel like maybe you don’t care about this? Am I getting the right signal here? What’s going on?”

Related: Good conversation topics for texting!

My Own Experience With The “No Text Response” Issue

— My own ‘no text response’ experience

When it comes to someone not texting me back—I really don’t have much time for that. What I’ve come to realize is that it’s very simple just to say, “Hey, hold tight.. I’ll get back to you.” That’s if the person actually cares to be in the relationship.

It’s far more important these days to listen to actions than to words. When someone says, “Oh no, hey I care about this.” But then behaves another way—well.. they don’t really care! That would be the same way for the other person, too. Far more than they might realize or understand.

For you, it’s going to be up to where your limitations are. How much can you take not being treated very well? How much do you respect yourself? What’s really going on in the relationship? Is this what’s making you happy? I’ve learned it’s crucial to ask these types of questions.

Fact checked:
Board reviewed by Marianne Tomlinson, LCSW (Couples and Family Therapy). Content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Learn more.

About the author

Ryan Sanderson (LCSW) Ryan is a game and relationship enthusiast who enjoys all things quizzes, games, fun, love, relationships, and family. He's a licensed social worker and helps families, couples, and children in need. He's spoken about love and relationships on Salon.com, Forbes, and Mirror, to name a few.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.