15 Feb 2012
By Larry Sixsmith

No reply, all OK?


Being an oldie I remember waiting by the home phone for hours for that all important call on where we would go Saturday night.  “Ring, please ring, oh for goodness sake just ring you silly phone”, I would mutter to myself. At times I remember picking up the receiver to check the phone was working.  In those days a lot of patience was required.

Sounds silly, I know, but hey that’s what we did before mobile phones.

Has this changed because we now take carry our phones around with us?

Not long ago I was organising a night out with friends via text message and was again finding myself constantly checking the mobile to see if i had any replies. For sure I was not confined to the home and life did go on, however I was starting to become impatient about the lack of replies. As I’m  an instant replier (whenever possible) I was starting to think perhaps the slow repliers were avoiding answering to decline the invite. The next day I sent another text  to say it’s ok if you can’t make it,.  I received the reply that I deserved: “Hey Larry, you know I would love to go, why doubt me?  I have been flat out with work and life that I had to put your message on the back burner”.

With this I realised my habit of instant replies should not be expected of others.

mobile-phone-social-networking-blog-inpostTexting and social networks are a fast and simple way of inviting people to events and definitely have their place but sometimes I think technology may be making us paranoid about extending an invitation or responding to an invitation. By this I mean are we afraid of the potential for the invitation to be declined and we feel like we should make it easier for the invitee by not expecting a quick response.

If you post a party invitation on Facebook and people don’t respond but show up anyway, is that rude? Similarly,  is accepting an invitation on Facebook not a “real” acceptance and there is still no pressure to show up. On the other hand, does it depend on the nature of the invitation? Would you respond to a wedding invitation issued via SMS or Facebook?

I’m now flipping it the other way around.

The other day I received a text from a mate and, unusually, I didn’t immediately reply. Several hours later I received another text asking if I was OK.  Naturally I replied immediately to put his mind at ease.

We later discussed itand came to the agreement that if there has been no reply after a 24 hour period there may be cause for concern and we should try to  contact each other  again. If there still is no reply for 24 hours we are to call either the mobile or the home phone.

I have now adapted this for my family and other friends, purely as a precautionary measure, particularly for those who live on their own.  This creates a little bit more of peace of mind.

What are your limits of non-verbal invitations and do you have a time frame agreement with friends and loved ones for a reply to ensure all is OK?


Posts: 14


  1. Izzy says:

    So true Larry.. I cant even remember what life was like before the mobile phone. I do remember being a teenager in NZ tho & my sister had a “cell phone” as we call them (due to having 3kids at the time now 6) & I used to pretend to be on it to look cool :)

  2. mal says:

    hey larry, i got my first mobile phone about 15 years ago coz i needed one as left full time work to casual work and it was a must to have a mobile in case i got offered work. i now have one of them smart phones which i only use for the occassional call, text and pics…not interested in apps and wotnot.
    just a feedback on the how to get your puk number you sent, very easy to do and it worked a treat and everything is fine and dandy.
    3 cheers for you larry.

  3. Instant responses can certainly be a curse. Get too used to it you expect it from anyone, friends and even your suppliers.

  4. Peter says:

    Spot on Larry. I try to always reply straight away. We expect immediate responses and often forget the recipient may be busy, in a meeting or does not have their phone next to them. Before mobile phones, I do remember and we still were able to meet up with friends and family.

  5. kuldeep singh shah (Employee) says:

    Hi Larry
    Really a great article . Well Done !

  6. Heather says:

    Oh Larry, You hit me on the head again, you are so observant, I have friends that get really angry at me but I have always hated telephones, since I was little when my father (who taught me not to lie) told me to tell the person on the phone he was not there. It was very hard for my little brain to come to terms with. I have always thought that people did not want to be bothered by calls. My phone is not a part of me yet as it is for my children, my laptop and ipod are but not the phone. I can understand the frustration at not getting an instant response but I have never been quick at anything. My sister and I were talking (as I visit people rather than call them if I can) that when we write a letter we right 2 or 3 as our first thought is usually very emotional and the second we have had time to think about and the third is much better. today people send their first thought and it can be very distructive. I say slow down a bit and give time to us who are less modern.

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