In Defense of the Read Receipt [Diary of the Undateable]

Let me start off by saying that typically, I hate read receipts. As soon as I purchased my iPhone two years ago, I promised myself that I’d never be one of those people. I used to think that read receipt users couldn’t handle being direct with their feelings. They weren’t man/woman enough to be an adult and craft a clever-enough response to whatever text was thrown their way. I mean, really. Only the douchiest of douchebags could receive a text, open it up, look it and purposely let the sender see that it was, indeed, read and received and not respond. My feelings have been hurt many times by the good ol’ RR…including by my dad. My own FATHER, y’all.
I also keep my receipts off with the primary reason being that I’m a sucky texter sometimes. If I’m busy or caught up in a project, I’ll read your message and think about responding or even type it – and then I’ll forget to send it. A rookie mistake, I know, but charge it to my head and not my heart.
I changed my mind about receipts after my friend from high school, Tiana, told me I was stupid for not using them. I was telling her about this random guy that I’d been texting and how I was irritated that he would read my text as soon as I sent it and then wait minutes – sometimes even hours – to hit me back. Ugh.
Tiana told me that instead of getting angry and not responding to him at all – which, spoiler alert, I eventually ended up doing because he sucks – I should’ve just read it and left it.
“Do you know how he would feel if you did that?” she asked. “Exactly how you do. Why would you feel bad about doing something that guys do all the time? He didn’t think about your feelings when he read your message. So don’t think about his.”
I’ve mentioned before how I’m not one for petty game playing when it comes to guys. I like to be as sweet, straightforward and as honest as possible. Tiana raised the point that nice girls finish last.
“You gotta play the game,” she convinced me. “I can’t have you being my friend who gets played by some guy.”
So out of curiosity, I let myself play it. When dude texted me, I’d automatically read it and wait five minutes…then I bumped it up to 10. 10 became 30 and 30 became an hour. Sometimes I’d take hours, especially during the weekend, to make it seem like I was on a date. Yes, I know…pathetic. And I felt awful. I didn’t want to seem uninterested, and I didn’t want to come across as rude. But I’m treating him the way that he treats me, I thought. All’s fair in like and war.
I was surprised at how handy read receipts were. When I started acting like I didn’t care, dude put in more effort. He’d ask open-ended questions instead of boring yes-or-no ones. He’d explain the simplest things in long, thought-out paragraphs with great detail. And he’d reply to me – on time. Though it was only a little bit, I was amazed at power that I’d acquired. I felt like I was in control of the situation…and it felt good.
Maybe Tiana was right. Maybe sometimes we have to nix the nice girl tendencies. I’ve been less-than-tolerant towards romantic BS as of late. If someone’s not putting in as much work as I am, then it’s a wrap – and that boils all the way down to communication…to the texts. My receipts are off again. But if I end up texting a guy who uses them, I won’t hesitate to flip the switch.
When she’s not watching for Blue Ivy sightings or doing some serious Facebook creeping, Khalea, a recent Howard University graduate, moonlights as a magazine intern and a freelancer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @letsbeKHAlear, or feel free to Twatch. Whatever works for you.

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