I’m sure we’ve all experienced this before. There’s someone who is signed online (Gchat/Aim) and we really want to talk to them. But at the same time, we can’t or we choose not to. Here’s a general breakdown of my current dilemma.
I sign online. They sign online. I don’t notice that they sign on until probably five minutes later. This is someone I really do enjoy talking to, but I don’t want to seem like I’m trying really hard to maintain our relationship or seem like I’m desperately seeking their attention. So, to make it less apparent, I decide not to IM them immediately; I’ll wait five minutes. During those five minutes, I’m in total agony because I really want to send that IM. All the while, I’m thinking.. how should I greet them? When I really like someone and feel close to them, I’ll say “Hii” sort of like kirby. But that might make me sound desperate, so I settle on a general “hey whats up?”
Alright, four minutes are over, but that’s close enough to five. I’ll cave in and send my IM
Me: “Hey, whats up?”
waiting waiting waiting.. No response. I’m just praying for that “____ is typing” grayed out text to appear, but nothing. To be completely honest, I don’t have anything substantial to tell the person, just to ask how their day was and what’s been going on. Hmm, if they’re taking so long to respond, maybe when they finally respond to me, I shouldn’t respond immediately either? That’s a thought.
OOHH they responded!!!
— for some of the conversation now, I trade the whats ups, the nothing much’s, the how was your day, how was your exam, what are you doing today, etc etc —
and eventually the conversation dies down and I forget everything, all the contemplation, all the insecurities and the scheming you went through at the beginning of the conversation. All through the conversation, the only thing that goes through my mind is, “I wonder if they’re really enjoying this conversation?” I’m judging whether they’re really engaged or care to share anything their sharing. I don’t want them to sign off or go do the thing they have to go do, so I’ll purposely not answer some of their questions or leave cliffhangers hoping that I’ll have a chance to keep talking about certain topics later (in person) and keep the conversation going. On the other hand, I don’t want to sound too flaky and want to answer their question because I know they’re asking it because they genuinely care about how I’m doing, what I’m struggling with. Eventually the conversation ends and all I feel is a sense of emptiness because then I realize I never truly engaged in the conversation. I was so caught up in initiating the “right way” that I never realized that I wasn’t really conversing; I was scheming. I didn’t want it to be small talk, and chances are the topics we talked about weren’t small talk, but it ended up being just like small talk. And this is someone I care deeply about. I want to talk to them all the time, but for things in the past and for other selfish reasons, I choose not to. It’s interesting how being prideful can counteract my own selfishness.
OKAY rewind: What if during that five minute wait, they turn idle? Or maybe you IM them and then while waiting for their initial response, they turn idle? OH Lord, this is potentially the worst scenario. Agony isn’t the best description; it could be better described as waterboarding. I want them to respond immediately! I want them to notice me! Well, it wouldn’t really help because I haven’t even messaged them in the first place. I want them to message me first. I want them to initiate with me and desire my attention. It’s like an unlimited waiting game. But why must I wait for them? Why am I not the first one to speak? Questions questions questions… I don’t even understand why I’m doing this. I’m just unnaturally denying myself something that is good. Or is it good? Is it good to want to talk to this person so much? I’m currently in this situation. I’m just waiting. They’re idle. Aiyah