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Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Must I Stop and Talk When I’m in a Hurry?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I often send texts and emails that need an answer, but I get crickets. If I’ve made a request, I’m totally fine with hearing, “Sorry, I can’t do this,” but hearing nothing puts me in a quandary.

I’m pleasant and friendly in tone, so I don’t think I’m putting people off. What’s going on here? Is this the new norm? How can I address these nonresponders?

GENTLE READER: It is endlessly annoying that people seem to find the time to regularly text pictures of goldfish that look like humans, yet somehow are unable to answer direct questions like, “Are we still on for parachuting tomorrow?”

Electronic correspondents tend to be selective in how they define “busy.” Miss Manners suggests that you try calling instead. Although she holds out little hope that this will be any more effective, it does tend to convey more urgency. She further allows you, after a reasonable amount of waiting time, to send a follow-up message that says, “Since I have not heard from you, I assume that you are no longer available,” and make other plans.

Enough rounds of this should either reform your friends -- or demonstrate that they may not be worth the correspondence.