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Read Receipts: Yes or No?


There is nothing more mortifying than sending an important message to someone, only to be met with the ominous “Read” and no other response.

It’s unnerving knowing that they’ve seen the message and haven’t responded yet. What is this person thinking? Are they upset? Angry? Confused? It’s unclear, but one thing is obvious: the read receipt function is out to start interpersonal wars.

Letting the sender know that the recipient has seen their message is unnecessary. The sender will know that their message has been read when the recipient replies; that’s the point of texting. Showing the read receipt leads to nothing but overthinking and anxiety on the sender’s end.

It also pressures the recipient into responding as quickly as possible, leaving little time for a well thought-out reply. Half the reason that people prefer text or email over phone conversations is because phone conversations force an answer out, with little time to pause, think, and consider.Without the receipt, recipients have the chance to look over the sender’s message, contemplate, go for ice cream, take a nap, and answer later with the excuse, “Oh, sorry—I didn’t see your text until just now.”

This isn’t even to mention that the recipient could use the read receipt for passive-aggressive purposes. The recipient can show the sender that they have, in fact, seen that important message, and they aren’t going to dignify it with a response. The recipient has too much power and cannot be stopped. 

iPhone users didn’t ask for the read receipt function. No one in their right mind would sit down and think, “You know what? I would love to send myself into a spiralling social anxiety attack this lovely afternoon.” Apple installed the feature to destroy friendships and relationships. They know what they’re about.

Text message senders do not need to come up with 1,000 reasons why the person they sent that message to isn’t responding.

Apple is a sick company for creating the read receipt and they’re ready to watch the world burn.

-Gem Sheps


Apple has done everyone a favor in allowing iPhone users everywhere the opportunity to let others know when they have read an iMessage.

This feature, called “Read Receipts,” is available for iPhone users through Apple’s proprietary messaging system. This function is not only useful for forgetful texters, but also it is fantastic for all of the passive aggressive people in the world. As the saying goes: actions speak louder than words, especially when a recipient doesn’t respond to a text.

Read receipts are a great tool to stay accountable—it’s helpful in reminding someone who has received a new iMessage to respond to a text. If someone is aware that their read receipts are turned on, they are less likely to open a message until they are actually ready to respond to it, to avoid making the person who sent the message feel like they are being ignored.

On the other hand, read receipts can be great if someone wants to let someone know that they are intentionally being ignored, and put on hold.

There is a general understanding among read receipt fans that it’s the best passive aggressive and useful feature Apple has to offer. Don’t want to talk to someone? The silent treatment can be played with smartphones too.  With read receipts, it’s easy to let the sender know that there was no time in the day to be bothered to respond to that text.

There’s also something incredibly satisfying about seeing the “Delivered” statement below an iMessage change to “Read 12:50 p.m.” and subsequently seeing three dots appear on the left side of the screen. It is pleasant knowing that someone saw and is responding to a message.

Yes, seeing that someone has seen a message and not seeing three dots can be painful for socially anxious people. Questions of why someone isn’t responding arise. It could be that they just forgot to respond, but it could also be that they don’t want to respond at all. The world may never know.

Whether it is to remember to respond to a text or to avoid making someone feel ignored or to be passive-aggressive and intentionally letting someone know they are being ignored, read receipts are here to stay. Irresponsible and passive-aggressive people everywhere can rejoice.

-Ashley Kim

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