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The Facebook "Seen" message gives me a lot of anxiety! When I see that the person has "seen" the message, but does not reply, I start thinking about all the possible reasons why they would 'ignore' me... Does anyone else feel this? If so, how do you cope?

259 Answers
Last Updated: 07/29/2020 at 11:37am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Lisa Groesz, PhD


With evidenced based therapies, we find the root of the problem together to implement solutions. We all face crises, transitions, or disorders at some time.

Top Rated Answers
October 10th, 2018 4:35am
I can feel you my friend; I too suffer from those anxieties, so there are only two case scenarios when a person left you on seen, the best case scenario is he/she is genuinely busy and forgot to reply and worst case scenario is that they are ignoring you, if the person is really busy and forgot to message they would soon notice it may be tell you they were busy and might apologise but if their intention was to ignore you they would keep doing that and act like nothing happened, well they are the toxic people which are affecting your life and facebook in general is toxic as it affects your self esteem by those last seens, followers and number of friends, likes and comments everything is on numbers, more the merrier and if less then anxiety, I usually take time off from such social medias whenever it affects me and when I come back I talk to the person who genuinely wants to talk to me and if anyone leaves me on seen, I ask them were they busy and if they ignore me further I just stop texting them, its better one less toxic chat, so don't get affected by it, just move on and talk to the people who value you.
October 11th, 2018 10:46pm
Lots if people feel this, it is certainly not uncommon. It seems as though you are feeling lots of anxiety and worry and even fear over what other people are thinking about you. Trust me when I say they are not ‘ignoring you’. Think about what you, yourself do when someone messages you. Do you always read it and respond immediately? There are countless ways to cope and conquer this fear. You can message someone then not check the messages until you get a notification. This is more of a short term fix. If you are looking for - long term solution. You should work on self confidence that way, other’s opinions and ‘ignoring’ will leave you unaffected. :)
November 9th, 2018 8:22am
It is stressful to know that somebody has read your reply but hasn’t replied to you. Sometimes it is best to leave the chat and simply wait until they do respond. Worrying too much about the timeliness of a response is additional stress to putting yourself out there. It is also quite helpful to put yourself in their shoes and think that maybe there is an outside factor preventing them from responding immediately to your message. Instant gratification is a constant issue in society today but it is manageable and we can find ways to reduce the stress and pressure we hold around it.
November 9th, 2018 11:22am
Just take deep breaths and relax. People may be busy or unable to respond to you! Just give that person time to respond. They may not want to rush a message to you out of respect :) I find focusing on yourself and concentrating on positive aspects of your life helps drain out the anxiety! With social media the anxiety rate has risen dramatically, it is important to remember that people are busy and will find time to respond to you when they get the chance! And if it is causing great stress just talk to them about it the next time you see or chat to them and give them the chance to explain! This will help greatly.
November 22nd, 2018 2:39pm
I definitely feel the same every time someone leaves me on seen. Like what could I have possibly said wrong to make them just ignore my message?? Of course, I get it if I say "Hey" and they see it too late, which is still personally a bit annoying to me but I let it slide. It's a bit messed up when you let's say approach someone in text and they just leave you on seen. Same for posting in a group and being ignored by the entire group which later just proceeds to talk like nothing happened. If someone seens me, I just try to move on and not think about it. If they don't think replying or talking to you is worth their time, then GUESS WHAT? Neither are they worth yours. Simple as that. It just shows who they are right away :)
November 24th, 2018 4:23am
Yes, this is a normal reaction to have when it come to this. There can sometimes be a glitch in the system as often times it will say someone has seen your message when they actually haven't. Try not to jump to conclusions right away as there are a lot more legit reasons as to why someone hasn't responded yet. It's not always that you are being ignored. Some will read your message and respond to it at a later time as they may not have enough time to answer you in that moment. Some people may not know what to say so they say nothing at all. etc
November 25th, 2018 5:28am
As someone who suffers with generalized anxiety disorder and BPD, I often jump to drastic conclusions in pretty common situations like this. I believe it’s important that we remind ourselves that all the technology we have nowadays in our hands, created this expectations and the idealization that people can be available to give us attention at all times, and that we owe that to other people as well. These expectations aren’t realistic nor healthy. It’s important to practice our patience remembering that there’s thousands of possible reasons for someone not answering us right away, or even ignoring us at times. We don’t have to jump to our conclusions of the worst case scenarios. Try to list in your mind all the multiple possible reasons that someone could not respond to you right away or at all, and try to avoid the ones that put the blame on you. Make an effort to change your mindset by focusing on other perspectives, if you can’t change your automatic feelings about the situation. And if you truly believe you did something really bad or wrong, take your time to evaluate how you can improve and redeem yourself with that person. Be kind to yourself, and always priorize people who want you in their life as much as you want them in yours.
December 6th, 2018 9:47pm
It's a pretty regular thing to feel like this. Everyone lives with the fear that maybe another person does not like them and when he/she sees a message but does not answer it, they begin to wonder "are they mad at me?" "do they not like me?" Sometimes the person simply is busy and will answer the message later. The way to cope is to realize two things: 1) if this person messaged you in the first place, they obviously care to an extent, and 2) if they don't answer within a few hours or just not at all, they are either VERY busy for a long period of time OR you just rid yourself of someone who didn't care about you enough anyway and that is a benefit to be rid of fake friendship.
January 4th, 2019 1:04am
I used to feel bad about this a lot in the past. I started to realise that there's been many times where I see a message, and put it down thinking "oh I'll reply in a moment after I'm done doing something," or I completely forget until later! I feel so bad about it because I totally understand what it's like to be on the other side, and I have to remind myself that sometimes people aren't actively trying to ignore me or be rude, one of the disadvantages of online chatting is that I can't see the persons actions or expression as if we're in real life. I have to remind myself that stuff happens and it doesn't necessarily mean that they don't like me or they're ignoring me.
January 24th, 2019 3:35am
I try to put myself in the other person's shoes. What are reasons that YOU might leave someone on 'seen'? Maybe you read a message and suddenly were distracted, for any number of reasons: you needed to go to the bathroom, someone started an in-person conversation with you, you were in the middle of class, etc. Whenever your mind starts to consider that they're ignoring you, do your best to look at your thoughts logically. Which scenario is more likely, that they are actively ignoring you, or they got distracted by their pet walking into the room? It can be hard sometimes, but you'll feel a lot better in the long run!
January 27th, 2019 2:42am
I completely understand! This happens to me all the time and I'm sure we are not the only ones! Sometimes people will read and reply hours later or not even reply at all! You just have to remember that people get busy sometimes and cant always respond! We are only human after all and sometimes people read things in a rush and forget to reply! I definitely do this unintentionally sometimes and I feel so bad about it afterwards! Try not to take it personally, if the person cares - they will reply eventually and if they don't, pop them another message to remind them! :)
February 1st, 2019 6:36am
Id like to explain with a image example if your reading this answer, just go onto your search engine of choice and look for "yin yang symbol" and you should find a black and white swirly symbol. Look at that as reference as i explain. So to see where you are at in thinking we shall start with that outlook on life. 1. The black is the bad, your simply looking at the black and only seeing the bad. 2. Looking at the white means you are only seeing the good and not seeing whats truely there in the bad. 3. The black dot in the white is the bad inside the good as nothing can ever be completely perfect. 4. The white dot in the black is the good within the bad as no matter how bad it gets theres always good from it somewhere. For your issue of worrying about the seen message your just looking completely at the black and only seeing the bad things that may be true. However there is good in the bad and also a entire other side of good that may have bad in it. Looking at the symbol as its entirety is the way of balance. There is good, there is bad, there good in the bad and there's bad in the good. In the end use this to help your focus your mind with a visual image of that you need to stop focusing on that bad and remember the good possibilities too. Try thinking of a good possibility for every negative one you have.
February 22nd, 2019 6:11am
The scary “seen” button freaks everyone out. I especially get upset about it when I feel like we were having a good conversation and then out of nowhere there’s no response. It gets me thinking, “why don’t they want to reply,” “did I do something wrong,” or it had me feeling insecire about myself. I usually cope with this by excusing the other person. Theres a possibility that something came up and they had to set their phone down, I can relate to the countless of times that I have done that. I can also cope by not going back and rereading the messages to find something wrong. I only say things that I mean and if that person doesn’t agree then there’s no need for me to stress about it. Sometimes when this happens I’ll busy myself with something else like reading a book or playing a game and then I usually forget about the stree that it caused.
March 28th, 2019 10:00am
I definitely know the feeling, it's something that used to bother me a lot and if I'm being honest it's still something I struggle with sometimes, depending on the person who does it. I cope by getting myself distracted or thinking about all the realistic reasons why they wouldn't respond right away. Is there anything you could have done to upset them, which made them ignore you? In most situations there isn't, which means they probably didn't do it on purpose. They are probably busy or needed to think about it before answering, which they then forgot to do because they got distracted. Think about times where you've accidentally ignored someone, we've all been there. And even if they do ignore you, try not to overthink it, there's nothing you can do about it anyway. Remind yourself that social media is a blessing and a curse at the same time, it's easy to stay in contact but messages can easily be taken out of context. Next time you see them you will notice that there's nothing to worry about, they'll most likely act the same as normal. They might also just reply a couple of hours or days later.
April 17th, 2019 10:22pm
This is a good question. I'm sure there are many people who wonder the same thing about the "seen" message on Facebook. From my personal perspective, it could mean anything. I just assume that the person has nothing else to say or maybe they stepped away from the computer, phone, tablet, whatever. There is one person that tries to talk to me and I will talk to her for a minute. She has thing about the phrase "I see", and that just irritates me because she says it all the time, so I don't respond. I'm just like you when it comes to the "seen" message, but that is what I do. Just let it go as they stepped away or something. I hope this helps.
May 1st, 2019 3:25pm
You sound a lot like me. I'm the same. I think it comes from a tendency to overthink things and always resorting to the worst case scenario and making negative interpretations without actual evidence. What I try to do is think rationally and ask myself these questions - “What’s the evidence that this thought is true? Not true?” “What would I tell a friend who had this thought?” “Is there another way of looking at the situation or an alternate explanation?”. As long as I can think 'outside of my body' this tends to really help me calm myself down.
June 12th, 2019 3:59am
That's a very common feeling actually, the social media has made us less patient when it comes to human interactions and when we have to wait a little more, we start to imagine the worst case scenarios for ourselves. It's important to know that not everything is about us, even if it's happening to us, for example, that person who's not answering asap might have something more important and urgent to do at the moment, or he simply doesn't know how to reply that yet, or he's not feeling well and prefers to be alone with his own thoughts for a while. Others are not focused on us, as much as we think and that's okay, but it's not our fault whatsoever.
June 20th, 2019 5:14pm
Yes it happens..when somebody has seen message but doesn't reply we are ought to get anxious...but we can cope with it by ruling out the possible he must be really busy ..or like he will respond when he gets time..he must not be in a situation to respond or he is not responding because of some possible reason...this will help to calm ourselves..this is the best way I dealt with it..and make up your mind that if he doesn't respond it's ok I will not unnecessarily get tensed or nervous. And not replying to messages don't mean always that they are ignoring you that is the point you need to understand..hope it helps
June 23rd, 2019 6:19am
You are not alone when it comes to that situation. There are different ways to cope with it but it also depends on how you yourself cope with it. Example, my friend and I were talking and all of a sudden she left me on seen. Now, I know that there are many reasons why she could have left me on seen, she may be busy and forgot to tell me or she may have lost signal. Both which can be very possible. Try asking the person the next time around if he or she leaves you on seen. Ask them open end questions that would get you answers. If they still leave you on seen, even after the questions, there is a possibility they may not be interested. But that is not your fault. Now for the coping, first of all, remember its not your fault. Second, take a deep breath and exhale slowly. Third, do something else that you enjoy and take the thought out of your mind. Do this each time, and see the difference. I hope this helps.
June 27th, 2019 9:32pm
I also sometimes catch myself being anxious about the "seen" message. It's sometimes the case of being uncertain of what the other person's reaction to my text was. Although after some time I've realized that I sometimes leave people on read too and that's not because of a negative reaction to what I've read, but more often it's a lack of time or maybe sometimes I need more time to process what I've been told and that's okay. I try to think of neutral reasons why would this person not reply to me and then I feel a bit better, because if I don't have malicious intents, why would someone else?
July 28th, 2019 6:53am
I feel this a lot! My best friend leaves me on "seen" a lot and it makes me anxious and lowers my self confidence. It depends on what you've sent and who you have sent it to. I have had to learn that, if I send a funny meme to my best friend he might not respond because he doesn't see a reason to. If you have asked a question then that implies a needed response, it is possible that the person saw your message and simply forgot to respond when they had time later, I know I've done that. A "reponse-worthy message" is different to every individual. I respond when someone sends me something to acknowledge to them that I received it but someone else might think that a meme is worthy of starting a conversation. Don't think too much of it, if those people really didn't care about you or want to talk to you then they would go out of their way to make sure they didn't have to. It is a hard thing to grasp but social media and messages don't give you any worth, what matters is your relationship with them. :)
August 3rd, 2019 2:41am
This is actually a very common thing, feeling anxious when people see but don't reply to your messages. Some apps allow you to turn off the "seen" messages, or you can ask the other person to so that you don't have to deal with it. If not, it sometimes helps me to think of the innocuous reasons why I personally don't always respond to messages- I'm busy at the moment, got distracted and forgot, I don't know where to take the conversation, or I plan on returning to the conversation later. These reasons apply to other people as often as they do to you, and it's very rare that it's actually because they don't like you
August 8th, 2019 3:15am
I feel like this all the time! Sometimes it can make me really anxious, especially if it's an important message or a question that I was already anxious to ask about in the first place. When this happens, the first thing I try to be is realistic. Chances are, they saw the message and got distracted by something else and forgot to respond. I honestly can't name the amount of times I've done that to someone else! If they don't respond in a while, I'll send them a reminder text, something like "Hey, just following up on the message I sent earlier" and then whatever it was. It's really important to not let your mind take your theories and jump with them. As soon as you start overthinking, the situation gets a whole lot more stressful.
August 8th, 2019 10:50am
I had the same problem with WhatsApp some years ago. I don't know about Facebook but maybe you can turn this notification off. If this is not the case or does not help, what I did was the following: I thought about myself and the reasons I might have to not reply right away. All the reasons I could think of were stuff like: I have to eat something, I am taking a break from social media, I have to study, I am taking a bath, or: I want to take time to reply because this person is important to me and at the moment, I do not have enough time. Doing this helped me realise over time, that there really is no reason to worry and with some self-confidence: even if the person wanted to ignore me or had a problem with me, as long as they were not open with me about it or addressed it, it was their problem and their responsibility. I did nothing wrong. When I did, they need to tell me so I can then reflect on myself. But I realised that it was not healthy to reflect on potential mistakes I possibly have made, without really knowing anything for certain. So, this is just my experience, but I really hope that sharing it can help you in some way. Wish you all the best!
August 9th, 2019 11:15pm
I am dealing wirhth the same thing on another social media platforms. I feel irrelevant like people don't respect me. But then I think; sometimes I am online there because it is some emergency thing and mistakenly I 'see' other messages too but cannot answer. Or just when I am about to answer, someone calls me or mom takes my phone :p . So again, mistakenly I 'see' the messages. I don't want to make nervous anyone, including me so I hide all the "seen" stuff. But if I realise that they are doing this on purpose, then I honestly ask them.
August 16th, 2019 5:52pm
oh yes, i know exactly how you feel and I fall into that same trap all the time! When that happens, I take some deep breaths and remind myself of times where I have done the same thing. Generally I see it but I have to put my phone down to address something in my real life, or have to take care of something. Anxiety means well, but in it's effort to protect you. It can go overboard. Remind it that there are so many reasons that the person has seen your message without replying, and that it's not the end of the world. You will be okay, I promise.
September 14th, 2019 10:00am
I absolutely understand where you are coming from! The circle of friends that I have is small and close to my heart, so this is almost definitely something that freaks me out. I do not want to have the things that I hold dear drift away, as I feel that sudden a change would leave me alone without mechanism to cope or head space to find a resolution I can feel at ease with! As for an answer, mine is short and simple enough for at least myself, in theory. I cannot understand what other people are doing at all times, let alone most of the time, so why feed the nagging creature that thrives on assumptions being the worst! I do not like to think spite bubbles to the surface without reason enough for a person to muster up the energy to say, ignore a message for the sake of guiding that soul on an ego trip. Perhaps as an example, that person is a friend who is caught up in family issues that only happen to make life complex, or they themselves are at a point of emotional instability that could really benefit from the empathy and understanding of the world at large, even if only starting with a handful of well intended friends.
September 24th, 2019 6:29pm
It depends on when you send the message and whom. Because if it is during workday, it is normal that people dont immediately reply. But if it is after work, you dont know if they are free or if they are doing something. There are a lot of reasons why people dont reply, even i sometimes dont write back on the same day because i am so tired and need a rest and it has nothing to do with the person who wrote to me. If you have doubts and cannot stand this, the best way to get a confirmation is by asking. You can find a way without being too pushy, to ask the person if they are ignoring you. But be honest and prepared for a real feedback.
October 27th, 2019 10:06pm
I used to go through this myself, and-the consequence was anxiety, frustration and paranoia. A lot of frustration happened to those that I questioned were ignoring me. The best thing I've learnt is to message them only when I need to, so in my regard it would be a day or two before I hope to meet with them. Or I only ask them questions, and not go into any unnecessary small talk. That way they know I require an answer, and if there is a time limit, I can ask them again after a certain amount of time has passed. Otherwise, just keep yourself occupied. Ask "do I really need to send this? Could I just ask them when I see them?"
October 27th, 2019 11:10pm
I understand the feeling all too well. It's never pleasant. I meet up with a friend that I often see once a week. I try to message them a day before I hope to meet up with her, and I make it clear that it's a question I'm asking that requires an answer. Or you can ask yourself if the message you want to send is really worth sending. Is there a better time to send it etc Once I've sent the message, I often go off of Facebook and keep myself occupied. People are busy. If I receive a message, I often tell myself I'll reply later, then forget. There's no harm in sending a follow up message - nothing nasty accusing them of ignoring you - after a good period of time has gone by, so you don't look needy.