We live in a digital age where quick and instant communication has become the norm. In such times, waiting for a reply or sitting with an unanswered text can trigger feelings of anxiety. Whether it’s waiting for a reply from a friend, family member, or romantic partner, the absence of a response can lead to a range of emotions. While some feelings of nervousness and excitement are normal, constantly feeling anxious about an unanswered text can be unhealthy and even impact relationships negatively in the long run.

Why do unanswered texts cause anxiety?

  There might be multiple reasons why you feel anxious when someone doesn’t text you back. They are:  
  •  Instant Gratification

When someone replies to our texts instantly, it releases a chemical called dopamine in our brains. Dopamine creates a feeling of satisfaction and instant gratification. So, when we’re feeling anxious, waiting for a text is like anticipating a boost of happiness from our brain’s dopamine, while not receiving a text denies dopamine.  
  • Worried about the other person

Sometimes, we might feel anxious because we are concerned about the other person’s whereabouts and well-being.  
  • Fear of Rejection

The delay in receiving a text response may trigger a fear of rejection. You might be worried that the lack of replies implies that the other person isn’t interested in talking to you or has certain negative feelings towards you.   
  • Previous Negative Experiences

Past experiences of being ignored or ghosted can create a heightened sense of anxiety or worry about receiving delayed replies, as you might be worried about having a similar negative experience once again.  
  • Lack of Face to face-to-face interaction

Texting can be a challenging form of communication, as there is a lack of direct interaction. Lack of direct interaction also means that we have little to no idea about how the other person is reacting or feeling about the message. This uncertainty about how the other person interprets your messages may be a cause of anxiety.

How to overcome anxiety about unanswered texts?

  • Avoid Difficult Conversations Over Texts

Lack of face-to-face interactions can make having a difficult conversation over text even more challenging. Miscommunication over texts can lead to a heightened sense of anxiety. Thus, it might be helpful to reserve difficult or serious topics for in-person interactions.  
  • Have An Honest Conversation

Talk to your friends and loved ones about how you feel about late replies. By talking about your feelings openly, you can invite their thoughts and ideas and see how they might be able to help you.  
  • Understand Communication Styles

Everyone has different styles and preferences for communicating with others. Some people might feel more comfortable on a call, while others might rely on texting. Understanding communication differences can help you create acceptance for late replies.  
  • Ask for Clarification

If a text message you have sent is making you nervous, it might be a good idea to ask the other person for clarification regarding how they feel about it. Seeking clarification helps you avoid miscommunication.  
  • Limit Screen Time

The more time we spend on social media, the more anxiety it can cause about unanswered texts. Limiting time on social media and screen time can allow you to reflect on your feelings about texting while also giving you time to engage in other meaningful activities. Engaging in other hobbies can also help cope with anxiety.


  Anxiety triggered by an unanswered text is quite common in the digital age. One can cope with this anxiety by seeking clarification and having honest conversations with others around them It is also important to remember that some anxiety and nervousness are normal, but long periods of distress or anxiety about unanswered texts can be a sign of underlying issues that need to be addressed with the help of a professional.   References  
  1. Ashton, P. (2022, March 25). Get Anxiety When Someone Doesn’t Text Back? (Texting Anxiety Explained). Self Development Journey. https://selfdevelopmentjourney.com/anxiety-when-someone-doesnt-text-back/
  2. Texting Anxiety: What It Is & How to Deal With It. (n.d.). Choosing Therapy. Retrieved January 4, 2024, from https://www.choosingtherapy.com/texting-anxiety/
Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin