How much time should go by before you assume you’ve been “blown off” and when (or if) should you send another message?
Something I have to remind myself about is that a lot of onliners do not check e-mail every day or all day like I do. I’ve had folks reply weeks later! So speed of response, while we would appreciate a prompt response and that is the courteous thing to do, this will differ from person to person.
If a person generally responds right away and you’ve not heard from them, what I recommend is that you do a follow-up in a day or two asking if everything is okay. Let them know that you are just concerned about not hearing from them and are checking to see if they received your e-mail.
Still haven’t heard back? Depending on the relationship with the person you are e-mailing, that would dictate my level of concern and my next move. For example, if it’s your Mom and you know she would have been online by now — pick up the phone and see if she’s O.K. However, if you are e-mailing someone you met on a dating site and they aren’t responding — well… take a hint.
For you slow responders, taking the time to offer a prompt response is simply common courtesy. Anticipation of a fast reply with e-mail is a given in our narcissistic culture where many times both sides are only thinking of themselves. The Sender wants a response — now; the Recipient is doing what they want which is not responding to e-mail as fast as others would like.
If you find some are impatient with your response time, let them know you aren’t online as much as they are, that you are not intentionally ignoring them or “blowing them off” and that you do your best to respond when you do get around to getting online.
It’s all about communicating folks! Use your e-mail to communicate your expectations as well as manage what others can expect from you.