REVEALED: Why People Don't Respond To Emails Anymore

inbox numbers big

New York Times reporter Alina Tugend noticed that lately, people are much less likely to respond to emails from their friends and colleagues.

She asked a bunch of people why.

Some answers:

  • We’re not used to the pacing yet. Rutgers Business School professor Terri Kurtzberg says that while in audible conversations “it’s clear how long a silence should last before you need to respond. Tere’s no norm with digital communication.”
  • We want to say no to a favour asked, but feel guilty. “I want to say ‘no’, but feel that the right thing is to say ‘yes’, so I am frozen and then I plan on going back to the e-mail to draft a reply, but it gets buried. Then I feel even worse for not replying and put it off again. It’s not nice to leave people hanging, but I do.”
  • It’s easier. “If people send me a message that I don’t want to deal with, it’s easier not to respond. At this stage, there are so many requests from my children, I can’t deal with requests from adults.”
  • Not replying sends a message. “Recently, a nanny asked me for a job reference. I don’t think the nanny deserves the reference. I thought about responding, but didn’t. To me, it’s easier not to say something.”
  • “No response is the new no.”
  • We mean to write a thoughtful response, but never find the time. “Sometimes, I don’t answer because I don’t have time to give the response I think is deserved, so I put it off until later, then forget and the message winds up being that I didn’t care enough to respond, when, in fact, I cared too much.”
  • Replying will just result in more email. “Replying to e-mail is like slaying the Hydra. Once you answer one, it often generates a flurry of more e-mails.”

On Twitter, WSJ publisher Raju Narisetti linked to this article, and said, “ignoring E-Mails is a new way to say “No”, increasing irritation levels.”

NBC chief digital officer Vivian Schiller responded to the tweet, calling the trend, “inexcusable.”

What do you think?

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.