A few years back, I got my first iPhone. I was so excited to explore all the cool stuff I could do with this new piece of technology. One of the first things I did, however, was turn off my ‘Read Receipts.’ I’m not exactly sure why this was such a priority, but I think someone at the Apple Store told me to do it.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, a ‘Read Receipt’ is a feature of Apple’s iMessage system that notifies your contacts when you’ve read their text messages. Basically? You know whether or not someone opened your message. You also know how long they took between reading what you wrote and replying to it.
Now some people think this is invasive. They think… Why is it anyone’s business when I read their text and how long I take to respond? And that’s exactly how I felt up until a few weeks ago…
One day I noticed a pattern. I realized how much I love when the person I’m texting has their ‘Read Receipts’ turned on. Something about the proof they got my message made me feel validated and appreciated. It was nice knowing they saw what I said and got back to me right away. When I saw the value I was getting from such a simple feature, I decided to press the button and activate my ‘Read Receipts,’ too.
The catalyst was one of my girlfriends who’s an incredibly busy business owner. Often times, she has her phone on ‘Airplane Mode’ until the end of her work day. When I ask her a question, she usually doesn’t get back to me for a few hours. But because she has her receipts activated, I know she’s on duty, not ignoring me.
Another reason I love ‘Read Receipts’ is because they keep you accountable in your communications. When you know your contact has been notified that you opened their message, you’re more likely to respond in a timely manner. It makes you more mindful and considerate of the people trying to talk to you.
Since I’ve turned my receipts on, I’m also on my phone less. If I’m unavailable because I’m spending time with someone I love or working, I avoid checking my text messages. I’m more present to the people I’m with and the task at hand because people will know if I got their message but neglected to say anything back.
Lastly, I think ‘Read Receipts’ help to eliminate a certain element of shadiness when it comes to business and relationships. Yes, there are ways to turn these notifications on and off for certain people. Yes, you can activate message previews so you get the gist of their message without the confirmation that you read it. Loopholes do exist. But I still think for the most part, receipts help to instill greater trust and confidence between 2 people.
Small changes have a way of making a big difference. For me, activating ‘Read Receipts’ has improved my quality of life. This small tweak makes me feel like I’m living in integrity. It helps me to feel slightly more transparent and, well, real.
If you want to be more accountable in your communications, spend less time on your phone or create deeper trust with the people in your life? Consider turning on those ‘Read Receipts.’ See if it makes a difference for you, too. Remember: You can always turn them back off. 😉
Here’s to using technology to become better people!
PS. I couldn’t write about phones without including THIS song. 😉