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How Long Is *Too Long* To Reply To A Message Or Email?

This is for every person who loves to say, 'Sorry for the delayed response.'
PHOTO: istockphoto

"Sorry for the delayed response."

"Apologies for the delay."

"I'm sorry for the late reply."

If you're being honest with yourself, you probably include one of these lines in every other email or message you send. Either you really forgot to reply to someone's message or you needed time to formulate a decent response. So how "fast" should you be replying to someone?

In an email interview with Cosmopolitan Philippines, Debrett's Etiquette Expert, Katherine Lewis, advises "a prompt reply is always the best reply [when it comes to] direct messaging, and as a general rule, the quicker you respond the better."

If someone contacts you via Facebook Messenger, for example, people can see when you've read their message. And when that happens, "leaving responses for more than a day creates the impression that you are too busy or disinterested to reply." I'm guilty of this, and I'm sure so many people are, too. 


If you're in a meeting or simply too busy to respond, Lewis suggests, "Leave messages unread until you have a chance to read and reply immediately. Or turn on push notifications so you can preview your messages without the sender knowing you've read them."

Everyone knows being ~*ghosted*~ stings, even if there's no romance involved. So the next time you apologize "for the delay," offer a brief explanation as to why you couldn't answer right away. 

Once the conversation is over, indicate that you're now signing off in a way. According to Lewis, "Older people tend to sign off in their messages with a 'Love, Dad' for example. In fact, half of global 45 to 64 year-olds sign off with their names whereas only a third of 18 to 24 year-olds feel it's necessary."

By telling someone that you're 'bout to bounce and that things have been finalized, you're letting them know they don't have to constantly be checking your thread for updates. ;)

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