Best follow up to unanswered text or email, probably overlooked

Sometimes I send a text or email to a friend and don’t get a response. Most of the time I’m about 98% sure they saw it, couldn’t respond in the moment, then other texts/emails/real life things happened and they forgot about it and it got pushed down in the message box. I don’t want to seem pushy, and if I suspect they are purposely avoiding me I will usually let it drop, but the times I’m thinking of they likely just need a little reminder.

If nobody responds to my thread on the Straight Dope I’ll post “bump” to move it up on the page. Is there a text/email equivalent? How do you follow up?

It depends on the message.

If it’s: Meet me at the coffee shot tomorrow around 7AM. I’d probably follow up.

If it’s: Isn’t this the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? I probably would let it go.

As above.

If the topic is still relevant I’ll send a new message making no reference to the first. They either reply or they don’t. If not I try to contact them via another means.

I also don’t bother people sending out useless “status” messages or forwarding “interesting” stuff. I communicate when I want an answer. And only when I want an answer.

If you, any you, are frequently not getting replies, perhaps you should evaluate whether you look like a spammer, albeit a personally familiar spammer, to your targets. If you’re mostly spreading a blizzard of chaff you should not be surprised when other people fail to notice the occasional kernel of wheat hidden within.

How to follow up when you do want/need a reply? Reasonable options I can think of/have used are

  1. Forward the original message to them, maybe with an added brief “Wonder if you saw this?” line at top.
  2. Forward the original message, but with a new subject line and paraphrasing the original (“I sent you this Tuesday - don’t know if you saw it or had a chance to think about it, but I was wondering…”
  3. Whole new message without quoting the prior one, but acknowledging its existence parenthetically within the new message, maybe as a PS.

It’s hard to do gracefully without knowing whether your message was seen (as you know). I use option 1 in workplace environments where I am doing some CYA (like I want to make it clear I did actually message the person before a deadline, but otherwise want to keep it brief). Option 2 is general purpose - it seems the least passive-aggressive. Option 3 seems neediest to me, and I use it if I’m asking someone for something and therefore want to communicate my neediness - like asking for time off from work and need to buy that plane ticket.

Send them another message from a different email address, and ask them to check their Spam Folder.

I usually do a Reply All* to my original email (so it sends it to them instead of only to me) and say something like “Just checking if you’ve had a chance to look into this yet.” I get these periodically myself and appreciative of the reminder, not bothered that they followed up. It acknowledges that you understand they are probably just busy, not ignoring you.

*I reply instead of forward because for some reason, an “Re:” at the beginning of the subject seems less pushy than “Fw:”. Maybe because replies represent the normal flow of conversation, while forwards are often used to escalate something to others.