Imagine yourself chatting up your crush on her favorite social media site, or perhaps sending text messages to her phone directly. After a while of quick back-and-forth flirting and joking around, you find an opening to hint about bringing your relationship to a deeper level. You muster up the courage and go for it, sending her a message that you hope isn’t too cheesy, awkward, or just straight up corny. The message goes through, the app you’re using says she’s seen it, and you wait for her reply.
Only the reply never comes. You wait, and wait, and wait—and still nothing.
Minutes go by. Hours. It’s already the next day, and she has yet to reply. You’re left in a state of clammy-handed nervousness, dread, and confusion. Questions start racing through your mind: Did she lose her cellular or Wi-Fi signal? Did her phone battery die? Did her phone get stolen? Maybe she just got called away by her parents, or her boss, or went to do something equally urgent. She may even just have fallen asleep and overslept after a tiring day behind her.
Then other possible scenarios start flooding in. What if she just didn’t know what to reply to what you said? But also, what if the message you just sent turned her off so strongly that she decided that you’re not even worth replying to anymore? Whatever it is, you don’t know. However, what you do know is that you feel trapped and bummed out at the same time. Trapped in that you don’t know how to deal with this, and bummed out that she seems to be ignoring you.
If you’ve ever had to deal with this, then you probably know by now—brother—that you’ve been relegated to the dreaded “seen zone”—millennial talk for being ignored on social media or private messaging. It’s arguably not as bad as being put into the “friend zone,” simply because it doesn’t outright shut out the possibility of a relationship with the object of your affection. However, it still stings!
Nevertheless, there’s also the fact that there is a way to gracefully deal with being in the seen zone, and it’s all in what you do after you’ve been dumped into it. The following is a list of tips on how to do just that.
Avoid jumping to conclusions
Once you find yourself in the seen zone, what you immediately have to do is to avoid going into a panic mode and thinking it’s the end of the world. Letting your emotions get the better of you isn’t going to do anything other than make you look immature and unable to practice self-restraint. Both of those aren’t particularly viewed as boyfriend material traits by the fairer sex. Worse, it makes you look like you’re constantly needy—or even hungry—for attention, something that is despised even more by women.
So take a deep breath, count to ten, and just give her a bit of space and time to reply. Yes, we know all about how fun it is to chat with your crush and flirt around with her, but remember that you’re trying to present yourself as a viable partner, not as a kid she constantly has to babysit. You have to show her that you’re emotionally mature enough to handle potentially awkward scenarios with tact and not make a huge deal about it—such as when she fails to reply to your messages fast enough. After all, there are a lot of possible reasons why she couldn’t, with her being put off by your innocent-seeming message only being one of them.
Consider the time you’ve been seen-zoned
The timing of when you were put into the seen zone matters a huge deal as well, as it could very well explain why you’ve been seen-zoned. At what time did it take place? Was it during a really late hour past midnight, during one of your occasional sleepless conversations? Or maybe it was during the morning or evening rush hour, something that you can take into consideration if your love interest is a working member of society or a college student who has to commute frequently to her school. Maybe it happened smack dab in the middle of lunch time or dinner, a time when phones are usually put away, especially in polite or familial company.
There’s also the possibility that the target of your affections may be up to certain activities that prevent her from being able to reply pronto. She may be at work, at school, at church, or volunteering for a worthwhile cause. She may be studying, cooking, or taking care of her younger siblings.
Simply put, before you go into panic mode, check the time first. Chances are high that your crush was indeed called away by someone or something else, and not put off because of your awkward or corny flirtations. This makes more sense if you can identify a pattern with your past seen zone experiences with her. It’s probably not you, it’s just her schedule.
Check her social media pages for activity
Giving her social media pages a quick look for any signs of life is something you can do immediately after you’ve been seen-zoned. Now, we don’t advocate cyberstalking, and as such, you should only do this as a last resort, and only as a means of verification.
Is she liking her friends’ Facebook photos or retweeting other people’s tweets? Is she carrying on a conversation with someone else in a public post’s comment section? In short, is she doing something else on her social media accounts right now instead of replying to you? If she isn’t, then she must really be off the grid for some reason. If she is, well, then that could mean two things. First, she’s simply busy talking to other people, or second, she’s really delaying sending you a response to your message.
If you find out that she’s currently active online, it’s important not to harry her for response. Remember, you’re not entitled to her time. Furthermore, telling her that you’ve seen her being active on social media or giving any hint that you are aware of what she’s doing will only make it look like you’re someone that’s keeping close tabs on her—or worse, someone who’s exhibiting outright stalker-like behavior.
Give her space
We’ve already mentioned giving your crush ample time to respond, but we can’t stress it enough: don’t hound her for a timely reply. You are expected to respect her time even if you are already dating or in a relationship, so it’s even more important if the two of you are not yet an item. You have to accept that you’re not a huge priority in her social life just yet—you’re still just a friend or an acquaintance. As such, you should not feel entitled to her attention. Doing so, whether directly or through non-verbal hints, will just wreck your chances of getting to know her better and having an opportunity to deepen your bond with her. You’ll end up as that needy, overly dramatic guy whom she blocks and avoids entirely.
Giving her space is the best thing you can do in a seen zone situation, as there is also the chance that you did say something that’s made her feel a bit awkward about the entire conversation, making her unable to think of a quick reply. By being patient and being a gentleman about giving her room to rally in, she’ll feel a bit more comfortable with replying soon enough.
Call her attention once—and only once
Still getting nothing, even after a long while? Then go ahead and follow up the message that got you into the seen zone with a funny or polite follow-up. For example, you can ask where she disappeared off to. Another way is to ask her if she received your message or not—you can pretend that you’re having internet problems if you like, for additional insurance. Yet another is to respectfully ask if she’s busy, and if you should just talk to her another time. Any of these should prompt a reply sooner or later.
What’s important, though, is that you only do it once. You can probably get away with doing it twice, but do more than that and you risk being seen as an irritating annoyance or nuisance. After sending your follow up message, just give her the space and time to reply. Distract yourself by doing something else.
By doing this, you’re showing her that while you’re concerned that she hasn’t replied yet, you also have other things to take care of—you’re not hanging on to her every word or making her the sole focus of your day. It also shows her you’re emotionally mature enough not to panic and cause a scene if things aren’t going the way you wanted them to.
If she still doesn’t reply after this, though…
Talk to her in earnest about your feelings
This is something you should do if your being trapped in the seen zone has gone past any kind of rational explanation, and any attempts of you trying to continue the conversation is straight up ignored, even when it’s clear that she’s actively communicating with everybody else. Once again, be polite. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you.
Ask first if there’s anything wrong, or if something happened that prevented her from replying. You can open with an apology if you like, especially if you know that what you said beforehand could have been seen as offensive. However, this is usually for the most extreme of cases, such as if you truly did say something off-color or even insulting. For everything else, it’s best to try opening communications with the aim of knowing exactly what happened, rather than being submissive or being aggressive right off the bat.
Doing this would usually prompt a response, as you’ve escalated things to the point that you’re asking about what happened. While there’s a chance that her putting you in the seen zone has a valid and rational explanation, there’s a bigger chance that you’re not going to like the answer she’s going to give you. So, brace yourself for that, and remember—at the end of the day, it’s just a crush. You don’t need to be that upset about it, nor should you compromise your self-respect by making a big deal out of it.
Now, if it turns out that her reason for being away for so long is legit, then tell her—without gushing uncontrollably or being overly dramatic about it—how concerned you were, and how glad you are that she’s back. Keep it short and sweet while making her feel that she was missed. If not, then we’re sorry to say this, but you have to…
It’s healthy to have crushes. After all, it’s how you learn about what kind of girl you want to be with, and what kind of partner you want in life. However, you’ll just have to accept the fact that a crush is just that—a crush. A temporary attraction that, until you do something about it, will just stay as a temporary attraction. If you did try to do something about it and you ended up in the seen zone because of it, well, that’s nothing to be depressed or sad about.
It speaks well about you and your character that you risked getting emotionally hurt to know what your chances are. Sure, you did get hurt and you didn’t get what you want, but at the very least, you won’t have to spend the rest of your life wondering. You can now move on and pursue other people—and considering how many women there are in the world, there’s bound to be someone else that you’ll click with.
There you have it—the Bruce Kho-approved way of dealing with being in the seen zone. Remember our tips: be polite, be a gentleman, and don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Keep these in mind, along with the steps we listed above, and you should be able to deal with this kind of situation much better.