By Loreen Sarmiento |February 24,2018 - 10:50 PM

My niece was stressed.

She didn’t know how to make the water dispenser work.

She was staying at my condo, but the water dispenser belongs to my brother who was out on vacation.

Why didn’t she send a message to her uncle on Facebook Messenger, I asked. She said she did but she was just “seen-zoned.”


I’m of the Baby Boomers II generation so “seen-zoned” is strange to me.

Even if I am still working using modern day technologies, this kind of jargon just sprout like mushrooms that one can’t catch up with it if you don’t have the millennials around.

So I pretended to know what my millennial niece meant and quickly googled “seen-zoned.”

Here’s what I got : “They’re not going to respond. They’ve seen your message and they’re leaving it unanswered like a high-five left hanging in the air. You’ve been seen-zoned.”


So it means “being ignored.”

Well, during my time, we used “deadma”.

“Seen-zoned” or “deadma,” it’s the same feeling of pain — that one is not worthy of a response or maybe people think one’s message is stupid or worse, that one is not liked. It can be very disconcerting.

In messaging apps, you’d know if your message was seen.

The green dot is there or your photo is displayed after the message which tells you who has read your message or post. But why are they not replying, commenting or reacting?

That is being “seen-zoned.”

The feeling gets worst if your message ends with a question mark, meaning, you’d expect an answer. But nothing, nada, zilch! No response.

It’s like you’re talking to a person and they suddenly walk away from you.

No reason.

They just leave you.

Of course, you feel offended. Ignored.

In messaging online, all you can do is wait. Maybe they’re busy so they can’t reply.

But they did have time to open your message! Can a simple click take so much of their time?

Or maybe they’re distracted with something and so they are not in the mood to engage in exchanging messages with you.

Not at this time.

But then, can’t they just type something like “ ok” or “not now, I will talk to you later.”

I am guilty of this sometimes.

I know that if I answer, it will open the door for more comments, and I don’t have the time for this.

If not any of these reasons, then well, they are just the type who don’t care at all. So, do you still want to chat with people like this?

To be given the silent treatment is painful.

Research has shown that the act of ignoring or excluding activates the same area of the brain that is activated by physical pain.

The silent treatment is powerful. In fact, it is being used as a weapon of choice that has greater effect than physical or verbal lashing.

In my early years of marriage, the so-called adjustment period after the honeymoon stage, I would find myself quarreling with my late husband.

I would be the talker.

He was the listener.

The more he stays silent, the angrier I become.

And so he starts to speak out.

But when he does, I’d clam up.

He would shrug and leave me be.

Why does the silent treatment hurt me yet when I do it to him, no effect?

But think positive.

It’s a glass half-filled with water more than a glass half-empty.

“Being taken for granted is an unpleasant but sincere form of praise.

Ironically, the more reliable you are, and the less you complain, the more likely you are to be taken for granted.” -Gretchen Rubin

And for those who have the habit of frequently ignoring others, remember that you’re dealing with human beings not robots.

Show a little courtesy.

For example, instead of ignoring someone’s email or message, you can send a one-liner, “May I get back to you later?”

Or if you don’t like having to say no, remember that by leaving that person waiting or hanging indefinitely is hurting the person more.

Be honest but be respectful in going against the message or idea. Say, “Sorry but I don’t think that’s a good plan.”

It may disappoint the other person, but that’s not so hurting as leaving her “seen-zoned.”

There are a lot of people around us who are also feeling unloved, ignored and “seen-zoned.”

Let this Lenten Season be not just our own fasting and sacrifice.

It’s also about charity-doing works of mercy.

This is the best time not to ignore our less fortunate brothers and sisters who have been “seen-zoned” for a long time.

They could just be near us. Let’s notice them.

The message in Matthew 22:37-40 is that if we ignore our neighbors, we are ignoring God, too.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.”

Share with me a daily prayer to God to show us what and how to do some work of mercy for other people.

Not just this season but for all time.

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