The uncertainty that weaves its way into your psyche while you wait can cause angst, sleepless nights and worse.
Danny Garcia wants you to respond to his emails - pronto. Take too long and he starts getting anxious.
He even lies awake at night wondering when you'll reply.
Sending emails creates anxiety for Garcia, New York-based marketing operations manager at Stacklist, a website that lists apps and tools that CEOs use in their business.
Butterflies churn in his stomach from the moment he hits send.
That might sound extreme, but actually, it's not all that uncommon. Waiting for a response can sometimes be anxiety-inducing under the best circumstances.
With hundreds of emails finding their way into our inboxes every day, it's nearly impossible to answer every one immediately - if at all.
Plenty of research documents the stress that an overflowing inbox of unread messages can cause - one study found that getting constant email notifications during the day and checking emails in the morning and night created increased levels of anxiety.
But there are no statistics or research on just how anxious people get when e-mails go unanswered, at least none labelled as such according to the American Psychological Association.
Lack of control
It's a perceived lack of control over your environment and the uncertainty that leads to such extreme email anxiety, says Julie McCarthy, a professor of organisational behaviour and human resources management at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
"You don't have control in terms of when the person is going to get back to you and, at the same time, there's a level of uncertainty around what their response is going to be," she says.
What's more, our text messaging and Facebook-liking culture has conditioned us to expect an immediate response. If we don't get that instant gratification, anxiety can kick in.
Read the full article here