Consider two cases of people sending messages to each other:

Case 1: Two people are online and both are free. They are doing nothing other than chatting with each other, so both of them are replying within a few seconds. After chatting for some time they go away for the whole day.

Case 2: Person 1 messaged Person 2. Routinely Person 2 checked his messages, saw a message from person 1, and then replied to it. And this process keeps repeating all day. So each other is replying after anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours of getting message, at his convenience.

How can I differentiate between these cases? How can I say I like case 1 instead of case 2? Are there some words that can I use instead of typing this long description?

  • 2
    You can say you're looking for a real-time conversation, or prefer a rapid dialog, or anything in that spirit.
    – Dan Bron
    Nov 24, 2014 at 14:05
  • You could ask if for your interlocutor's undivided attention until you resolve whatever issue is on the table, but it would be hard to phrase that diplomatically in an informal situation. It would be more appropriate if you have so concrete, tactical, question to resolve.
    – Dan Bron
    Nov 24, 2014 at 14:38
  • What does as per mean? Nov 24, 2014 at 17:24
  • @BlessedGeek: as per is a common expression in InE meaing roughly "in accordance to". As per his convenience : whenever is convenient for him. In BrE I think this idiom is considered archaic, but it is alive and kicking in other places :)
    – oerkelens
    Nov 24, 2014 at 20:11
  • "this idiom is considered archaic". It is not idiomatic or archaic. If it is "archaic", shouldn't I be able to find the phrase in Shakespeare, KJV or Edgar Ellen Poe? It is probably an awkward use of the Latin per, sometimes used in legal documents in place of the phrase in pursuant to. Since per (but not as per) is prevalent in use in legal documents, it is not archaic. Since it means what it means as it means, it is not idiomatic. Nov 24, 2014 at 20:25

2 Answers 2


For Case 1, I would say "chatting in real time". You might also say something like "replying right away".

For Case 2, we can corrupt the common English phrase "playing phone tag". Phone tag is when two parties are trying to get a hold of one another via telephone, but only get each others' answer machines, leading to a back-and-forth cycle of "Hi, this is Party A. Please call me back.", "Hi, this is Party B, returning your call. Call me back.", etc.

We can use the phrase "IM tag" to describe this phenomenon as applied to instant messaging.

So, to apply these, I might say:

I much prefer when we can chat in real time. Playing IM tag all day is really frustrating.


I would say in Case 1 the people are chatting instantaneously, and in Case two, they are chatting "as time allows." Which means whenever they are available to reply.

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