Today is your fortunate day. You just scored the digits of your 2nd greatest prospect on OKCupid and you’re ready to embark scheduling actual dates.
But don’t begin tapping away at that touchscreen just yet. Don’t you know there are rules to this sort of thing? I mean, you wouldn’t simply text someone you like and want to see again, would you? You might come off as desperate or clingy or, worse, like you’re actually interested. Every texting stir you make needs to be cautiously planned so you don’t totally embarrass yourself and die.
Never you fear, youthfull Casanova. Consider this your guide to relationship texting etiquette. But please, don’t go after these rules for face-to-face conversation. (I’ve never gotten past texting, I actually have no idea what real dating is like.)
1. Everyone loves one-word answers.
Trust me on this. If you get a well-typed, thoughtful paragraph about her bad day or his dinner suggestions, the most impactful response is a nice “k.” Or “cool.” Or how about “ha.” That one always works.
The one-word response is akin to the smile and nod in face-to-face conversation. It recognizes the person is talking, but permits you the freedom to totally zone out and instead concentrate on what’s significant to you.
Two. Wait hours to react.
The worst thing that could ever happen is to give her a whiff of how desperate you are for this date. When she sends you a text like “What are you doing today?”, wait an hour to react so it seems like you’re accomplishing something indeed exceptional instead of sitting on the couch. She’ll instantaneously conjure pics of you practising your latest ballad on your guitar or volunteering at a soup kitchen — you know, something super fly.
If she waits an hour to react to your text, then she’s obviously truly significant. You should wait two hours to prove you’re more significant and busy than she is. Apply this ratio to every text. If plain conversations take days, you’re doing it right.
This is also particularly effective in situations where the other person might be worried for your emotional or physical well-being. Sending messages like “we need to talk” with no follow-up for hours is a good way to keep her anticipating your next budge.
Three. Text a lot so you’re sure they’re okay.
Every duo is different, and the waiting game doesn’t always pay off as planned. If your boo isn’t responding as quickly as you’d like, send him three or four more messages to make sure he’s for sure getting your messages/hasn’t died in a car crash. The longer he doesn’t react, assume the worst. Then make sure to communicate fright in your responses. Obviously something is wrong. Why wouldn’t he react to you right away? There’s no possible explanation.
Four. Never. Text. Very first.
Ever. This is imperative. What, do you want to be the one who is always putting the most effort into the relationship? Do you want to always give 100% and only get 50% back? Of course you don’t. You deserve better. You deserve a playmate who cares. You deserve the very first text every day.
Five. Cut out unnecessary characters.
Even tho’ you’ve got at least an hour to craft each response to perfection (if you’re following rule No. Two correctly), your responses should seem as rushed and hurried as possible. You don’t have time to spell things correctly — you’re busy volunteering at the soup kitchen, recall?
Liquidate unnecessary letters and words from your post. Vowels in particular are effortless to cut. The key is to look as illiterate as possible, while still appearing to have some semblance of how words work.
For example, an suitable response to the question, “What are you doing tonight?” would be: “hdd Two br w bros.” Notice there are several possible meanings here. Are you headed to the bar with the bros? Did you have two beers with your bros? Are you advertising a two-bedroom apartment with your masculine roommates? Keep her guessing, it makes you mysterious.
6. Don’t call them. Why would you call them?
This is significant: Don’t call someone you’re just casually texting, and don’t ever call someone who very first texted you. What are you going to do next, propose marriage? It’s way too soon for voice-to-voice communication.
“But wouldn’t it be so much lighter to arrange this with a five-minute phone call instead of a three-day texting conversation?” you ask. Of course it would. But it’s 2013. These options just aren’t available to you anymore.
7. Laugh at their jokes.
Just like real life, people like it when you validate their good sense of humor, so give a hearty “BAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA” each time he says something mildly amusing. Alternate by throwing in a few “lols” or a “rofl” just to prove you’re an equal chance acronym user.
You know what? Leave behind we said all this. React to all of his jokes and your own with a solid “he he.” It says, “I’m playful and mischievous and not creepy at all.”
8. Punctuation is key. Emoticons work, too.
Punctuation represents the difference inbetween nice texting and rude texting. You should always, always, always include numerous exclamation points at the end of positive responses. How else can you ensure the recipient knows you truly are excited about her choice of restaurant?
If you’re upset with your mate, a period at the end of a brief response will assure her you mean business. Add commas, quotation marks and other confusing markings if you seek a more literary vibe. Don’t use semicolons. No one knows how semicolons actually work.
If you fear the punctuation mark is making you seem too impatient, substitute it with an emoticon. Emoticons are the best and if you don’t use them and instead rely on the power of the written language to attempt to convey emotions like poets have done for thousands of years, then you’re a soulless machine.
And there you have it, you would-be romantics of the world, your fool-proof guide to romantic texting etiquette. Now get out there and make ’em swoon.
Editor’s note: Don’t go after any advice in this post. Ever. Dating is hard enough as is. Stop overthinking texting. Stop overthinking dating. Just stop it. It’s supposed to be joy.