Sex + Dating

The Case for Not Waiting to Text Someone Back

iMessage of the word "hey"
Jen Bui/Thrillist

How is it that we've come so far as a civilization, yet something as asinine as a two-letter word sent from one person to another in an inordinate amount of time can derail us faster than Keanu Reeves behind the wheel of a bus with a motion-sensitive bomb attached to the engine?

When you ask someone how long one should wait before texting a romantic interest back, the answer usually varies, but the "solution" always involves some variation of keeping someone on the hook for the maximum amount of time before hope is lost and then texting them "hey."

Man, what a shitty thing to do.

Texting is imperfect. Truly, truly imperfect. In fact, so is dating. Both manage to become amazingly convoluted and difficult for such obvious, simplistic (in theory) cultural phenomenons. Because of this murkiness, there will never be a perfect equation for successful dating -- nor for how regularly to text, and when.

Too often, movies, TV shows, music videos, and friends tell us to wait until the last appropriate moment to text someone back. We're told to follow the three-day rule after a date, or not to text until texted.

This is all totally wrong. Here's why.

No one is ever on the same page with texts

The first text message was sent on December 3rd, 1992, giving the world barely 25 years to perfect this flawed method of communication. Compare this with the 150-odd years of experience that people have had making telephone calls. There are so many things that can go wrong from both texting and not texting.

You send the wrong emoji, your punctuation comes off as passive-aggressive, you mean to write "hey, how are you" but accidentally send the best-lit dick pic.

More common than sending the wrong text message is sending the right text message that gets lost in translation. To you, sending, "I had so much fun on Thursday" a week after Thursday happened isn't necessarily a move that resonates with the person you're texting. To you, you've waited the "right amount of time," but to them, you're nothing more than an emotional fisherman… dangling them on the hook with no regard for their feelings.

This hammers away at the severely outdated method of using aggression and irreverence to make someone gain interest in you. Let's put an end to this.

They're going to find someone else in the time you take waiting

This is 2016, not 1955 -- people's attention spans are on an ever-shrinking spiral down the drain and no one really cares about Communism anymore. Even if you really like somebody and they like you back, there's no guarantee that the person waiting on the other side will even wait a day for you... let alone a week.

"You should assume someone's date card is full, even when they're enjoying their date with you."

What makes you think that you have the kind of hold on someone where blatantly ignoring them for a week will work out in your favor? The ease in which dating apps allow you to find someone to seamlessly take the place of absent love is a major player in doing away with outdated courtship rituals.

Author and celebrity dating coach, Julie Spira, couldn't agree more:

"I'm a big advocate of the squeaky wheel gets the digital love deal. When it comes to dating games, I say toss the old waiting game away. The reason is that so many people are dating online and on mobile apps. This means there are a lot of options."

So, what is there to do when you've just gotten home from an amazing date and want to make sure they don't get away? Well, why not just text them? Spira speaks to the part of the dating pool that sees days of silence as a clear sign.

Not everyone plays the game -- a smart person would assume a date didn't go well if it's immediately followed up by… well… no follow-up.  

There's no harm in being direct

"If you feel chemistry or a connection, don't leave the date without scheduling another one on the calendar," says Spira, who expresses the importance of being straightforward. "You should assume someone's date card is full, even when they're enjoying their date with you. Make sure to text someone to see that they made it home safely and… keep the momentum going."

Actually mastering the date is a different kind of beast that takes a set of specific skills to execute, but you can find solace in the fact that -- at least -- one aspect of uncertainty will be absent. And isn't that the point of being with someone you like? Being able to cut through the silence and the bullshit and focusing on the interesting stuff that brought you together in the first place?

Starting a relationship off on the wrong foot will only set a tone of distrust and anxiety -- you become the couple who makes each other wait. Couples should always have an open and honest dialogue going on, actively choosing to bypass the move where you hope a problem is going to go away if you don't talk about it.

So, take the first step in ending this problem before it starts and do away with the sophomoric step of dangling someone along for days at a time when all you want to do is date them.  

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Jeremy Glass is a writer for Thrillist and doesn't even own a phone or know how to write.