Awkward pauses, double-texts, and those three little dots: Here’s how to navigate every tricky text to your crush
Here’s how you should respond!
by Nian Hu
You might think the hardest part of dating is working up the courage to ask someone out. Or that first date. Or meeting their parents, or moving in together, or your fucking wedding day — but you would be so, so wrong. The Texting Phase is so tricky that even a GIF of the infamous iMessage typing dots sends me into a gin-fueled panic spiral. Based on how well you handle this step, you can either end up married by the end of the month or blocked on every form of social media and maybe in prison. Isn't dating SO much fun?
Here are a few common but frustrating texting scenarios you might be faced with when texting someone new, and here are some ways you can respond without sending him running to the hills…or back to Tinder.
The ‘Hey, how r u?’ sneak attack
Open-ended questions are seemingly innocuous, but they are secretly a trap. It's all too easy to accidentally respond with too much or too little, and both options are equally terrible. A one-word response like "good" is a surefire way to grind the conversation to an early halt, because it leaves him with absolutely nothing to work with. And contrary to popular opinion, it doesn't make you seem like a cool and mysterious girl oozing je ne sais quoi — it just makes you seem like a boring person with the personality of a brick wall.
At the same time, you simply must resist the urge to word-vomit. No one (except your loyal finsta followers) likes being hit with a wall of text about how you got in a fight with your parents and then spent all weekend getting rejected from job applications — especially not a guy who barely knows you. Save all of your existential woes and quarter-life crises for your best friend or your therapist!
Instead, respond to him with something interesting but not long-winded. Tell him (in two short sentences, max) about something cool you did over the weekend — a concert you went to, a cute café you found, a park you napped in, a museum you explored. Or, if you spent all weekend inside, you can tell him about the Netflix show you're binging or the YouTuber you're currently obsessed with. All of these options give him a perfect opportunity to respond and keep the conversation flowing naturally.
"You're beautiful" or any kind of isolated compliment
Unless he's following up with some kind of question, it's incredibly tough to respond to a compliment all by itself. Like…thank you, I guess? Honestly, most of the time when a guy sends you a compliment (and literally nothing else) it means he just wants to fuck. If he only seems interested in your appearance and doesn't even bother asking you about your interests, then you can safely assume that he's not interested in anything more than a one night stand, or at most, a friend-with-benefits situation that leans heavily on the "benefits" side.
And you know what? If that's all you want from him, go for it! But if you're looking for something more, then this might not be it. How you respond to this depends on what you're looking for. If you just want to hook up, then you can respond with a flirty "aww thank you, you're super hot too!!" and mentally prepare yourself for him to ask you for your Snap handle so he can barrage you with dick pics. If you're looking for something more serious, then you can try to redirect the conversation with something like "thank you! so what did you do this weekend?" or "likewise! what's your favorite TV show?" and see if he's actually interested in getting to know you on a deeper level.
"Hey" or "Sup" or "Wya" or any other one-word text
This guy is the absolute worst. He will hit you with a "sup" at 2 am on Saturday, ignore every text you send him, and then send you another "sup" two weeks later. Dude, seriously? Talking to a Russian spambot on Facebook would be more stimulating than talking to this dude. The reason why he sucks isn't because he just wants to have sex with you (after all, it's totally valid to just want to hook up) but rather because he's incapable of treating you with the most basic level of respect. Should you ever hook up with him, you know for a fact that he would be absolutely terrible in bed because he would spend zero time on your pleasure, and 100% jackhammer into you for five whole seconds before cumming prematurely and passing out on top of you.
Honestly? Don't even bother.
A literal essay, complete with intro, body, and conclusion
Run away! Okay, maybe you don't need to be that dramatic. But it's still a sign that he's a little bit TOO into you. And while it's definitely flattering to think that someone likes you so much that they would spend 20 whole minutes crafting a five-paragraph essay for you, it's a huge red flag. Think about it this way — this dude thinks that you're the best thing that's ever happened to him. He's probably sending screenshots of your Tinder profile to all of his friends right now and bragging about how he "scored" with you. He's literally pissing his pants at the prospect of going on a date with you. He can't WAIT to give you a back rub and tell you all of his darkest secrets.
Slow down there, partner! Honestly, you can interpret this over-the-top texting behavior as a sign that you are WAY out of his league. Why else is he trying so hard?? You're probably the hottest girl he's ever texted! Or maybe even the ONLY girl he's ever texted. Which makes you wonder — why on earth did girls avoid him in the past? Sure, he might've seemed cool from his Tinder profile or the 5-minute conversation you had with him at the bar — but there is clearly something deeply, DEEPLY wrong with him if he's a grown man who has never talked to a girl before.
The most important thing when dealing with this kind of dude is NOT responding with essays of your own! Which is hard, because you feel like a bit of a dick when you respond to a 2000-word novel with a normal 20-word response. But you simply can't humor him. Read what he has to say, find the most interesting parts, and respond to them accordingly in 5 sentences or less. And if he can't take a hint and dial it WAY down, then maybe he's not worth your time.
Some kind of insult or back-handed compliment
Sadly, this is not uncommon. Once, a guy tried to flirt with me by telling me that I'm "hot, but not that hot." Oh yeah, that's a GREAT way to make me fall in love with you! This shit is called "negging" and it's pretty much exclusively used by pickup artists and pathetic incels who consider it their life's mission to get laid. They will use this as a way to tap into your insecurities and make you feel like you need to earn their approval. There's no sugar-coating it — guys who do this are abusive assholes. Consider yourself lucky for finding out before it was too late, and quickly exit the situation.
Depending on how petty you are, you might choose to respond to him with a slew of insults of your own before hitting him with the block (full disclosure: that's what I did). But it's also valid for you to simply stop responding to him at that point. Sure, ghosting sucks, but being abusive is much worse. You don't owe him an explanation — and if you do try to tell him that what he did was hurtful and wrong, he might try to gaslight you into thinking that he was actually "joking" and it was just a "misunderstanding." Do not fall for it! There are plenty of guys out there who won't "accidentally" insult your appearance, trust me.
There is literally nothing worse than having a great conversation with a really awesome guy only to be suddenly met with…silence. Seriously, death would be preferable! This is the kind of anxiety-inducing shit that brings out the worst in everyone. Even the most seasoned dater is momentarily stupefied by an inexplicable silence.
Next thing you know, you start spiralling down a deep hole of self-doubt and over-analysis. Did I…did I do something wrong? Oh shit, I did. Oh God. You fucking idiot. You said "lmao" instead of "haha." You fucking weirdo!! You might as well say "roflcopter" or "I'm a goddamn LOSER" because there's no way in HELL that he's going to respond to you now!! You goofed it. He was perfect for you, and you came on WAY too strong and now he's never going to talk to you ever again.
The immediate temptation is to send him a follow-up text. Or two. Or three. Haha, just gotta seem chill, you know!! I'm not fazed AT ALL that you didn't respond for 30 minutes! "Haha sorry that was lame." "Oops guess this is lame too." "Lmao wow have you ever talked to someone as weird as me?" "I like bread, how about you?" God, once you go down this hole, there is truly NO redemption. Even worse is when you suddenly get pissed at him and you type out a 2500-word rant that starts with, "You know, I just think it's kind of funny how…"
Girl, STOP. Breathe in, breathe out. Think about it rationally. It's only been a few hours. He's probably taking a shower, working out at the gym, hanging out with friends, eating dinner, taking a nap, or LITERALLY anything because he has a life of his own aside from texting you. After all, how many times have YOU accidentally not responded to someone's text for 3-5 business days?? Life happens to all of us, and it doesn't mean that he suddenly lost interest in you. So just leave him alone — and while you're waiting for him to respond, start swiping away and find some other cute guys to text.