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I’ll admit, I’m one of the worst offenders of text etiquette. I’ve long thought that the person who pays the phone bill is the only person who has the power to decide when and how to respond to text messages. I’m a constant offender of the “ok” text, even when I’ve received a great deal of text prior. I don’t read into things that deeply, so a text that’s quick is seemingly the most appropriate. I encourage all to remember that SMS stands for short messaging service. It’s not a place where a dissertation should be written. In all of this, it continues to confuse women wildly when men don’t respond to text messages, take too long to respond, or respond curtly.

A few weeks ago, it was brought to my attention that the way you communicate with someone is very indicative of how you prioritize them in your life. If you’re really interested or into someone, you’ll move mountains to make them a priority. Therefore, when I get a text from a woman that I’m really into, I try my best to respond immediately. At the embryonic stage of our interaction, relationship, or courtship that will happen within minutes. (Save, for some of us who don’t have our phones with us when we’re at work. I would adjust this statement to say, “at our earliest convenience.”)

In return, when I’m texting someone and they tend to take a long time to respond, I think the same thing. I think that our suspicions are always deeply rooted in what we would do under similar circumstances. I’ll give you some quick hits about how I approach texting:

1)      If I text a woman and do not hear back for hours, I’m suspicious that she’s taken a “I’ll get to it, when I get to it” approach to our communication. When she responds, if it is not accompanied by an explanation, I turn this suspicion into a fact.

2)      If I text a woman and do not hear back for days, I never text her again.

3)      I refuse to be a repeat text offender. Unless the message needed to be spread over multiple text messages, I never text twice without a response.

As I always say, fair exchange is no robbery. Meaning that I cannot expect anything more or less from the people I’m texting with and they should be able to expect the same out of me.

There are certain circumstances that I am aware make women uncomfortable as it pertains to texting. They have texted a man with a question and he hasn’t responded for a while. What’s he thinking? What’s got his attention? You know previously you texted him and he gave a response almost immediately, why the change? These are all valid questions but I think the key is to examine why he may be taking so long. Ask another set of questions. Is he busy? Is he at work? Do you really want a quick answer to your question? Often times, we think we want a quick response but we’d be much happier with a well thought out reply.

I’ll give you an example of a text conversation where I made a snap judgment and the woman didn’t get what she wanted out of the conversation.

I was dating a woman for a few weeks and we’d been on maybe three or four dates. We were at the point that I was ready to make seeing her a weekly thing, but not really ready for a relationship. She texts me, “Hey, just so I’m clear I just want to know where this is going?” I was at work at the time and I didn’t really have time to answer that question in depth. I text back, “Got your text, will text you later.” (I’ve learned over time that you need to acknowledge receipt, or die!) She replies, “I think it’s a simple question to answer, doesn’t require much thought.” I read her text, waited a few minutes; I really didn’t want to reply right away because the answer was deep. I didn’t want to lead her to believe I was ready for a relationship, but didn’t want to completely dead her either. After I didn’t reply she texts, “Obviously, this is too difficult of a question for you to answer, so let’s just be friends.” I still didn’t reply. She was angry or upset at this point. I don’t text or communicate with angry people, I let them simmer down before I will start to communicate. She texts again, “You have nothing to say?… I guess I made the right decision.”

I’m looking at my phone like, “this woman is crazy … she’s literally having a conversation with herself.”

I am a busy guy and I was at work at the time, so I knew that if I didn’t reply this would take a turn for the worst. I replied, “You know what you’re right, let’s just be friends.” I didn’t really want that, but I realized that this situation has spiraled out of control because of her impatience. I wanted to keep going with our relationship, but the fact that we had that point of contention turned me off to the possibility of having more. I look back at that situation and think that I could have just replied to her text message initially and that wouldn’t have happened. I also think back and realize that she could have done things differently too.

Last, I will admit that we are placing too much importance on textual communications. I think society has shifted. I’m not of the school of thought that texting is bad. It’s another avenue of communication that we should embrace, not fear. There are tons of women who are saying, “I hate texting, pick up the phone and call me.” I think phone conversations are important, but I wouldn’t shun texting. I think the overarching issue is that people want clear and quick communication. The clearer the message the easier it is to make decisions on how to react and avoid guessing games. The clearer the message the easier it is for us to protect our feelings. Unfortunately, that’s just not how it works. In any relationship we have to put our feelings at risk, in order to ever really connect. That’s going to mean awkward text messages and waiting for replies much longer than we ever expected. It’s all in the hope that we will somehow find love.

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