It has recently come to my attention that men, women and everyone in between is in dire need of a lesson in text message etiquette. I’m no Miss Manners, but there are a few ground rules that I’m concerned far too few people are aware of.
Let’s use “Jack” and “Jill” as an example of some of the most common mishaps, and an illustration of how to lose a guy in 10 texts. The fictional pair was introduced by mutual friends at a bar and ended up talking for nearly an hour. Both believed they had chemistry, and (since we’re being honest here) as the talking turned into dancing, there may have been some smooching as their blood alcohol content increased.
The next night, they start texting…
Jack – 7:00 p.m. on Saturday
Hey, it was great meeting you last night. Up to anything fun tn?
Spot on, Jack. Early enough that it doesn’t sound like a booty call. Legible. I have no complaints.
Jill – 7:00 p.m. on Saturday
Just hsnging out
My roimmates out of town lol
Jill… A minute or two of mystery goes a long way. Consider waiting more than 5 seconds to respond at the beginning. It kinda looks like you had your phone in your hand, waiting for his text.
Also, for a person who is constantly typing words into their phone, you demonstrate an alarming lack of knowledge in the spelling department. Moreover, what’s with the wave of three texts? And if you hope to continue this conversation, you have made it very hard on Jack.
Jack – 7:17 p.m. on Saturday
Lol. Wanna hang out?
I suspect Jack is “loling” since Jill has left him nothing else to say. She said nothing interesting and didn’t ask him anything.
Jill – 7:17 p.m. on Saturday
Wanna come over?
We could have a drink and get dinner somewhere after
Again with the three, Jill? Jack isn’t going to want to text you in front of his friends before long, since his phone will explode in response.
There are so many girls like Jill out there — sweet, looking for a solid boyfriend, just a little too eager from the get-go. No one’s advocating playing “games” to screw with people, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play your cards a little closer to the vest at the beginning. Dropping your non-existent plans within thirty seconds kinda shows you had nothing better going on. Again, at least just wait a second before responding.
Jack – 7:30 p.m. on Saturday
Sounds good. I can come over around 8
Jill – 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday
Hey, Saturday was really fun… Sorry to be weird but is this going somewhere? I just don’t want to waste my time you know.
Alright. He’s gone. If a girl who comes on way too strong tries to lock in a guy after five days, most men are going to respond by heading for the hills.
The thing is — you don’t have to do any Kate Hudson-style dramatics à la “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days” to scare a guy off via text message. You don’t have to buy him a love fern or give him a purse-sized dog wearing a Burberry sweater.
You can be the sweetest, most normal person in the world, but poor text message etiquette can doom you to a series of unfruitful first dates if you’re not careful. Take heed, people!
Second image credit: Paramount/Everett Collection via Hello Giggles