As if dating wasn’t hard enough – you throw in a portable, typed-word machine and suddenly it’s pandemonium. Tones, intentions, invitations all get jumbled in this lawless land of shorthand communication. Suddenly the guy you’re dating’s “C u later” message means he’s dumping you when he really just wanted to let you know he’d see you at 8p.m. for Chinese food.
Oh texting, how you make things much, much more complicated than they have any right to be. I can’t tell you the hours my friends and I have spent reciting, decrypting, bemoaning, and conjuring up an honors thesis on a five-word text message.
Personally, I don’t like to be too harsh a judge on a guy’s texting style if I don’t really him. Everyone has their faults, after all. But there are some serious warning signs in the form of text messages. Below, the types of texters who warrant anything from healthy skepticism to restraining orders:
1. Emoticon texter. Maybe, (and this is a very high-pitched, strained out maybe) once you’re actually dating he will send messages that are sarcastic or teasing. But a smiley or winkey face in the beginning – too friendly. You’re not his new coworker that he’s trying to make feel welcome in the office, you’re his date. Foreigners are exempt from this rule. Emoticons work for them for some reason.
2. Double, triple, quadruple texter. A double texter or even triple texter is acceptable when it’s all one thought divided up in short blurbs. However, if homeboy’s texting 15 minutes after his original text with different questions, thoughts and love poems. That’s a problem.
3. Bored texter. This guy barely texts. And if he does, it always seems like you’re boring him. His responses are never more than three words long. Girls freak on this dude, but honestly, if he’s asking you out, I would give him the green light. He could just be more into having conversations face-to-face than one an iPhone screen. We get it.
4. Really happy texter. He seems, like, really happy to be texting with you. He will write a lot of hahahas, lols, and exclamation points (!!!!). Exclamation points are grounds for dismissal; no one’s actually that excited. Everything else, judge on the context. Absolutely no form of hehe is ever acceptable unless he’s a third grade schoolgirl. Foreigners, we’ll give you a pass again…jajaja.
5. Calculated texter. If you took 20 minutes to reply, he’ll take 21 minutes to reply. It’s a pattern and it’s kind of annoying, but the fact that we notice it probably makes us more annoying than him. Call it a match made in heaven?
6. Flirting through sarcasm texter. You can never quite tell if he’s telling the truth or not. Is he trying to flirt? Is he being serious? Will we sound dumb if we answer seriously? Will he get that we’re flirting if we answer with a joke? “A” for effort on his part, for there must be some wit present- but this puts us in dangerous response territory. We could spend hours coming up with the perfect subtly hilarious response.
7. Jekyll & Hyde texter. He’s friendly in text, he’s distant in person. He’s friendly in person, he’s distant in text. It’s an emotional roller coaster we’re not down to ride. He seriously needs to figure out what kind of person/texter in life he wants to be before we attempt to. Ditch.
8. Over-sharer texter. Instead of saying “good” when you ask about his day like a normal human, he goes into a lengthy description about the traffic on his morning commute and how one shoelace loop was bigger than the other. Not cause for dismissal, he could be trying to open up or connect? But not cause to be excited either – he could be desperate.
9. “Good morning” texter. Serial killer. Stage five clinger. Brandon from “The Bachelorette.” Male version of Taylor Swift. Make sure your blinds are closed and you keep a knife by your bed stand for the next couple weeks. Or maybe he’s just really sweet. It’s hard to tell.
10. Speedy texter. He texts like, less than a minute after you reply. If it’s all the time, lose him, he has no life. If it’s every once in a while, we’ll cut him some slack because sometimes we all automatically respond right away without realizing how creepy it might seem.
11. Next day texter. Really? Does it really take a day for you to answer if you’re going to watch the season premiere of “Dexter?” He’s either insanely busy, not interested, or really lazy – all bad.
12. Cockroach texter. This guy just. Doesn’t. Go. Away. You met him one night and now there’s a uniform, “Hey, what are you up to?” text every three months, regardless of whether he gets a response or not. Um, who are you again?
13. Booty call texter. Exclusively 10 p.m. or later, any night of the week. If you’re not in love with him, why not?