Saturday, May 4, 2013

Texting Tip 3 - When Should You Reply?

Since I've already explained how you should reply to a man's texts, the obvious follow-up is to explain when to reply to a man's texts.

You've probably heard all kinds of suggestions from other girls about how long to wait before replying to a text from a guy you like. Some claim you should always wait 15 minutes, others insist on only replying to every other text, while others still dismiss "playing games" as ridiculous and advocate replying however you feel like in the moment. Ignore all of this advice. It will either make you come across as needy and too easy, or else cold and too distant.

In order to time your texts so that you convey your best self, you will need to be two things: genuine and realistic. Being genuine will prevent you from seeming uninterested or boring, while being realistic will prevent you from seeming desperate. Furthermore, your authenticity will show a man your true self, while your realism will keep in check your tendency to be too forthcoming. Let me elaborate...
Genuine. If you get a text from a guy that you like, and you genuinely have a free moment to reply, don't play games by artificially prolonging your response. This might be "successful" in the sense that it will occasionally keep a man on the hook for a time, but this is only because he wants to prove that you want him; it doesn't make him enjoy you any more. In addition, the whole "hard to get" charade is far too easy to overdo, and you risk making yourself appear uninterested - or worse, cold and boring. So when he texts, answer him naturally, genuinely, authentically. If you find yourself thinking "I don't feel like replying right now," or "I'll get to it later," then don't reply at all, or tell him (tactfully) that you don't want to pursue a relationship. You probably shouldn't have given him your number in the first place.  
Realistic. If you are really excited about the guy who is texting you, or if you are just excited to be getting any attention from a guy, you need to resist your temptation to indulge in communicating with him (anticipating his texts, reading them, replying, and anticipating the next one). This excitement seems like a small thing; but when you are dropping everything immediately upon receiving a text notification, or constantly checking your phone just to make sure you didn't miss the latest message from him, you start to realize how much you are allowing a merely potential relationship to monopolize your priorities. In these cases, you need a healthy dose of realism. Unless you are months into a serious relationship, there is no way that know whether or not things will work out with this guy; so it is ridiculous to interrupt what you are doing every time your phone goes off. When you do this, you are reacting to your imagination and wishful thinking, not to reality.
By embracing these two principles simultaneously, you will achieve the attitude that texting "rules" seek to emulate. Yeah, sure, maybe it will mean that you occasionally seem a little over-excited to get his text (because you happen to be checking your messages when his comes in), or a bit distant (because you were ignoring your phone while studying for ten hours, and his text came in right after you started); but you will only seem so in the short term. No single text you send will represent to him your attitude, so no single response time will matter completely. (Though if it does take you hours to reply, it is worth acknowledging this by giving a quick explanation; though an apology isn't usually warranted - if it had been urgent he should have called.)

A good way to strike this balance is to text the men you are dating in the same way that you regularly text your acquaintances  friends or family. Would you bring your phone into to the gym with you - even though you normally don't - in order to be available for a text that your female coworker might or might not send you? Then why are you doing it for the random (albiet hot) guy who got your number at the bar last night? Would you interrupt your studies for the big exam tomorrow to check a text that you suspect is from your mom, asking how your day was? Then why are you doing it for a guy who (for all you know so far) might be married or have incompatible politics? Would you delay your response for an additional 15 minutes, or occasionally not reply at all in a text conversation with your little brother? Then why do you feel the need to do it with your cute coworker who you really like and suspect might be into you? Treat these men like the mere friends or acquaintances that they are, until they become something more - at which point text games won't be necessary anyway.

A final note: if a guy seems to be playing games with you, artificially delaying his responses or skipping texts (yes, guys do this stuff too sometimes), I still suggest replying authentically and realistically. But after 4 or 5 late and unexplained texts, feel free to ignore him. He's either a player or not interested enough, and either way you do best to forget about him.


Related Posts
1. Other Texting Tips
2. Should You Give a Guy Your Last Name?
3. Living Vulnerably

66 comments:

  1. Good subject, and great advice. I remember the days being stuck between "Should I text him right back or will that seem desperate? But if I wait it will seem uninterested and he'll move on. Ugh!" I would always just be overthinking it. These are some good guidelines.

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  2. I was wondering how to properly convey myself in this form of communication.
    thank you Andrew for the enlightenment.

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  3. This is a great post and has enlightened me to some things that I have been doing wrong. Thanks, Andrew!

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  4. What are your thoughts on the reverse scenario? Where the guy does a lot of insecure texting? This has happened to me once or twice with a guys who I was initially interested in, but it got taxing to respond to their non-stop texting, especially when I didn't know them that well. My gut instinct was to just be like "hey it's kind of hard for me to text you when I'm at work or hanging out with friends, could we just make plans to hang out next week?" But that felt too much like bossing him around... I'd be curious if there's a nice way to get a guy to calm down a little.

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  5. Yay, you're back! Thanks for the good article.

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  6. great article! Andrew, can you help us women where the line between uninterested and desperate is? I have a hard time with this, sometimes I worry I seem uninterested and boring so I then come off too eager. Then when I try not to look desperate, my male friend comments that I'm too "aloof". I don't know how to come off interested while maintaining the "chase".

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    1. If your male friend is telling you you come off aloof an it is only your self-perception (prone to mistakes) that tells you that you are in danger of seeming desperate, I'd trust your friend. Err on the side of being more eager.

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  7. I only check my phone a few times a day, as I like to focus on the task at hand. AM, lunch, after work, bedtime. My friends and family love to tease me about this, but know to call if they need me. Some men have found this profoundly annoying, and others delightfully refreshing. Usually the ones I like, who won't check their phone at dinner, are in the latter category - so I stopped stressing about it.

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  8. Could you do a post on why boyfriends are romantic and care in the beginning and then stop?
    Also, what do you think about going through someone's phone?
    And how do I deal with trusting my boyfriend when he has a guys night.

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    1. Never ever ever check someone else's phone, it's the first step to break down the relationship and it will only make you more prone to jealousy. Just don't do it, also innocent guys (and most are), will have some unknown number in their phone log, from someone who dialled the wrong number and you'll start getting suspicious - a relationship needs to be built on trust. It's better to break up straight away if you can't resist checking his phone

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    2. Are YOU romantic from the beginning and all the time, though?

      If you don't trust your BF you should break up with him.

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  9. Great post! I think it is worthwhile to mention that women should maintain their own life which is independent of their success with men. Sometimes i think this blog sometimes makes it seem like getting a man is the only thing a girl needs, but i do realize this is because it is centered around one issue. While it is true that (most) men don't care about your accomplishments, they care about you caring about your accomplishments.

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    1. Oh no, one extra 'sometimes'

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  10. And then there is the question about replying to guys that you like but not in that way, just as friends, and you happen to want to respond to be polite, but you don't want to take it any other place than friendship. I am trying to hold off answering but if I'm online I sometimes do reply straight away. Thing is in this case I really don't want them to think I'm interested, but I don't know how to make the "I like you but let's be friends" distinction- text/message wise. It's complicated...

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    1. I think in most cases this is pretty clear. That is if your texting stays "friendly" and you don't respond to his flirting attempts then the guy takes a hint fast. Things get complicated if you (even subconsciously) are receptive to his flirting because you want attention and want to have a man in the infamous "friendzone".
      You have to make a choice here. Having a friendzoned guy can make your league go up a level or two. But if it is against your rules, then you'll feel terrible about it and your self esteem will experience a drop.

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    2. Aside from refraining from responding to flirty texts (just respond to non-flirty texts, or the non-flirty parts of texts), make responses as brief and to-the-point as possible.

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    3. Honestly i think that if one person is sexually or emotionally interested then it is not friendship at all. Its like bring friends with a person who's exceptionally nice to you because they want you to give them a job

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    4. Didn't say it is friendship but it can be again if I don't accidentally lead him on. Trying to be very straight to the point (which I normally am anyhow) and I am definitely not flirting but still want to find a good balance not to be rude and not to make him think the wrong thing. He'll be over me in no time and as soon as he is, then we can be friends IF I play my cards right. Thing is he is part of a big group that I see a lot of so I can't disconnect either even if I try and make sure I'm not there every time.
      /A

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    5. And Joe, thanks. That's exactly what I'm trying to do. The flirty comments I completely ignore /A

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    6. I like that name "joe"

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  11. Hi Andrew,

    I met a guy out last week and he was very touchy feely/flirtatious with me around all his mates (aka he seemed keen). When I left to go home he asked for my number & instead I gave him my name (so I can leave a bit of mystery & he can find me on Fb). He then added me 2 days later & although started somewhat of a conversation, his replies takes forever! (Even after I've realized that he has read my reply). And I agree completely that one should reply realistically, according to what they are doing, which is what I have been doing because I don't really believe in playing these 'waiting' games.
    But is he playing a game with me? Or just not really interested?
    How do I interpret?

    Many thanks,

    M

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    1. Adding someone on Facebook is cutting out the mystery straight away. I will never do that again with a guy I'm interested in. Better to give them your number and add each other when you know each other better, or not at all. FB is WAY too open, you need to get to know each other step by step in the beginning. That's why I don't even use my full name on FB. Can guarantee that a new person added is not someone I want to get involved with. If we'd be friends first and much later that would develop into something, possibly, but if I add them, I'm not interested. I need to keep some mystery

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    2. You're very right.. I can see where you're coming from. Thanks for the advice :)

      - M

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    3. Also, you don't want a guy/girl to Facebook/Google stalk you before you know him/her, do you?

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    4. I think he's one of those guys who just wants to have good times and will only reply when he wants to go out. What i'm saying is he only wants one thing ...

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  12. Hello, I was wondering why my boyfriend broke up with me. We've been dating 6 months. He said he's not relationship material and is afraid of commitment...even though he's the one who pursued me hardcore and asked me out. Then he said he wanted to break up because he wants his freedom. Then he said he loved me but wanted an open relationship. I said no and I was shocked that he would even think this. I think he just wants to do whatever he wants but still have me around. I feel like it's my fault though because I was available 100% of the time to him, drove 20 minutes to see him all the time, and hung out when it was convenient for him. I went from a girl he was begging to date to one he wants to have an open relationship with. Do you think it's my fault?

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    1. Read 'Why Men Love Bitches' by Sherry Argov NOW!

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    2. Easy answer - he got what he wanted and is now moving on. He only wanted sex and not a relationship so forget about this guy.

      If he really wanted you, he would have tried to work with you through any problems he may have with you - instead he wants one foot out the door, which is generally what an open relationship means.

      I've had differences and problems with my husband while dating but he always worked with me to put those behind us - because he loved me and wanted me as a long term partner.

      Just move on like guys do - keep looking forward and never back. If you think you may have been a bit clingy or too available in this relationship, maybe hold back a little bit more in your next one.

      Don't wallow in this failure. Work out what you can do better next time and move on. This man isn't the only man in the world and it sounds like you are not particularly in love with him (not too devastated). Chalk it up to experience.

      Whatever you do, never never ever blame yourself for relationship failure - it just happens. Men never blame themselves - they see things for what they are - sometimes things don't work out. Many times they don't so no point getting all hung up about a failure. Just make sure you do better next time.


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    3. Andrew, what do you think about the book 'Why Men Love Bitches' by Sherry Argov????

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    4. Daphne, I've read that book but I can never apply it to myself. I am way too nice and I can never say no. So when he wanted to hang out I would say yes pretty much all the time. It's easier said than done to be a bitch, at least for me

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    5. To Anonymous at 9:15, in the beginning though he was the one that asked me to be his girlfriend and even at the end, which was yesterday, he took me out to lunch, got jealous over something stupid, and we didnt even have sex yesterday so I don't think he was just about sex. I think at first he wanted a relationship but then he got bored and didn't care enough or value me enough to work on things because he probably knows he can have me back at the drop of a hat. I am going to move on though and not repeat this again, although I usually do

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    6. Whoa. That's just unacceptable. From now on you ought to employ the rule: It's either two feet in or two feet out and if they cannot decide, you decide for them - out!

      Fuck that. Nobody has time for pussyfooting about, life is too short to be deluding yourself that the crumbs that someone is giving you are loaves of bread.

      I know It's often difficult to be objective about how much we rationalize the ambivalent and bad behaviours of someone we would like to make something work with, however we must remain cognizant of inconsistency and half-stepping on their behalf lest we waste precious months of our lives on someone who isn't worth it.

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    7. It sounds like he already told you why he broke it off with you. He wanted an open relationship, you said no. I would take Andrews other advice and realize this guy isn't into you.

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    8. Thanks everyone. I was just confused because he said he loves me. But obviously he doesn't really love me if he can't fully commit, no matter how many times he says he loves me it isn't true. He isn't into me enough to be with only me

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    9. CUT HIM OFF. He knew you wouldn't be into an open relationship, it was an insult to ask you.

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    10. Then why would he ask in the first place??

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    11. She already said why. He said he wanted to break up, that he wanted his freedom. He asked about an open relationship so he could do just as he said, do what he wanted. This guy sounds like he was pretty open. It's not like he has lead her on, he said he wants freedom. Isn't it better to hear honesty rather than to be left in the dark?

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    12. But he has kind of lead her on by telling her he loved her...

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    13. Was he rebounding or something?

      Most likely though, your relationship had an expiration date from the beginning.

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  13. Andrew, will you be uploading the virgin dating guide soon?

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  14. Just so you know, your link for how to turn down a guy for sex no longer works. I click on it, and it goes to an error page.

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    1. The one on the "list of all posts" works. Which one are you talking about?

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  15. Please post the interracial dating post. Every post pisses someone off. It's not that serious. It's just a blog post. You won't be shunned if people disagree.

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    1. What do you mean, iterracial? As in dog meets parrot? I thought only humans dated?

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    2. Dog meets parrot would be interspecies dating.

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    3. Last time I checked we are all human race.

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  16. How do you respond to guys who try to make things sexual through text, or try to get you to answer what you will won't do, or asking to send "pics" early on etc.

    Some guys are a little slicker than others, so I'm not sure how to respond (also, what about guys who try to get too touchy or sexual on first date etc?)

    AnonymousLilly

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    1. Admit to yourself that all he wants is a sexual relationship and move on. You can always continue the interaction a little longer (though of course now letting it get sexual) to make sure that he doesn't have sincere interests in you, but don't develop expectations. I'd be willing to bet that 99% of the guys that try to get (sexual) photos from you via text early in the interaction have no desire for a substantial relationship with you.

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  17. And what if I hate texting and prefer to talk on the phone? I suppose, I should not tell it directly and I also should not call back, when he just texts. I always respond lots of hours later or even on the next day, I just don´t like to text and try to postpone or avoid it anyhow. My friends know that I hate texting and don´t expect texts from me, but how could I handle it with a new guy I just met?

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    1. Just tell him. I don't respond to texts either. I don't care that everyone does it. Texting is lazy.

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  18. I'm really bad at this. I feel worried by NOT relying to people who I am not interested at all just out of politeness. If someone keeps pushing after obvious signs that I do not want to reply, I would change my number instead so as not to seem to be ignoring messages.

    I also get over-exited with men who I want to interact with who I was even not sure if things could work out at all. When I get this feelings monoply my life, I wouldn't have the energies to do other business any more.

    Hope I can improve based on this advice here.

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    1. Usually if I am not interested in someone who is into me, I'll drop words like "buddy" or "friend" into the conversation. As in, "How are you doing, buddy?" or "Thanks, my friend."

      That tends to send a clear message.

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  19. oh dear...just reading "why men love bitches"..and it basically is outlining EVERYTHING i have been doing wrong with men for the last three years...really wish i had of read it sooner.

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  20. ^^^

    I WISH I read this article back when it was published! I'm not even dating anymore, lol. I screwed this all up in the past.

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  21. I need help on a response to a guy I have been hanging out with for the past couple of months. He has been the nicest guy up until last week, we are only texting each other now. He has gone out of town for the past three weekends, with no phone calls Only test messages. He sent me a message today saying he is out of town until Friday and would like to call then if that is ok. How can I respond? I want to say something like we are not on the same page.... or something like that. Any help would be great. I really like him, but don't want to be played and want him to know that without sounding like a crazy person.

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    1. don't call or text me back.. sounds like he's attached, or just not interested in you... you are an option..

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  22. In response to aug 7 post by anonymous...
    I would say...yes call me...that would make a nice change.....lol! If he does in fact ring you then ask him...what he wants from you...is it just friendship or something more? As I have to say it seems to me he can't be that into you if he's not already rung you anyway...texting is not a good way to try to get to know each other...and fact he's been out of town past 3 weekends..which may well be for work...lets give the guy the benefit of the doubt...could also mean he has a girlfriend squirrelled away somewhere...that's how it looks to me anyway.
    Expect by now you have come to your conclusions, so feel free to reply to let me know what in fact did happen.
    N

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  23. i know this guy since few months.. he said he likes me and we went out for outing.. and got intimate at few times.. but now he doesnt replies to my text that often.. though he keeps busy.. but if i ask him why he doesnt replied he says he was busy.. he has some problems goin on in his life also.but i feel totally neglected.and when i meet him he behaves so normally as if nothing happened at all.m not able to get anywhere.he doesnt want to go into relationship and i guess he knows i like him. what shuld i do please help.

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  24. Although this same post is on several different sites, with different names attached. It's still the same principal, do not be so readily available for someone your just meetings, do not make someone your priority IF YOUR ARE only an option to them, take time, get to know the person, when you see the red flags, AVOID them, do not make excuses for another individual, whatever will be will be, you can't lose what you've don't have in the first place. The truth is the truth, and it should be the light..

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  25. Andrew, what is your opinion on Snapchat? I'm in college and it's wildly popular with people my age (20). I think it's a cowardly way to contact a girl. Should I be filtering out the guys who do this instead of texting me? I am attractive so maybe guys are doing this to avoid the possibility of rejection?

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    1. I was under the impression that Snapchat was just for photos - and maybe that is true. But anyway, e-mail me about this with the word Snapchat in the subject line - I am curious about this. Once I know more I can probably give you an answer.

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  26. Andrew, all - I've had countless conversations with girlfriends about what a guy means when he texts them. I just saw this article, and how very true on #1. Texting is a good forum for a guy who is shy, or is convenient for people who for whatever reasons aren't able to pick up a phone, but when a guy texts or even telephones, they speak in code. Why is that? http://guestofaguest.com/new-york/things-we-love/single-in-the-city-decoding-his-top-5-confusing-texts

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