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How to Approach your Worries About Whether to Text or Not Text

If you’re in the throws of a text exchange with a new love interest, waiting for an answer, via text, or wondering what guys want and like, then the first thing you have to acknowledge is that there is no person who has ultimate authority in the matter – no friend or invisible internet entity – that can give you specific guidance to the actions in your own life.

What I hope to do, in this article, is create some context around texting and the crippling worry we all face, at some time, about whether we should text him first, and how to best navigate the precarious and energized early stages of a budding relationship.

So, first things first, do not hope that anyone out there can give you your ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Instead, I want to help you see the situation clearly, so that you can find the true answer within, and feel confident about the next text you send, and the direction of your conversation with this new guy, the source of your butterflies and giddy, (if nervous), feelings.

Message of Advice

a white woman sitting in bed looking at her phone like waiting for a text

Nothing is more important than tuning in with yourself and with the conversation itself. Whether or not you respond, and whether you respond right away, or wait, is a matter of reading the cadence of the exchange and the openness of the person you’re texting. It is not related to some set of rules that the social universe has designed for these scenarios.

There are circumstances where: to return text immediately, to text every day, and to feel no hesitation about sending a text first, are all appropriate to the relationship.

The crux of our worry about the pace and commitment in a text conversation comes from worrying about whether we are sinking ourselves deeper in the other person than they are us, and whether they/he feels the same way.

Generally, the best sign in a new relationship is when you both feel free to express your level of interest with little trepidation. When you can tell a guy what you really want and treat each other as friends, as well as lovers.

It’s important that you don’t freak out over the inevitable mistakes and hiccups that come as you get to know a guy. If there are times when you want to talk, and he doesn’t, that is okay. In short, be comfortable with yourself.

The ‘Yes’ of Texting a Guy Back

If someone has asked for or agreed to a first date with you, they are interested.

a smiling black woman using her smartphone near colorful wall

Ultimately, in the span of any relationship, you only advance to the deep places you want to reach by making yourself vulnerable. That does not mean being incautious, especially in the strange world of online dating, but it does mean that people who over-scrutinize their text message(s) are generally missing out by keeping themselves too protected.

In my experience, if I release myself to my desires, whether it’s wanting to text him first, or texting ‘good morning’ because I’ve woken up happy and thinking about him, nothing truly bad comes from being comfortable with what you do and say.

If it comes about that someone doesn’t want to text you / text you first, there can be a number of reasons why. And the very worst scenario is that he isn’t that interested, which, over time, is something we have to accept and move on from.

In fact, it can be a very good lesson and learning experience. Let life unfold.

‘No’, You Already Texted Him Today

The golden rule is that if it’s new, and if you texted him already, it’s probably a good idea to wait until he texts back before texting more.

While this can seem dry and regimented, it’s a mantra of dating for a reason, and like all cliches, it’s a little bit true.

But why you shouldn’t text back matters, and it’s important to understand that ‘why’. I’ll tell it to you in words, (okay, maybe one sentence):

It’s not about how it will make you seem (if you keep texting someone whose responses are infrequent or listless), it’s about who you turn yourself into, who you become by allowing yourself to be stretched so thin, undernourished by the kind of back and forth that indicates something is moving forward.

In short, what you seem like to a guy doesn’t matter, it’s what you seem like to yourself. And you don’t want to create a You that puts effort into things without receiving effort in return.

The old adage of ‘take a hint’ does, at times, apply. But once again, it is only a bad idea to forego these hints because you are gradually creating a stretched, unnatural version of yourself.

Another side of the ‘no’, is simply that, you cannot read a guy’s body language through texts. If you try to keep the conversation going, without hearing back, maybe you are piling on, while he’s dealing with something personal, or busy at work. Or maybe he does not like texting, and having a call is a good alternative.

In summary, it never hurts to wait and be patient, and, of course, to create a little pull, tension, and intrigue 🙂

At the End of the Day

The best advice of all, when dealing with the agony of waiting for someone to text you back, is to not only stop texting but to turn your phone off, and give yourself a break from obsessing over the situation.

It can be a very difficult step to take, but the minute you have the phone shut down, you’ll likely feel a great deal of clarity that you just can’t access while you’re scrolling over those messages, analyzing your correspondence, and trying to deduce, through the thinness of texts, what your date is thinking.

If you spend less time texting, you will spend more time being, more time being yourself. You may, in this time, remember that we’re all very similar, no matter your gender identity. And hey, we all obsess over texting. He does too!

When you turn it back on the next day, maybe you’ll have a sweet, surprising text, and, having given some time to yourself, you’ll probably say something fresh and renewed, in response.

When it comes to dating, new relationships, and waiting for replies to text messages, we’ve inherited a stressful circumstance unique to our generation. It is difficult for men and women. The medium of the phone creates feelings of worry that abstract and complicate the truth of what’s going on between you and another person.