I used to have a friend — let’s call her Mariah — who did this thing that drove me nuts: she wanted to employ me as her professional guy-texter. She asked me to vet all her texts to guys she had given her number to on dating apps, in hopes that it would result in a real-life interaction.
At first, I helped her out, mostly because I was her friend and I loved her. She asked me to do her a favor, and, as her friend, I was happy to do it — for a few times. But then it didn’t stop. The moment she started going on dates with a handful of guys, she wanted me to essentially compose every text to be sent their way. And if I wasn’t the one composing them, she wanted to screen everything she wrote through me.
“Does this sound okay?” was texted to me after an example text of what she wanted to send to a guy more times than I could count. She wanted me to be her full-time dude-texter. Soon, I decided that unless she was gonna pay me in jalapeño Cheetos and provide some sort of health insurance (as a result of eating all those Cheetos, to be honest), I was not down for that.
Her questions were not unique to just her. I have had plenty of friends ask me, “Well, HE texted me first last time, so does that mean I should initiate this time?” “Does this text make me look crazy/desperate/weird?” “It’s been 24 hours since we went on our date and he still hasn’t texted me. Should I reach out?” (The answer to the last one is that there is no magic dicking hour. If you want to text an hour or 12 hours or 24 hours after the end of your first date, if he likes you, he’ll text in a timely manner. There is no enchanted time frame.)
It’s gotten to the point that I now shut friends down outright when they ask me these questions; I won’t even entertain them anymore. And here’s why. I now have rules about texting people you wanna have sex with.
Rule #1: If you feel like texting, do it.
The whole who-texts-who game is bullshit. My rebuttal for “But I don't want to look too eager!” is: if they like you, they won’t care. My rebuttal for “But I want to look like I have better things going on and am not just waiting around for them” is: if you wait too long, you’ll come across as disinterested and the other person will move on.
Lastly, in a relationship, no one keeps tabs. Y’all just talk when you want to.
Rule #2: Never screen your texts through friends.
You’ll be presenting a version of yourself that isn’t authentic. Any time a friend asked me to help compose a text to a potential love match, they weren’t technically chatting with my friend. They were chatting with me. And most of the time, when I help friends write texts to guys, they say, “But you’re so much better at talking to guys!” And I’m like, I’m so much better at talking to them because 90% of the time I write your text for you, I’m stoned, my fingers covered in Cheeto dust, and not worrying about what I’m saying. (Just kidding. This is more like 40%.)
Also, this is agonizing and exhausting. Putting so much weight in deciding between saying “Have a nice weekend!” and “Have a great weekend!” is time you could have spent touching your bathing suit parts and relieving some of the pressure you have unnecessarily put on yourself.
Rule #3: Always say what you really want to say.
One time, I was so exasperated with Mariah, I just said to her, “What do you really want to say to him?” And voila! Out popped a few perfectly crafted sentences that sounded exactly the way Mariah talks. I said, “Great. Now type out exactly what you said to me and text it to him.”
Here’s why: if you try to hide your uniqueness or enthusiasm, they’re gonna find out eventually anyway. Saying shit for the sole purpose of believing it’s what the other person wants to hear never has positive long-term results. Own your weirdness. Be you. You want someone to be cool with YOU, not the heavily crafted version of you.
One time I told a partner I liked him and it freaked him the fuck out. And so then I stopped dating him. One time I told a partner I liked him and he was like, “Thank god you said something because I like you, too.” And then we kept dating. Saying what you want to say helps weed out real potential partners and the people who can’t handle you.
Rule #4 (and this one’s a toughie): If he can’t text in a timely manner, he is not the person for you.
If he's interested, he'll text. Even if he's shy. It might take him one or two days, but that's it. He may be spinning shit in his head about when to text you, too, but if he’s pumped about you, he’ll rarely take more than 24 hours. If he doesn’t text in a timely manner — and he doesn’t have an excuse like he’s an ER doctor with crazy hours or got abducted by aliens for a few days and they removed his thumbs and pointer fingers for science — he ain’t interested.
And it’s legit nothing personal. There is nothing wrong with you. The dude just doesn't have the emotional intelligence to say, "Hey, you're great, but I don't want to pursue anything further." And you don't want to date an asshole like that. Because if you hold a dude to really low standards (like he only texts you once in a while when he feels like it, he doesn't make an effort to make plans, etc.), even if it’s super-casual and a hookup thing, he will drive you insane.
If you want a one-time thing, then sure, text whenever y'all want. But if you want a little back and forth, seeing each other multiple times, dating casually, you do not want to get involved with someone who isn't enthusiastic. Because, even casually, waiting on someone to get back to you will drive you to your breaking point, and it will make you feel anxious and sad. And make you do dumb and rash things (like apply to law school).
So if you want to make plans with your person you are banging/wanna bang, but always feel like you're the only one setting something up, just say: "I had fun hanging out with you and would like to see you again soon. If you do, too, let me know!" It’s super non-threatening and the ball is now in their court. You’re saying that you’re interested without being like, “I LOVE YOU. MARRY ME.” And if he's down, trust me, he will follow up.
And if he's not, or says something noncommittal like "maybe" or "I'm not sure," you'll get a gut feeling that is icky. Don't ignore that feeling.