Texting 101: A Primer For Guys

Kristen

Recently I had the pleasure of learning just how much I’ve taught my brother about women.

ME: So a one word response generally doesn’t merit another response right? Like, via text?
MARK: Like when you’re texting a guy?
ME: Yeah.
MARK: Yeah you don’t have to reply to that. Unless it’s your girlfriend. Then something is probably wrong. Like if Simone responds to me with, “OK.” – I’m making a phone call.

It blows my mind how differently guys and girls text. In my experience, guys consider texting to be a nouveau two-way-radio- “Got that? Roger. Over and out.”- while most of my girl friends obsess over every last syllable of every single message they send. “He said ‘Haha’ with two has, not three. Do you think that means he’s getting sick of me?!” I have had hour long conversations with girls deliberating over punctuation, emoticons, and the use of capital letters only to be greeted with a response that absolutely confounds all of us. If texting was meant to be a universal language, guys and girls (and I say this with full respect and awareness of how heteronormative our society and the gender binary is- no disrespect or overgeneralizations intended, I speak solely from my own wholly ignorant heternormative experience) appear to be speaking two totally different dialects.

So I thought I’d write up a little primer on texting girls. If you’re a guy who texts girls and occasionally finds himself totally confused by a girl’s response or reaction, read this. If you’re a guy who a) has a girlfriend, b) has at one point had a girlfriend for longer than six months, or c) just understands women really well, you can skim. But still read it, because you’re a guy, and I really don’t believe that you know what you’re doing. 

PART 1: HOW TO READ A GIRL’S TEXT MESSAGES

A. Punctuation is your greatest foe. Women abuse punctuation for passive aggression. There will be girls who deny it- don’t believe them. We all do it. An exclamation point is going to be really rare coming your way if we like you. Because an exclamation point indicates excitement, and we don’t want you to think that we like you- even though we do. (And if that isn’t an Inception style mindfuck enough for you, welcome to the pitfalls of my entire gender). A lack of punctuation generally implies casual, general conversation. Some girls may even choose to omit question marks. But the period? Beware the dot, my friend. Especially in a one word text (see above). Periods are a sign that something in your interaction has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

B. We will never double text you. Double texting makes us look desperate. (Obviously, this doesn’t apply at all to people in relationships). If we double text you, there is an 80/20 chance that we just don’t give a crap what you think about us- aka Friend Zone. That being said, you really shouldn’t double text us either. Not because it’ll make you seem cool and mysterious, but because it’s annoying as fuck when you get 2-5 text messages in a row from someone who could have fit their whole thought into 160 characters.

PART 2: HOW TO TEXT A GIRL

A. If your text message only has one word, you probably don’t need to send the text. Cannot tell you how many texts I have received from guys that literally said “Lol” or “Haha k.” This isn’t even from guys that I’m seeing/interested in- my guy friends (yes I know, I break my own rules, sue me) do this regularly. This is the thing about one word texts: they don’t really give the other person an avenue to respond. But if you don’t want to talk to us… just don’t text us back. It’s really that simple. We will get the hint, trust me. And if you’re not trying to shut us up, well- then you’re just playing with fire, because that’s how we read into it (again, see above).

B. Respond within a reasonable time. Okay, I get that our society dictates that we chase and be chased. I get that the runaround is part of what makes courting someone fun. If everybody responded to texts right away all the time, there would be no anticipation and absolutely nothing interesting. Time and space lets you wonder what the other person is doing. That being said, it shouldn’t take you nine hours to respond to “Hey, how are you?” It doesn’t take anyone nine hours to figure out how they are. Just respond in the same period of day- morning, afternoon, evening- and you will prevent our minds from going into overdrive. “OMG LIKE IS HE AVOIDING ME?!?!?!?!?!?!”

C. Texting isn’t Gchat, and nobody wants it to be. For every guy that’s a fan of the one word response, there’s another that wishes he were John Steinbeck. Text conversations like that can be great- you just have so much to say, you haven’t talked in forever, there’s something you’re really excited about. But it’s really hard- especially during charged emotional conversations- to type as fast as you think. If you really can’t pick up the phone, it may be better to save these conversations for Gchat. But more importantly…

D. Would it really kill you to pick up the damn phone? Women love phone calls. It’s old fashioned and outdated but it’s still cute. I know we’re the generation of technology and blah blah blah (and to tell you the truth, I’d probably be super intimidated if a guy I barely knew decided to call instead of text), but sometimes hearing a voice humanizes everything. I have been in absolutely vicious I’m-never-speaking-to-you-again status fights that ended the second we both picked up the phone. Phone calls don’t always have to be a Shayne Ward affair. I know a lot of guys like to say that they’re “just not phone people,” but if it’s something big, we’re still hoping you’ll call.

What texting dilemmas have you encountered? (P.S.: Any gentlemen takers on this issue? We’d love to hear the other side.)

6 comments

  1. Blake

    As a guy, I find this interesting. Although I already knew this list, probably 85% of guys don’t…….

    There should be a texting 101 primer for girls too (since this one is for guys). LOL. One of the worst things a girl who is interested in a guy can do via txt is to intentionally wait like 3 hours to respond to each and every text early on in a dating situation. Most guys who have a fair amount of experience dating girls can see straight through this as an intentional strategy to not seem desperate (since the time delay ends up unintentionally being somewhat consistent for each text for some girls), but this can kill the guy’s interest pretty quickly even if he thinks the girl is super hot, funny, smart and etc. We like to use txt messaging to initially become more interested (even after multiple dates) before we chase and/or start calling. Trying to get a guy to chase too early is a guaranteed way to end things unless the guy is desperate.

    This is just one of many “cardinal sins” that sometimes get committed via text.

    • singlegirlswagblog

      Hey Blake,

      That’s actually a really interesting note, and not something I’d ever thought about. Would love to hear more from you! Maybe consider submitting your own guide for girls to us? I think our readers would really benefit!

      Thanks for reading :)

      • Blake

        I wish I could do a 101 for girls, but it might do a disservice since it’s hard to have a set of rules for guys, since some guys are desperate, some are looking for a one night stand, some are looking for a serious relationship, and some are just plain weird. LOL.

        So I guess some general rules might be:

        In my experience some girls know how to run good game on guys. The best game a girl can run on a guy is to go by their own feelings/instinct, and not listen to too much of their friends’ advice since the friends most likely have never met the guy. The guy wants to date the girl, not her friends. In my experience, things have been ruined by what I later learned was her friends’ advice. Since I have some decent experience with girls, I can now pick up on when a girl is going by what their friends are telling them, and not going by her own instincts/feelings. Friends’ advice leads to mixed signals and confusion for the guy. The girl’s gut instinct works best. Gut instinct means to be yourself. The guy will figure out sooner or later what the girl being herself is, so it’s better to do it sooner than later. Sounds cliche I know but it’s true. Guys are guilty of listening to our friends too much too, which also mess things up. Guy friends can give HORRIBLE advice.

        There are some girls that I thought were only somewhat interesting and somewhat attractive that had me head over heels and blocking advances from girls I thought were more attractive/interesting, whereas there have been HOT girls that are super interesting that every guy is chasing who have been interested in me and I just thought “well she is HOT, but I dunno.” I guess she had bad game. The worst girl game a girl asked me about was the advice she was told by a female friend, “to get a guy to chase, you gotta act like you don’t give a sh*t about him.” WRONG! If a guy isn’t ugly and desperate, he will just think “well she isn’t interested. I guess I’ll find someone else”. That someone else could be found later on that night. No guy likes a mean girl. Such a girl doesn’t appear to be hard to get to a guy, but actually comes off as a waste of time and unattractive. The only guy that sticks around with an asshole is one who is desperate and can’t get anyone else. Girls don’t like desperate guys anyway.

        Full disclosure: I don’t know the authors of this site. I’m just a guy in his mid 20s that came across this site and wanted to give some input. Haha.

  2. Charles

    Another Guy here… Mid 20’s, no problem meeting women or talking to them etc etc. Blake is on the money with pretty much everything he wrote. The “hard to get” timeframe rubric that some girls like to adhere to is a one way ticket to getting dropped. Adjust to what the conversation is about by using your regular everyday social skills. Not every text demands a 3 hour wait time, and likewise others don’t need an immediate reply. If we have a back and forth text and I follow it up to ask a clarifying question, answer it! Don’t be like, “Well if I wait an hour, he’ll be wondering what I’m doing the whole time and will be super interested in my response!” The reality is we are thinking, ok… she was there a second ago and definitely read my text so shes just being a brat and making me wait which can build up resentment pretty fast.

    That’s an example of an improper time to let a text marinate; use good judgement based on how a face to face conversation might be expected to go. Leave the hard to get interactions for in-person, where tone and body language can supplement your fake lack of interest and make us want to chase. If you are dead-set on attempting this technique, know that it is a VERY fine line to walk and you better know what you’re doing because we get it ALL the time and it usually gets old fast unless we are dead set on chasing you already. In which case your playing hard to get doesn’t really influence us anyway because we already want what we want. Better to just be yourself instead of trying to get in our heads to respond in a way YOU think will make us more interested in you.

    Over texting alone, attempts to show lack of interest… surprise surprise… convey a lack of interest! And it relies on us to remember why we were interested in you initially. In the absence of your physical presence, it can be pretty easy to convince ourselves you aren’t worth the time and effort if “that’s how its gonna be”. Especially in the early stages of getting to know someone. I’m not saying flood our phones, but you can convey excitement or tell us something that happened in your day without making us run for the hills.

    As for punctuation… I can’t speak for other guys, but I had a good education and I like to use it when I write things. I just use proper punctuation most of the time even in texts. I had no idea girls read that much into it! The only thing I ever deliberate is the occasional use of an emoticon if I’m being sarcastic. Otherwise its not even on my radar. There is zero conscious thought behind whether to use a period or not. It either makes it in there or it doesn’t.

    And one last thing about playing hard to get. I’ve had some girls shoot down my attempts to make plans with them because they don’t want to seem too available even though they actually were at the times I was suggesting. (they confessed to it later on down the line, which is how I know what happened) If you are going to reject attempts at seeing you from a guy you are interested in, don’t do it more than just a handful of times without starting to offer up possible alternatives or at a bare minimum, giving him a clue as to when you might be free. Society dictates that 9 times out of 10 the guy is responsible for orchestrating the initial stages of dating so throw us a bone and help out with the planning a little if you are interested. Don’t make us play battleship with your life-schedule until we eventually hit a time that you are free. Believe me, if the situation were reversed you’d all be bald by 30 from pulling your hair out.

    • singlegirlswagblog

      Hey Charles!

      This was super insightful- I can’t tell you how many girls I know (myself included) who play hard-to-get on purpose with response times, etc. You’re maybe the fifth guy who’s read this post that’s told me it’s annoying/frustrating so, there must be some kind of consensus there! Either way, loved reading your thoughts. Next time I’m texting a guy, I’ll be sure to keep them in mind.

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

    • Blake

      Charles is right.

      Trying to get a guy to chase will only be successful in like 1 out of 1000 times, and it will mess things up like 999 out of 1000 times. I do honestly think many genuinely great girls end up being single due to trying to unsuccessful play head games with guys. Playing hard to get is just sooooo not attractive early on. It can work later on in a relationship, but it is horrible early on. The worst is when girls try to talk about other guys in front of the guy and thinking that will get him jealous. Guys know how other guys think, so when girls give stories about how other guys might be hitting on them all the time, we can easily tell if they are lying or not. Guys don’t get jealous from this, they just get annoyed and turned off.

      Guys don’t want a clingy girl either, but they just want someone who is themselves. A guy knows early on if he will chase a girl, and many of the head games girls try to run on guys will never change his early decision.

      A personal example of a girl playing the “hard to get game” and it blowing up. I was once at a party and was texting a girl I had recently met who was playing hard to get. While I was waiting once again for a super slow txt response, a random girl comes up to me and said “my friend thinks you are really cute.” Well guess what, why keep dealing with a girl playing games that I don’t know that well yet when I have a girl who is being forward right here? I deleted the girl’s # that was playing games a few days later and stopped responding to her texts. It was too late for her to “turn it around” and start trying to chase me. When girls play hard to get really early in a dating situation, the moment the guy gets another “offer” from another girl, the hard to get girl has a high risk of being dropped, even if the 2nd girl is less attractive and/or interesting.

      Basically, the head games will net a girl a clingy desperate guy, whereas a girl being herself can get guys who are more “in demand”. Head games will really only work on guys with little experience with girls.

      Talking to guys is simple, just be yourself. What I will admit is HARD for a girl is to be able to determine if a guy is just friendzoing a girl or he is interested in a girl. That is probably the only subtle thing a girl has to figure out with a guy since we really are that simple in general.

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