Double Texting Etiquette: How Long Should You Wait To Text Back?
Admit it: texting is basically second nature when you’re communicating with your bestie, mom, or pretty much anyone else who you’re not trying to date. But when it comes to texting etiquette in a new relationship, things can get tricky — especially when you’re unsure of the other person’s communication style.
Double texting, ICYDK, is literally sending one text and then following up with another one before you even get a response to your first message. Now, you do you, but sometimes this act can come off as a little intense or (gasp) even desperate, says relationship expert Susan Winter which can be a turn off at the start of a new relationship. Dr Tara Fields recommends asking yourself, “Do I really need a response or do I want a response so that he or she can deescalate my anxiety?”
If you’re not sure how to answer these questions — don’t worry. Fields and Winter are here to break down proper etiquette when it comes to double texting, and help you figure out when you should follow up and when you should just let the relationship go.
I’m thinking about sending a double text. Should I do it?
Probably not, experts say. Both Fields and Winter recommend getting to the root of why you’re sending the double text in the first place. Did you ask them to hang out later? Before you go down a rabbit hole of theories concerning why they haven’t answered, consider that they’re just plain busy. “The best thing to do is ask yourself, ‘Am I panicking?'” Winter says. “Panic and insecurity can be sensed from a mile away.” And it usually comes out in the form of a double text, she says.
Let’s say you just texted McDreamy that you’re in their neighbourhood at a bar with a few friends, and are wondering if they’re free. If they don’t respond, following up with a text like, “I’m still in the neighbourhood. Where are you?”, or “Still nearby, do you want to meet up or not?” is unnecessary.
“You don’t want to double text if you’re asking a question that’s really a covert way of finding out how they feel about you,” Winter says. This text would likely fall into this category because what’s behind this question is, “Do they like me enough to meet up tonight?” Winter says.
The truth is, if you’re considering sending these messages, you’re actually avoiding some not-so-fun feelings. “It’s a way to not feel feelings that cause discomfort like disappointment, sadness, rejection or realising that you read more into the possibility of this relationship than was really true,” Fields says. If your prospective love interest doesn’t respond, it’s best to just deal with the disappointment, take it as a lesson, and move on.
Okay, but is it ever acceptable to send a double text?
Definitely! Winter says there are two times where she encourages her clients to send a follow-up message: 1) a need-to-know scenario or 2) a resolution.
Scene: You’re on your way to a date and you both agreed to meet outside of the restaurant. But when you get there, the lights are turned off inside. If you text your date and say, “Hey the restaurant looks closed” and they don’t answer, it’s perfectly fine to wait five or 10 minutes and send another text saying, “Am I at the right location?” This is what Winter calls a need-to-know scenario. It’s all about logistics and finding out information that is absolutely necessary.
A resolution scenario is the other exception. Say you text them on Thursday to confirm plans for tomorrow’s dinner. No response. You both agreed to meet at 8 p.m. Now it’s Friday at 6:00 p.m. and you’re feeling anxious because they didn’t answer your text yesterday. Go ahead and send a second text. But give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they are working up until the minute before your date and already assumed that your last conversation was confirmation they’d be there. Instead of saying, “Helloooo, are we still meeting tonight?” Fields suggests something more tactful. “Can’t wait to see you tonight. 8 pm right?” she suggests. This conveys excitement, without letting the other person know you’re anxious or have assumed they’re going to flake.
How soon can you send a double text?
In a new relationship, a day or even a few days is an acceptable amount of time to be left on read. Remember, you don’t really know this person. Maybe their dog died or they’re taking a tech sabbath. Give them the benefit of the doubt, both experts agree.
If you wait seven days, without sending a double text, and your inbox is still at zero, you should take that as a sign too. No response is a response, Fields says. And if they come back on day eight acting perfectly normal, you have to decide whether this is the kind of relationship you want. “They’re either horrific at communication, which will follow you into the relationship if you choose to continue it,” Fields says. “Or they’re so unmotivated to try to talk to you and that should be a symbol too.”
How many texts is too much?
“I like to see a good volley,” Winter says. “You send a message, they send one back.” But there is an exception: a moment of sharing. If the two of you are telling each other what happened at work today, for example, and you don’t want to send a monologue, it’s totally fine to break things up into multiple consecutive texts.
I’m really trying not to send this double text. What can I do instead?
Remember to ask yourself why you’re sending this double text. “Am I scared, am I nervous am I insecure?’ Winter says. If the answers is yes, put your phone away and do something else. “Workout, watch a movie, pet your dog,” Fields says. “Assume they just spaced out.” And during your downtime make sure to use positive self-talk. “This may not be what you want, but this is an opportunity to learn about that person,” Fields says. You’re getting to know their communication style and whether or not it aligns with yours.
Sooo…I’ve already sent the double text. And it seems like that’s the only time I get a response. What does this mean?
If you’re continuously giving them a nudge, the next time you’re together, point it out. But be sure not to guilt trip or judge them, both experts says. “Here’s something I noticed,” is a great way to start the conversation. According to Fields, if you always come from a place of curiosity then the other person won’t shut down.
And when you finally do bring it up to them, keep in mind that they may not be ignoring you intentionally. “Be open to the possibility that there’s nothing to interpret,” Fields says. “If when you get together with this person and they’re lovely and kind, present, and they like your friends, you might want to get over it. That’s just they’re style,” Fields says.
You might even want to suggest another form of communication. “Hey I’m curious does texting work for you? I’m open to something else,” Fields suggests saying. Or drop a hint during your next conversation that you like to give a head up when you’re going to be too busy to text. “I’m running out. If there’s a lapse in communication I’m driving,” Winter recommends texting them. This way they can get an idea of how you like to communicate.
If dissimilar texting styles is a deal-breaker for you, it’s important to convey that. Phrase it in a way that focuses the statement on you and your personality, rather than them and their flaws. Winter recommends saying something like this: “I like to stay in contact and I tend to lose interest in someone if there’s gaps in communication.”
It’s a tasteful forewarning. “It also takes the power back when you frame it as an “I’m like this” statement, Winter says. You’re not asking them, “Why don’t you text me back?’ or “Why am I not worth a response?” Instead you’re saying, “I’m not attracted to people who don’t respond to me and I’m likely to move on.” You’re giving them an opportunity to learn something about you, Winter says. If they don’t like it and continue not to respond: thank you, next.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com