Should I Text Him? 7 Rules For When To Text And When To Wait
By: Carlos Cavallo
Texting guys can be really confusing. You don't always know what to text him. But before you even send that message - STOP - and ask yourself Should I text him?
There are definitely times in dating when you should hold back and NOT send that text, and that's what I want to show you today: When you should text and when you shouldn't text him...
If you're dating
If you're "on hold"
If you haven't met up yet...
If you're just starting a relationship...
If you have no idea how he feels about you...
If you're already in a serious relationship...
It doesn't matter how you met him - Tinder, a party, or at the local Starbucks - you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by understanding the rules about texting and when to text.
Remember, texts don't have any tone or body language in them. And you can easily scare a guy off with a text just as much as you could scare him away by asking him "So where is this going?" on the first date.
DID YOU KNOW: Women over the age of 60 do the most texting in the United States... (?)
There are two primary situations where you might wonder if you should text him:
He's texted you and you wonder if you should reply...
You're thinking of just texting him out of the blue ...
You might want to remind him that you're waiting for him to get this show moving. You might also be a little hesitant that he might get weirded out from seeing a text from you.
You don't want to come across as desperate - which I can totally understand.
And there are a ton of texts you might want to send him:
A continuous conversation - or a stand-alone text to him
Morning conversation, or an evening text
There are a ton of different situations.
And you need to ask yourself:
Did he text you first?
Have you already texted him today?
I'm going to give you some text rules and tips that will help you make the best decision about sending that text. Or not!
Rule 1: Are You Sober? No Texts After You've Been Drinking!
I have to make this one a Golden Rule because it's so easy to drunk text. Heck, even if you text while just buzzed, you are likely to slip up and things could go very wrong. Just like anything in life - any conversation can be ruined with alcohol.
If you've had more than ONE drink, do yourself and him a favor and put down the wine glass and turn your phone off.
Don't Text Drunk!
I mean, I hope you're right there having that drink with him, honestly. But if you're not and you're just itching to text him, don't do it. You're coming from a place of anxiousness, and it will show in your texts.
One thing you do not want is to text him something in a moment of "lowered inhibition" that you might regret.
Ask yourself - If I was completely sober, would I send this?
The problem is if you were completely sober, you wouldn't be in this situation at all. And after a few drinks, you stop asking yourself the really necessary questions.
And if you do want to send that text message after your mind has cleared up, then by all means you can. Who knows, maybe you found some courage in your inebriated state - something that does need to be said - later on.
But before you make that decision - BEFORE you sip that Zinfandel - turn off your phone.
Rule 2: Who Are You In This Guy's Life?
Guys typically fall into one of 3 orbits:
You've never talked or been on a date with this guy...
You met him once...
You know each other at least a little bit...
Take a minute to think about what it would be like for him to get a text from you from out of the clear blue sky.
Will he know who you are right off the bat? Or will he just see your texts and have no idea, and get confused?
If you've never actually talked to him, it will be weird. And that's not how you want to start this romance...
If you've at least met him once, and you know he's got your name & number in his phone, then you're probably okay to send a short note...
If you've texted him before, then it really depends on the situation. And we'll cover that idea more here in this article...
Rule 3: Did He Text You First?
There are a few situations where you might get a text from him first and wonder if you should text him back:
Ask yourself if this is a guy that you are really interested in. If he's not your type or your kind of guy - or your instincts are saying no - then just don't send a reply text. If you text him back, you could open a can of worms. He might not take the hint, and then you'd be caught up in trying to be nice versus telling him to go away. And that's not fun.
Ask yourself if this guy is available. Sometimes you get a text from a guy that you know is in a relationship, or might even be married. Is this something you want to be involved in? Again, your gut should be able to tell you which situations should be avoided.
Are you feeling an open sense of excitement with no reason to hold back? Well, again, be careful about how quickly you feel the urge to send him a text message. Very often that impulsiveness can make you text too quickly. You also don't want to appear desperate to him.
Keep in mind that men are usually VERY conservative when texting. So when a woman texts him with her:
Long storytelling texts...
Tons of Emojis in your texts...
Really fast text responses...
This kind of texting feels weird to him. And it's one of the ways that women accidentally overwhelm a guy. She texts him like she's texting one of her girlfriends.
At the start of a relationship, guys lack self-control when it comes to flirting and playing the "enchanting suitor" role for you. You might mistake all his texting for interest in you and a possible relationship (some of it is).
MOST of why he texts you so much right after he meets you is because he's jazzed about "talking" to you - without having to risk rejection or embarrassment. It's hard for him to "mess up" in text, so he texts you way more frequently than he ever will in a relationship.
Which sets you up for a major let-down when the texting slows after the relationship starts.
In fact, a bunch of the things women see as worrisome signals that he's pulling away are actually men settling into a relationship!
If you let these false signals fake you out, you'll panic and possibly scare him off when things were actually going great.
Rule 5: Is He Texting You Back?
If this is texting tennis, is he returning your "serve?"
Another signal that a woman can look for when she's wondering whether or not to text him is his response pattern.
Does he text you back?
Does he text as much as you do? (in size)
Does he text with the same speed?
If you've already been texting a guy, and let's say he "went dark" and stopped responding, you would expect that he would eventually get back to you. (Maybe something came up - like his phone died or he got a call.)
But if he stops responding to your texts regularly, he may be telling you that he's just not much of a text messaging dude. Men don't text as much as women do.
"... women talk an average of 818 minutes a month on the phone, compared to 640 minutes per month for men. And women send out more text messages per month, 716 to the average man’s 555 texts."
Men also typically text women they are in a relationship with, or starting one. He might text his family on the side, but that's about it.
FACT: Guys do NOT typically text their guy friends - to chat or otherwise.
We only text to check on plans or ask a quick opinion. That's about it.
So when you text him and he's hitting it back to you like in tennis, that's a reasonable pattern that will happen at the beginning. You're both excited about the possibilities, and that will mean you'll text more frequently.
But he will likely slow his texting down after a while.
Now, some guys just don't text all that much at the start, either. Some guys just don't find it engaging or fun - and they are probably also still worried about what he SHOULD be texting you. So don't be surprised if your text message pattern feels more like dodgeball. (You fire a text at him and he just runs...)
Sometimes the best thing is just to ask him if he's an active texting kind of guy. If you get a lot of one-word replies, the guy is obviously not into texting.
And be sure to find out what HIS definition of "texting a lot" REALLY means. He could think that 2 texts a day is frequent! It's all relative.
Rule 6: Don't Text Him Too Much
If you're a fairly active texter, you might be texting your girlfriends pretty frequently. And every time you pick up your phone to send or reply to a text message, you're going to be seeing other people on your active roster of friends.
What this will do is make you think MORE about texting him than he will think of texting you. You're constantly being reminded by your friends and your attention to your phone of what your current "texting status" is.
Are you caught up with all your friends?
Anyone you missed talking to yet?
Have you missed something juicy a friend just sent you?
Wait - have you seen a text from HIM today?!
It simply makes more sense that if you're constantly pulling your phone out of your purse or back pocket - you're going to be more aware of your texting status and the frequency of your texting.
Dating Tip - One question you MUST ask yourself is: Have I already texted him today?
And the next question is: If I have texted him today, was I the one who sent the first text?
If you have not yet texted him yet today, then you can probably send him a "check-in" text. This is a light text that says:
"Hey, just wanted to see how your day was going..."
Don't get into over-thinking that text - send this text exactly as you see it.
And if he doesn't respond, DO NOT SEND A FOLLOW UP to "see if he got the first one." That's guaranteed to take you from "cool chick" to "needy woman" in a fraction of a second.
That's all you need to send for the next several days.
As a general rule, you should -
Avoid being the first one to text during the first few weeks of your relationship.
Why? Because you need to see if this guy has the stones to show you his interest - and act on it. If he doesn't, he's not a man you want. Men these days are getting let off the hook for their portion of the initiation of romance. Mostly because of a lot of mixed messages in the media.
Ignore the static!
Dating Tip: Stop pursuing guys. It never works out well for either of you.
If you're in a relationship, then text whenever you feel like. But I'd still recommend not too much, or you'll risk feeling like you're too THERE to him.
You want men to always be missing you a little. It's hard to do that when you're THERE all the time, right?
Rule 7: Something In His "vibe" - What's In His Message?
Some women can just intuitively sense when a guy is not all that into them. You just smell it in the words of his texts, or in the way he behaves.
Just be sure that your "intuition" isn't really "pessimism" in disguise. Sometimes we get so conditioned by bad results that we start assuming that every pattern of silence in texting means that he's already gone.
Which is why you must assume this guy is just a shy fool for the first few days. And if he doesn't ask you out - or reach out - after that first week, you mentally toss him in the trash.
You toss your hopes out for him because:
If he's into you, he WILL be back...
If he's "busy with something" - he WILL be back...
If you move on and he gets around to you, you are the one who now seems deliciously patient and confident...
In short, if you are faster to let go of these "almost romances," you will avoid a lot of that dreaded feeling of desperation and panic when a man's communication skills don't match your own.
So if you get that "vibe" that this guy is turning into a dud, throw him back in the pond. The quicker you do, the quicker you'll cultivate the more easygoing attitude of a woman who is not desperate or clingy.
BONUS TEXTING RULE: Should I Text Him First?
Look, if you just met this guy, NO.
Because if you really look at your motivation for wanting to text him first, it's all wrong.
The likely reason you want to text him first is because you think he's either forgetting about you, or he's slipping away from you. If you've been broken up, you're just worried about him moving on.
Don't text a guy first. You're just showing him that you will do the chasing.
Dating Tip: "Should I text a guy if we're taking a break from the relationship?"
If your relationship is on break, or you have broken up, you need to be very careful about texting him. Mostly because you don't want to be in contact with him for a while after the breakup. If you do, you risk him not giving you a second chance.
If he was the one to initiate the "break" in the romance, then you absolutely want to respect that "no text zone" for a while.
The problem with this "taking a break" zone is that it's really never a break. It's usually one person in the relationship that just couldn't stomach saying "look, it's over." They wimped out on the real breakup because they want to take the weaselly way out.
I should know, I've done it a few times. It was always easier than hurting the other person.
Until it wasn't.
Guys tend to pull this "let's take a break" thing because it's only about 10% less weaselly than breaking up in a text message. Guys are wusses when it comes to making a clean break because we are crushed when we have to make a woman unhappy.
That's why he says "take a break" instead of "break up."
So my short answer is: Don't text a guy you're taking a break or broken up with. The more he thinks you've moved on, the more likely it is you'll hear from him again.
The more you "just check in" on him, the more likely he'll just ignore your texts and then completely block you.
Which really is the best answer to the question: "So should I text Him - Or Wait?"
If you have a question about texting him or waiting, the answer is almost always "wait."
If you wait to text - and he texts you back, you win! He'll be more into you because you didn't ruin his "missing you."
If you wait to text and he texts you back, you'll feel like the prize - and you'll KNOW he's interested...
If you wait and he doesn't text you - he was never going to - even if you had texted.
If you text him and he's happy and returns the text, he was already getting ready to send you a text. You just beat him to the punch...
If you text him - you ruin the "is she into me?" fantasies he was having by shorting them out and removing the challenge...
If you send him a text you will probably ruin your chances by starting to chase him....
You can check my logic here - it's flawless.
You ALWAYS do better with waiting...
You ALWAYS do better with establishing your value early on by not being so readily available that he just knows you'll be at his beck and call...
You do better waiting because he will not get let off the hook for doing his part of the chasing...
What About Texting Your Ex?
Now let's dig into this very special situation - what if you've broken up for a while and you've stayed silent, and you've been patient.
OR - maybe you "took some time apart" - or "time off..."
Should you text your ex-boyfriend first, or should you wait for him to text you?
This is a different situation, and it really requires that you know more about where your ex's head is at. Before you text him, I suggest you gather some intel on what's going on with him.
If you have any friends in common, you should talk to them directly to see what's going on with him. After all, you don't want to try reaching him when he's in another relationship where he's happy. But you might have an opportunity if he's single and he's been talking about you, right?
Whether or not you talk to his friends, you can always do a little Facebook stalking to find out what's going on, too. Take a look at the activity on his page and see what he's been up to. If he's traveling the world, he might not be open to meeting you at Starbucks. But if all he's been doing is binging on his streaming shows, you might have a chance.
But What About Messaging Your Ex Boyfriend?
The best way to text anyone you've been out of contact with for a while is to be very brief. Send something that is just a friendly check-in, and then pay attention to how quickly he responds - and how much he responds.
Send him something like this: "Hey, Jim - I was just watching a show last night that reminded me of you..."
OR: "Hey, I was going to eat at (some restaurant you went to with him) - did you know they closed?"
You don't want to mention the show because this will tickle his curiosity a bit more. And it offers him an excuse to respond - even if it's only to ask you "Which show?"
Texting Dating Tip: Keep it light and short, with no emotional heaviness in it. You want there to be as little friction as possible for him to respond. If he feels the weight of your emotions in the message, it could make him very leery of responding.
Don't say things like:
Wish we were together...
My heart hurts...
Will you give me another chance...?
How are you doing...?
Do you miss me...?
If it sounds like you're a dumpster fire of heartbreak, you'll freak him out.
After you text him, you just use your instincts to tell you how best to interpret his response.
But again, don't get caught up in playing the interpretation game. MAYBE show his response to a friend to get feedback, but don't read into it. Take it at face value.
If he's at all interested in seeing you or talking again, he'll suggest it. You honestly don't want to try to rekindle a romance with a guy who can't find the energy or guts to ask you for a coffee or to dial you up on the phone.
What Should You Text Him?
Things get more complicated when you're caught up in wondering what you should text a guy - depending on the situation.
If you've just had a fight:
Save your emotional communication for being in-person, unless you think you were clearly in the wrong and you want to apologize...
Give him time to recover from the intensity of the fight first. Guys are deeply affected by arguments (contrary to what you might think) so he will need some time to settle down and come to his senses.
Don't text him if you're still extremely emotional. Texting is the worst way to communicate when it comes to important moments in your relationship. You run the risk of being misinterpreted.
But most important of all the dating tips I have for you when it comes to texting is that you have to know exactly WHY you're texting this guy.
And when I say WHY - I mean, what is your motivation for reaching out to him?
Skip the superficial excuses you might tell your friends, like:
I just want to know how he's doing...
I'd like to hear from him...
I don't want him to forget about me...
I just want to be sure he's okay...
Many times we come up with these "fake" reasons to justify our behavior because we are trying to rationalize our panicked emotions.
We have to admit that the most likely reason you want to text him that you're anxious about your connection to him and you're probably worried about losing him
- if you're not already separated or broken up.
Admit that, then you can work to settle your emotional state and really look at the situation clearly.
Whether this guy is someone new that you want a chance to date, or a guy you've been dating that has grown distant, or he's an ex boyfriend you want to win back, it's far less about what you text him and more about what you're NOT texting him.
In other words, men will almost NEVER lose interest in you because you didn't text him.
He's far more likely to lose interest because you texted him too much.
What Do You Do When He Won't Reply?
This is the one scenario that probably causes women the most problems when it comes to understanding if you should text him. And it really requires you to look at what happened leading up to his "radio silence."
A normal, interested man will text you as he feels he needs to. And that's not always going to be on your schedule of need.
This is definitely a situation where you have to be willing to not lose control or let anxious feelings push you into panic. He's still there, and most of the time you'll find that he was just dealing with "other stuff."
If you'd like more detail, I explain a lot more about how to handle this situation for you in this article...
As you can see - most of having a successful relationship with a man is about how well you understand a man's behavior.
In fact, 99% of dating and creating the relationship of your dreams is simply understanding men!
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