8 Signs You're Bad At Texting And It's Ruining Your Dating Life

by Alison Segel

There are two ways that I text people: I will either get back to you in three years, or I will write you a 15-paragraph message immediately after you text me.

There really is no in between.

For example, once, when a guy wasn't texting me back, I texted him the knife emoji several times in a row until he was forced to acknowledge my presence. I thought it was fun and flirty, but apparently, it was just terrifying and a "red flag."

What I'm saying is this: I'm an awful flirt-texter. (I think I just made up that word. Can we put it in the dictionary yet?)

If you forget to respond for days at a time, or text your crush your entire life story after he just said "hey," then I'm sorry to break it to you, but you might be bad at texting, too.

Here are nine signs that show you're bad at texting, and it's ruining your dating life.

1. You Wait Too Long To Text Back


Have you ever had a guy text you "What are you doing tonight?" and then, you respond two weeks later?

Yeah, "tonight" has come and gone by then. And he probably doesn't need to hear what you ended up doing two weeks ago.

Dating is all about timing and momentum. If you leave a guy hanging for too long, his attention is bound to go elsewhere, and your conversation will most likely go... nowhere.

It's always best to get back to someone within a few hours to keep the conversation flowing and to show the person you're dating that you're still interested. Otherwise, in this constant state of paranoia we all live in, he might think he's been ghosted.

2. You Forget To Respond Completely

(And then, you lie about it.)

You know this one. The old "Sorry, I didn't see this!" excuse. Or better yet, the "Oh my god, I thought I responded!" text.

Yeah, we all know you're lying, so you might as well just come clean.

If you want to sustain an actual relationship with someone, then you need to respond in a timely fashion.

Or, if you're one of those people with the self-awareness to know that you're actually a bad texter, then tell the person you're dating that. Say you'd rather talk on the phone or meet up in person instead.

Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to relationships (and to SMS).

3. You Over-Punctuate

Just so you know, exclamation points are for insane people. I can always tell that someone is spiraling or about to have a nervous breakdown by how many exclamation points they are using.

"I'm great!!!! Thanks!!!!"

If someone writes that, you can tell they are not doing great. They're probably en route to a mental institution, and their phone is about to be taken away.

Lay off periods, semi colons, and other overly formal elements of grammar as well. You're supposed to come off as fun and flirty when texting someone you like, not as someone who's showing off their knowledge of MLA format.

Unless you're role playing as the grammar police, don't over punctuate.

4. You Write Him A Novel

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When it comes to texting, less is more. Leave a little mystery for when you actually meet in person.

While I think that shooting off paragraphs might sometimes actually show off my personality and create a sense of comfort with a guy, it can also show me as overly available and a little desperate — things I'm definitely not trying to look like while dating.

So when you're texting your crush, don't ignore him (that's another bad texting habit), but also, don't tell him your life story. You can tell him that in person... on date five or something.

5. You Use Too Many Emojis


You are not a child, so you do not need to end every sentence with a smiley face.

I'm just gonna say it: Emojis are immature. In real life, imagine if you ended every sentence with a wink or with a super cheesy catch phrase. That is what constantly using emojis while texting is like.

If you're asking a guy if he wants brunch, you don't need to include the egg emoji at the end of your text. He knows what kinds of foods will be served at brunch. I promise.

Using emojis too frequently does not scream "responsible adult ready for an actual relationship." It's more like a kindergartener showing off her art skills.

6. You Say Too Little

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If you respond to a text just saying "OK," then you are a literal monster. It's like, are you mad at me? What did I do wrong?

While you don't want to overshare or be overly available when texting, if you say too little, you come off as disinterested and, well, cold.

I've texted guys where it literally felt like I was pulling teeth to get them to talk to me. It was impossible for me to tell if they were bad texters, or if they were just trying to play it cool.

Either way, if you're texting someone, at least give them something to work with if you're interested. Otherwise, you might just want to lay off the phone in general.


7. You Leave Your Read Receipts On


My mom has her read receipts on, and every time she reads a text from me and doesn't reply, I feel like she is a guy who's ghosting me.

Leaving your read receipts on is an incredible power move, and I admire anyone who asserts that kind of relationship dominance and confidence, but also, DAMN, it is mean. To show someone that you read their text, but just not responding — that is cold.

I consider having your read receipts on a bad texting behavior, as it can lead to a lot of unnecessary insecurity and paranoia while dating. So just turn them off, for everyone's sake.

You hear me, mom?

8. You Only Text Them Drunk

Drunk texting is ALWAYS a bad look. Just don't do it.

In fact, there are apps, like one called Drunk Mode, that will prevent you from drunk texting. For example, Drunk Mode will actually lock your phone for a certain period of time (like when you plan on hitting the bar), and you need to solve elaborate math problems in order to unlock your phone again.

This way, texting your crush after several vodka sodas is a near impossibility, and you can save yourself the embarrassment of telling him how much you love him, want to marry him, and have his children.

If you exhibit a few of these texting behaviors, then you just might be a bad texter. Don't worry, though. There's hope for you. You can always start talking on the phone.

Or here's a revolutionary idea: Maybe just start hanging out in person with the people you're dating, instead.