Left On Read
a woman texting a date

“Are We Still On?” & More Mistakes You’re Making When Texting A Date

According to TikTok dating expert @findingmrheight.

Originally Published: 
Mauro Grigollo/Stocksy

If you’ve ever wished for a script to follow when you’re messaging dates, you’re in luck. Texting scripts are Ali Jackson’s — aka @findingmrheight’s — specialty. The dating coach’s TikTok-viral videos give singles a playbook for communicating with a crush, and she’s helped followers accomplish everything from getting engaged to asserting their self-worth in unfulfilling relationships.

Jackson’s texting tips came about three years ago, when she started sharing her experience with online dating in New York City. She grew a following on TikTok, started a podcast, and soon became a dating and relationship coach to formalize her passion for doling out advice to curious followers.

Popular inquiries for Jackson include questions like “How did you tell that guy you didn't want a second date?” or “How did you ask this other guy for more communication?” Enter: Ali’s dialogue examples, which eliminate the anxiety and confusion of dating. “I call them text ‘scripts’ because it’s pithy and punchy, but I really encourage people to make them their own,” she says.

If you feel like the texts you’re sending are working for you, that’s great. But if you need some help, here’s Jackson’s take on the most common texting mistakes — plus, guidance for what you can say instead.

1. You’re Asking Dates “Are We Still On?”

Say you have a date scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m., and you’re excited. But you also want to confirm that it’s still actually happening, since it’s been a few days since you last chatted. So you send this very common text: “Are we still on for Friday?”

According to Jackson, you might want to rethink the phrasing. “The framing invites an option where it’s OK if somebody commits to something and then decides to bail without telling you,” she says. Instead, assume that if you haven’t heard otherwise, the date is still on.

Text from a place of security and reassurance. Try something like “Hey, I’m really excited for tomorrow night.” Or “What time were you thinking?” if you haven’t set a time yet.

2. You’re Not Communicating Enough

If you appreciate messaging between meetups and you’re not getting that with your current date, don’t be afraid to ask for what you really want. “Everyone tends to assume that other people want to communicate with the same frequency that they do,” says Jackson. Sometimes, you just need to be direct.

Have a conversation like “Hey, I love the time that we spent together. I would love to talk more between dates as well.” Asserting your desires might be uncomfortable at first, but it’s the only way to find out if this person can meet your needs.

3. You’re Texting Too Much Before The First Date

Sometimes people can lean too heavily on texting before a first date. “I see people having really long, drawn-out text conversations with somebody that they’ve never met because it’s a dating app,” Jackson says. It feels really good to text with somebody you’re into. But if you haven’t even met in person? It’s not always the best move.

“It’s like when you read a book you really like, and then when you see the movie, you don’t like the movie because the characters are not what you imagined from the book,” Jackson says. You’re building up an idea of who someone is without really knowing them. Instead, try to keep some mystery alive for your date and leave the deeper convos for IRL.

4. You Never Call Out Ghosting

When a date hasn’t replied to your last text for weeks, it can hurt. But that doesn’t mean you can’t let them know you feel disrespected by how they cut things off.

“People ghost because it’s an easier, socially acceptable option, rather than saying they don’t want to see you anymore,” says Jackson. But you can take your power back by texting ghosters directly — if you feel it’ll help you get closure.

Try saying “I’m interpreting your silence as a cue that you’re not interested, but I would have appreciated a more direct conversation about this. I hope you take this into consideration in the future.” No matter their reply, you made your point clear and you can move on.

5. You Don’t Reply To Rejection Texts

You just went on a date and you had a great time. But once you get home, you hear your phone buzz, and yup, it’s them. They let you know that, while they enjoyed meeting you, they’re not interested in you romantically. It sucks, but at least they were considerate.

And while you don’t want to reinforce bad behavior (like ghosting), you can encourage good behavior — even if it stings. Your inclination may be to leave this person on read, but Jackson suggests sending them a quick reply instead. You can say something like “Thank you for letting me know in this polite way. I appreciate the way you handled things.”

6. You Open Conversations With “Hi” & That’s It

“We should bring the energy to the conversation that we want to get back,” Jackson says. If you want a lively, thoughtful text exchange from a crush, just sending them “hi” or “sup” isn’t going to cut it. Odds are you’re also scared to seem like you’re putting in too much effort, but it’s time to shake off that fear. If somebody doesn’t give you anything back, that’s on them.

7. You Give A “Reason” When You’re Not Into Someone

So you’re not into a date and you want to tell them via text. As you type it out, you might be inclined to explain why you don’t like them. But perhaps you should hold off, as Jackson says it’s not always helpful.

“Attraction is subjective, and telling someone that you’re not attracted to them doesn’t really give them any information,” Jackson says. It’s better to just keep the text to-the-point and kind: “I had a great time with you, but I don’t see us being involved romantically in the future.”

8. You’ve Made An Unwanted Pen Pal

You’re dating someone who loves to write novel-length text messages between dates. You like them, but you’re not someone who wants constant, drawn-out contact, and you’re finding it a bit off-putting.

Try saying something like “That’s so interesting! I’m looking forward to hearing more about that on our next date.” It reiterates the fact that you want to go out with them, but that you’d prefer to have in-depth conversations in-person, says Jackson. After all, seeing if you click IRL is what makes dating exciting, right?

This article was originally published on