Picture this: Your crush said they wanted to make plans for this weekend. It’s 5 p.m. on Friday and you still haven’t heard any details from them. You text, "Hey, did you still want to get together and do something tonight?" An hour goes by and nothing happens. What do you do?
Should you text them again? Give them a call? If he takes hours to text back, should you do the same? No. Put your phone down. According to dating experts when he doesn’t text back promptly, or when she totally ignores your message, the first step is to recognize that their silence might have absolutely nothing to do with you.
“[It’s possible] they’re at work and can’t have their phone,” says Maria Avgitidis, CEO of matchmaking service Agape Match and host of the dating podcast Ask A Matchmaker. (Or maybe they’re driving, or they’re out on a run, or they fell asleep on their Xbox controller with their hand in a bag of Doritos.) She adds, “Sometimes, people look at their text messages on their Apple Watches and think, ‘I’ll respond to this later,’ and then completely forget to respond.” In this scenario, ideally, they will remember to get back in touch the next time you’re on their mind.
That said, there are limits to how long they can go without texting you and still plausibly claim they’re really interested in you. “If they’re not responding to your text message in the evening after work, then it just means you’re not a priority. You’re on the back burner,” Avgitidis explains. Give your crush the benefit of the doubt... but not forever.
If an unanswered text has you spiraling with nerves, you’re not alone. It might even drive you to wonder, Should I call him? But Avgitidis advises against that. “I feel like it’s only appropriate to call your best friends whenever you want. Anyone else, you have to text them first before you get on the phone, especially when you’re in the early stages of dating,” she notes. “Say, ‘Hey, are you free for a call?’”
This might also be a moment to evaluate why hearing from this person is so important right now. Of course, nobody likes to be left hanging — especially on a Friday night — but is something deeper going on? Is it possible you’re seeking affirmation that your crush is still into you? “Usually, the answer to that is [wanting] acknowledgment. And if they’re not acknowledging you over text, I don’t think you’re going to get the answers you want through the phone,” Avgitidis says. “Unfortunately, the ball is in their court, and they’re going to dictate when they respond to you.”
If you’ve texted this potential boo twice and still haven’t gotten a response, it’s possible that you may be getting ghosted. "If you’ve texted your crush twice, over the course of three days, and you haven’t heard back, you’ve been ghosted. Three days is enough time for someone who’s living a normal life to get back to you if they want to," relationship expert April Masini previously told Elite Daily.
If this is the beginning of a new relationship, and you haven’t communicated openly and honestly about what you’re both looking for, then try starting a larger dialogue about that to get the clarity you need. However, if your attempts to communicate go ignored, it’s time to reevaluate whether his is someone who deserves to be in your life.
Even if their actions are petty, refuse the impulse to play games. Be straightforward about what you want, and try to discuss boundaries and intentions.
The good thing is, even if you are being ghosted, you will get through it stronger than ever. "Ghosting stings because it’s rejection without any grace," Masini said. "But if you try to understand that the person who ghosted you does not have the relationship tools to say goodbye, or he or she doesn’t have the relationship tools to make a relationship work, then, basically, you’ve dodged a bullet."
Reach out to friends and family to commiserate, throw your attention and focus on your passion and hobbies, and keep yourself open to meeting new people. You’ll be getting plenty of texts back in no time.
Additional reporting by Iman Hariri-Kia.
April Masini, relationship expert
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