Bad Texter, But Great In Person? Here's How To Handle It

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Asking for a friend: is there an antidote for terrible texting? Maybe a crystal to rub on your fingers a la Spencer Pratt? OK, fine, I'm asking for myself. I operate on two levels when it comes to texting: effusive paragraphs or one-word answers. In real life, however, I'm a generally chatty, articulate human. So, I have to ask: Is it possible to be a bad texter, but great in person?

When it comes to my own habits, I can admit that I'm definitely a terrible texter, but I'd like to think that I am a decent person. I volunteer, I'm generally punctual, and my friends seem to like me. Perhaps my text voice simply doesn't match my real voice?

When it comes to the modus operandi of others when it comes to texting, I tend to perceive people in a far less generous way. Because I'm a raging hypocrite, when I receive a succinct, emoji-less text, I immediately think, "Where are this person's manners?" And then, soon after, "Are they mad at me?"

The most mind-boggling circumstance of all? When a person you are crushing on is the most flirty in person, but then texts you later in the same tone that I imagine Vice President Mike Pence uses to text women who aren't his wife. (Side question: Does he allow himself to text women he's not married to?)

I spoke to April Masini, a relationship and etiquette expert and founder of a relationship advice forum, about what makes someone a "bad" texter and if that necessarily reflects on their personality IRL.

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Can You Be A Bad Texter And Still Be A Cool Person?

Yes. And I am the example! Just kidding. But let's be real: The way a person texts you does not always indicate the entire scope of their personality, or their feelings for you. In fact, I typically delay my replies to my biggest crushes as a way to seem "chill." (Yes, you can eye-roll me.)

"There are people who are more comfortable behind a screen than they are in person," says Masini. For those "good texters" out there, flirting might come more naturally via messaging because they get nervous in social situations. On the other hand, Masini explains that some people are just bad writers. "These folks can be very easy going in person, but when it comes to texting, they’re lazy and gauche," she says. (As a writer on the internet as well as a terrible texter, I'm not sure what category I fall into...)

At the end of the day, it's entirely possible that the person you are crushing on is an awesome human being with a Nobel prize, excellent jokes, and the ability to make homemade barbacoa tacos who likes you very much but will still text, "Yeah," when you ask them, "Are you excited for our first-ever vacation together upstate?!"

"If your partner exhibits texting behavior that transfers into unfortunate real life behavior in other arenas, reconsider the character of the person you’re dating," says Masini. Basically, if your bae is texting like a jerk, and then also checking out other women at the bar on your romantic weekend trip away together, then maybe say, "Boy, bye."

Overall, you need to decide if the bad texting is something that's truly getting in the way of your relationship. If it bothers you, you can bring that up to your partner — just be mindful about how you initiate the conversation.

Since there's no "right" or "normal" way for a couple to text, be careful about shaming your partner for their natural communication habits. Instead, explain why you'd prefer to change up your texting routine. "Let them know it's something that you need to feel a certain way as opposed to framing it as something that they are not doing enough of," Shula Melamed, relationship and wellness coach, previously told Elite Daily. "Don't start the conversation by telling [them] they are 'bad' at something. Don't ask them over text!"

If you're just dissatisfied with your cutie's text voice, and love spending time with them in person, trust your gut. Romeo and Juliet didn't have iPhones, after all. (Though maybe that would have prevented their deaths.) Either way, keep calm and text on.

This post was originally published on June 20, 2018. It was updated on Aug. 30, 2019 by Hannah Orenstein.

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