A partner, FWB, or even date who doesn't respond right away can be hell for someone who is lonely or has a big imagination. You might be the kind of person to say, "To hell with protocol!" and proceed to double-text your partner. Maybe you'll triple-text, if you're feeling frisky. But how many texts can you send before looking clingy?
A 2019 survey from Typing.com found that, on average, people feel that sending six text messages in a row comes off as "clingy" or "needy." Typing.com asked 1,000 people about their digital communication habits in their romantic relationships. The survey dove deep, asking participants about everything from the pros and cons of digital communication —such as convenience in making plans or having the receipts on what their partner said in disagreements — to the place of phone calls, text messages, social media, and emails in arguments. When it came to how many consecutive texts were considered "needy," both people in long-distance relationships and not in long-distance relationships said that about six texts hit the mark. That number was about the same for the women and men surveyed. It also was pretty much the same for couples that lived together and those that didn't.
Some more juicy tidbits from the survey include texting preferences by gender. When it comes to "good morning" and "good night' texts, 42.5 % of men and 51.2 % of women say they're important. Typing.com found that more women prefer that their partner sends paragraph-length text messages. On the other hand, men prefer fragment statements across multiple texts.
There were also interesting stats on how long couples go without talking over phone, text, or other methods. The women who responded to the survey could go 13.1 hours on average and the men could go a 14.6 hours. LDR couples were fine not communicating for 12 hours, whereas non-LDR couples were fine not talking for up to 14 hours. And lastly, married couples talked about every 12 hours and non-married ones talked about every 16 on average.
If you have sextuple-texted an SO, date, or f*ck buddy before, it's time to reconsider your texting habits. But that doesn't have to happen in a vacuum. The best move you can make is to address the issue with the other person involved — preferably on the phone or face-to-face. Not getting texts back when you'd like them probably does make you feel impatient, or nervous about what they're up to, or just lonely. And that's valid! Your SO or FWB might not know this, though, so it's important that you let clue them in.
Moreover, have a frank discussion with your partner or FWB about how quickly they should text you back. Typing.com found that some couples had established rules about how long it should take one partner to get back to the other. (About 40% of LDR couples had rules and only 8.4% of non-LDR couples had come up with them.) Looking at the gender breakdown, the maximum amount of hours men gave their partners to reply was 3.8. For the women, the maximum was five hours. Of course, this was on average — work with your partner or FWB to find what's best for your situation.
In the meantime, if your partner isn't responding back quickly, work on cultivating patience. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Try a grounding exercise to draw attention away from your anxiety. And lastly, as marriage and family therapist Kiaundra Jackson told Elite Daily, "Do something to take up your time. Fill your day with things to keep you busy until you are able to hear back from them." Your SO or FWB not responding is actually the perfect opportunity to take yourself on a date, or hit up the crew for a movie and drinks. Before you hit "send" five more times, pour that energy into yourself.