If Your Crush Ignored Your Text, Should You Text Back? Here's One Theory

I don't know about you but the first thought I have whenever someone I'm crushing on doesn't reply to my text is, "OMG, they hate me now. It was nice while it lasted." Rational, I know. But if you don't have a mini freakout after they ignored your text, do you even like them?

I hate playing the texting game because I'm no good at it. I'm not embarrassed to double-text if I'm really into someone and I'm not offended if they do the same. I know the ~cool~ thing to do is make them wait a few minutes, supposedly to feign a sexy, mysterious vibe that amps up the attraction, but I call B.S.

My rule is simple, really: Treat people how you'd like to be treated. I don't want to sit around wondering if they didn't text back because they accidentally dropped their phone into a lake or because they met someone new in the two days since I last saw them. Each of those hypothetical scenarios requires a very different response and I'd rather be prepared.

I just don't get the impulse to be sh*tty to someone you might have feelings for. I mean, what happened to basic human decency? Oh, that's right! We threw that out the window when we started being ghosts and zombies in our dating lives.

The only time I resort to playing the texting game is when I feel like I might be a victim of it, which happens more often than I'd like. But what if the person you're texting really is just busy? Maybe they're studying for a big exam that's coming up or maybe they got some bad news and don't feel like talking right now.

Retaliating in either case might only make things worse. Take Zoe*, a 19-year-old college sophomore, for example. She was freaking out when she thought her date might be ghosting her but it turns out, she was the one who had been ignoring him.

I had a date planned for the next day with this guy, but we hadn’t talked since we set the date. I texted him to see if he was still on for tomorrow, and when five hours had gone by without hearing back from him, I got freaked out. I was pretty sure he wasn’t ghosting me on purpose (because we’ve interacted several times in person and he always seems really nice), but it was like my brain was trying to convince me that was true. I didn’t want to think he was a f*ckboi. But then, a few hours later, I reset my phone because it was having internet problems. As soon as I turned it back on, I got a text from him. He probably texted hours before and I’d been flipping a sh*t for nothing!

Imagine what would have happened if she had accused him of flaking or worse, blocked his number. It would have been the sad, missed connection driving the plot of your new favorite rom-com, ideally. Realistically though, they probably would have gone about the rest of their college lives avoiding each other in the Starbucks line. Tragic! I'll take Harry and Sally over Romeo and Juliet any day. Before you get mad (or even) at someone for not texting back, try these three simple steps instead.

Give It Time

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If your initial message to them wasn't an urgent one (to plan a date for the next day like Zoe's), I'd give them at least 36 hours to get back to you. This accounts for scheduling issues, shoddy cell service, and even emergency flights home. The whole reason we play the texting game in the first place is to avoid seeming too eager and scaring the other person off prematurely. Patience is key here.

Send A Follow-Up Text

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If your message requires an urgent response, I'd send another text after about one to two hours. This doesn't have to be confrontational, especially if you don't know for sure that they're ignoring you. A simple, "Hey, just checking to see if you got my message earlier. Are we still on for that drink?" will do.

A well-timed follow-up message will give you the clarity you're looking for because it allows them an opportunity to explain what really happened. They might reveal that they were doing the dishes when they saw your text and clumsily forgot about it by the time they got done. Whew, what a relief that would be!

On the other hand, another round of radio silence means you were right all along. They might not be ignoring you but they're not making you a priority, either. It's up to you to respond accordingly.

Let It Go

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I don't recommend confronting them about it, at least not yet. If they've managed to ignore your last two messages, they'll have no trouble ignoring a third.

I've found that people who've done this to me will resurface later on in my life, either with an apology or a flawed attempt to pretend it never happened. If they do apologize, great. You can forgive them and move on with your life or give them another shot. It's up to you. But if they don't acknowledge that they treated you poorly, walk away. They won't hesitate to hurt you again.