Dating is more complicated than ever right now: you can be benched, breadcrumbed, and ghosted by your Tinder match... all in the same week. And even when a great first date gives you butterflies, knowing what to do next can be confusing AF. Luckily, in Elite Daily's series, We Need To Talk, our Dating editors break down the latest terms, trends, and issues affecting your life with their own hot takes to figure out how to navigate finding love in a world that changes faster than you can swipe left.
If you've ever calculated exactly how many minutes your crush took to text you back, then waited precisely the same amount of time before hitting "send" on your reply, this story is for you. Almost everyone gets anxious about texting someone they like... and if you receive crickets in return, no one would blame you for Googling things like, "chances of dying alone with my cat?" To make you feel a little less alone (and much less stressed), Elite Daily's Dating editors got together over a bottle of red wine and a playlist of '90s love jams to hash out the question our generation has come head-to-head with more times than not: How do you deal with texting anxiety in the early stages of dating, especially when people keep leaving you hanging?
Vero [5:38 p.m.]
do you guys remember when i was dating john* and i would literally feel sick (SICK) that i heard from him so randomly
our dates were so great and fun, but he was just NOT a texter (which, ???) so we would rarely text about like, fun things
our texts were just to make plans
but the periods of times where i didn't hear from him? sick!!!!
like could not sleep
Hannah [5:39 p.m.]
and for the record, those periods were like, days, right
Vero [5:39 p.m.]
Hannah [5:39 p.m.]
the length of an actual human period
that is very rude of him
Iman [5:40 p.m.]
the worst part about that is then YOU become hyper-aware of how much you text them
or want to text them
like i used to COUNT the amount of minutes it took for me to respond to exactly match whoever I was texting
Hannah [5:40 p.m.]
the whole point of dating is to actually get to know someone!!!
so like, god forbid you actually show interest and want to speak to them and hope they respond in a timely manner
can we talk about why people don't text back, because it's dumb
Iman [5:41 p.m.]
i think there are a few explanations:
1. this person is not good at texting — they always leave people on read
2. this person doesn't want to seem too into you because they haven't figured out if they like you yet (ew)
3. this person doesn't want to seem too into you because they DO like you and are nervous that they'll seem too eager
4. this person doesn't care about you
Vero [5:42 p.m.]
i feel like that's such a cop-out though — "i'm not good at texting"
if you like someone, you'll text them back. or is that not true?
Iman [5:42 p.m.]
i have friends who just forget to look at their texts
Hannah [5:43 p.m.]
i think it comes down to this: are they EVER good at texting you?
(and when they are bored/alone/horny does not count!)
Vero [5:43 p.m.]
when was the last time
you "forgot" to look at a text from someone you really like
Hannah [5:44 p.m.]
like, if they're busy at work and can't text, that’s fine as long as they text you back later that night
but if you're big into texting and you're trying to date someone who is not, maybe you are just not ~textually compatible~
Iman [5:44 p.m.]
some people need more communication than others
i could easily go hours without a text from my partner and think nothing of it
but i have friends who need a text every like half an hour
Hannah [5:45 p.m.]
also, it's worth pointing out that sh*t happens sometimes
family emergencies, roommate drama, people get sick…
Vero [5:45 p.m.]
there's also the matter of expectations
like you may be expecting a ton of communication, and they might not be
you might've had a steady texting pattern with your ex, and they might've never really texted throughout the day with theirs
Hannah [5:46 p.m.]
but even if you know that, it doesn't lessen the anxiety sometimes
Vero [5:46 p.m.]
texting is so anxiety-inducing because you start asking yourself, do they even like me?
am i asking for too much?
and you're not!! you're not!
Hannah [5:47 p.m.]
YOU DESERVE TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED AS A HUMAN WITH THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS
and like, appreciated as a person who sends funny memes and nice dog photos!!!
Vero [5:47 p.m.]
so what are some ways to deal with the stress when someone doesn't text you that much?
Iman [5:48 p.m.]
personally, when i was struggling with it
i got over it the only way i know how: by just being weird and awkward and saying out loud, "YOU MAKE ME NERVOUS"
a communication style
you guys may have noticed
i haven't left in the past
Hannah [5:48 p.m.]
i always appreciate your honesty!
Iman [5:49 p.m.]
that way, the weight is lifted off of you and feels like it's crushing you less
but if you guys have other methods, i am literally all ears
Hannah [5:49 p.m.]
i think when you're waiting for a text, it's just all-consuming and horrible because you want affection and attention and you're not getting it
so my feeling is that you should find other people to talk to
and if i were a nice therapist or a mom i would probably suggest reaching out to friends
but i mean talking to other people on dating apps
and setting up other dates
Iman [5:49 p.m.]
what about forcing yourself to break bad habits?
example: if you know you have a habit of waiting to respond to a message, just to make them wait for your response as long as you waited, force yourself to text back without waiting a couple times
actions and words are normalized through repetition
Hannah [5:50 p.m.]
you could leave your phone in another room for awhile
or go out with a friend and leave your phone in your bag
that feels productive because you're genuinely having a good time
or paint your nails so you can't check your phone
or work out
Vero [5:50 p.m.]
Iman [5:50 p.m.]
you know what i love
that quote from the office where mindy kaling is like
"darryll philbin is the most complicated man i have ever met"
"who always says what they're thinking?!"
"what kind of game is that?"
Hannah [5:51 p.m.]
Iman [5:51 p.m.]
but it's so true!
the hottest game of 2020 is being honest
being honest when you want to text someone
honest when you don't want to text someone
honest when you can't text someone or don't care much about texting
JUST BE HONEST
Vero [5:51 p.m.]
but sometimes you don't feel confident enough to be that honest
like i never felt comfortable telling john that i wanted to hear from more because he was never my boyfriend
so i thought i didn't really have the grounds to ask him for what i need since he wasn't really "mine”
is that terrible
Hannah [5:52 p.m.]
i think it's super interesting that people (myself 10000000% included here) don't feel comfortable expressing needs to people they aren't "officially" in relationships with
that is sad, our culture should be better about this
Iman [5:52 p.m.]
i think we are all kind of worried of the vulnerability that honesty requires
because if they don't return our feelings, it feels like we’ve failed (even though we haven’t)
therefore, we put it off as long as possible
Hannah [5:53 p.m.]
oh for sure, vulnerability is terrifying
but that's also kind of the whole point of dating? finding a person you can be yourself around?
another thought is that if the actual connection you're experiencing with this person is not living up to your fantasy of it...
then maybe it's not actually that great of a connection
Iman [5:53 p.m.]
everyone who i wasn't able to be honest with
ended up not working out
Hannah [5:54 p.m.]
Vero [5:54 p.m.]
ultimately, you need to ask for what you need
and do you, regardless of what you think someone's going to like or not
Iman [5:54 p.m]
texting anxiety is totally normal and everyone experiences it at one point or another
do not beat yourself up for feeling anxious
Vero [5:55 p.m.]
do/text/say what you feel comfy with
Hannah [5:55 p.m.]
also if you feel anxious, there might be a reason
i hope this is not too heavy to dump on the chat at 5:55 p.m.
but anxiety can sometimes function as your gut giving you important insights!
Iman [5:55 p.m.]
Vero [5:56 p.m.]
i'd just like to say that i recently matched with someone on hinge and the first thing he said to me on text was
"hey sorry if i don't text back for a bit i just have a super busy work schedule! don't want you to think i'm not paying attention"
and i was like
thank you for that! genuinely!
Iman [5:56 p.m.]
i just think that if everyone
is as honest as they feel comfortable with
or as direct and communicative as that guy
we could abolish texting anxiety once and for all
and that's why i'm running for president in 2020
Hannah [5:57 p.m.]
where can i donate to your campaign?!?
Vero [5:57 p.m.]
text IMAN to donate to iman's campaign for president.
*Name has been changed.