It’s a Thursday night happy hour with your buddies when your phone lights up with a text. It’s from that new girl, whose number you scored off Tinder. She’s laughing at the joke you told earlier during the day. Pleased with yourself, but not wanting to seem too needy, you wait half an hour before sending another (slightly sexual) salvo before returning to your night of beer and hockey on the big screen.
Later that night, when you’re face down on your bed scrolling through your phone mindlessly, you realize: she never responded. No big deal, it’s only been a few hours, stuff happens. But the following morning, as you’re going into work, still no reply text has come. Early morning turns to mid-morning turns to afternoon, yet still silence. You begin to wonder if she saw the text? If she did why isn’t she replying? Is she playing games as well, has she lost interest, or is she actually just really busy?
These thoughts lead to one inevitable question: can I text her again? Sending back-to-back texts is a tricky subject, and there are those who take vehement stands on both sides of the issue. Some maintain you should never double text, lest you show yourself to be needy and desperate. Those people missed out on a second date with a girl because she dropped her phone in water and lost all her contact info.
On the other hand, some are all too casual with double texting, leading to them on a slippery slope that ends with sending eight texts in a row that alternate between anger and desperation (yes, this happened, and I was on the receiving end). As your resident over-analyzer, over the course of my many (many, many, many) failed pseudo-relationships I have found the answer is that, yes, you can double text. You can even triple text. Do so at your own risk, but with these rules regarding the who, the how, and most importantly, the when, you won’t risk making an ass out of yourself.
Note: For purposes of this article, double texts do not include multiple texts sent concurrently with each other, and would be considered part of the same thought.
The major factor in approaching a potential multi-text chain is the relationship between textor and textee. If you’re texting a parent, sibling, close friend, spouse, fiancee, or other long-term partner, you always have the green light to double text. In a comfortable and close relationship there’s no power dynamic at play and the occasional follow-up won’t be scrutinized.
For an intermediate relationship, such as a coworker, a steady paramour (agreed exclusivity, but under two years together), or someone you’re asking for a favor, the double text is still acceptable. However, unlike in close relationships, you don’t have carte blanche to fire off that follow up 10 minutes after you see the read notification. The general rule in these cases is you can only text if there is a pressing need. If you’re up against the deadline and need your co-worker to meet for some last minute prep for the meeting tomorrow, the double text is justified. If there is no compelling need to text them, wait 12 hours minimum between texts.
Most often, though, this quandary arises in those new, not fully-formed relationships, most often new love interests. The allowance for texting in cases of need from above applies here as well, if you need to text because the movie’s starting in five minutes and you don’t know where she is, it must be done. In all other cases, the timeline has changed.
Instead of 12 hours, a minimum of 24 hours between texts is necessary. When you do text, don’t make a big deal and draw attention to it. Go to another subject, completely separate from your previous conversation. Better yet, suggest an activity or date. Their response will be a decent gauge of where their head is at in this relationship. Enthusiastic response means you’re fine and this was a blip on their end. Agreeable but luke-warm means you can leave it open-ended for them to respond and possibly follow up again (allowing at least another 24 hours). Cold response tells you all you need to know.
Triple texting, to some, is unfathomable. They didn’t respond to your last two messages. Are you really going to send a third? Well, with those that you have a pre-existing relationship with, you can give them the benefit of the doubt. These are people who have been and (presumably) will be constantly interacting with you either through necessity or their choice. Don’t hound them, because they likely are preoccupied to not respond to you. If there is a necessity, you can text a third time (though if they didn’t respond after the second text, think long and hard about how pressing the time issue is and how urgent the need is). If there is no need, 24-hour wait between second and third texts for all cases. Give them time to collect themselves.
For romantic interests and flimsy relationships, though, you’re in a tough spot. The triple text is essentially a nuclear option. You’re at your wits end and trying to figure out what is going on, coming to the other person in a position of complete weakness. No two ways about it, not responding to two texts puts all the power in their corner. The only advice I can impart is this: if you have a history of getting pretty good responses from them in the past before communication ceased, firing off a third text to ask where you stand is workable. Just make sure you are calm, firm, and understanding, but let them know you’re confused by their lack of a response. If your messaging history has been spotty… well, ask yourself if she’s worth it. Like I said, this is a hail mary. In either case, though, 48 hours between second and third texts is minimum acceptable time, and I’d even say 72 hours is advisable.
And now we’ve hit the point where I can no longer, in good conscience, advise you to continue. No matter the relationship, sending the fourth text says something about who is more invested in the relationship. If it’s a close relationship or there is a pressing need, you would have likely called by now (yes, smartphones can do that) or spoken to them in person. Sending a fourth text to anyone just reeks of desperation. The only thing I can advise in these cases: take whatever the time you actually waited between the previous two texts (if you’re sending a chain of four texts, I know you didn’t follow the wait times I advised above) and double that. Please. For the sake of your dignity. Wait that time before sending the fourth text (but I know you won’t, you sad, sad little man).
Five Texts In A Row
Monty Python and the Holy Grail was actually prescient when it comes to consecutive texting limits. “Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out.” Don’t be that guy who sends five consecutive texts without a response.
Six Texts in a Row
Um, what are you doing?
Seven Texts In A Row
Eight Texts In A Row
All her friends have seen this thread. It will go on the Internet tagged as “cringe,” “pathetic,” and/or “nice guys.”
Nine Texts In A Row
WHY HASN’T ONE OF YOUR FRIENDS FOUND YOU AND TACKLED YOU? YOUR PHONE SHOULD LOCK ON YOU FROM TEXTING IF YOU HAVEN’T GOTTEN A RESPONSE AFTER EIGHT TEXTS IN A ROW. NOT JUST FROM TEXTING HER, BUT FROM TEXTING ANYONE!!!
Ten Texts In A Row
Okay, I’m back with some advice for you. Take your phone, grab a hammer, and smash the thing until not even Albus Dumbledore could repair the thing by magic. Don’t buy a new phone. You’re now restricted to landline, and if you keep these ways up I’ll drop you down to telegraph. Trust me, this is for your own good. .