Jared Freid (@jtrain56) is a comedian and one of the guys at HeTexted.com. HeTexted is a site where girls can get advice on the texts they receive from guys. Every Thursday on Post Grad Problems, Jared will answer one of the questions from his HeTexted mailbag. These are real questions from real girls visiting the site each day. If you have any of your own dating questions go to www.HeTexted.com and ask a question to Jared or any of the other guys that fit your particular situation.
Q. We’ve been texting and hanging out with other people for two years. But when we’re face to face, I can’t talk with him like when we’re texting. Texting is easier, because we flirt and talk a lot. But when we’re in person, the thing changes, and I can’t act like when we’re texting. How do I make our in-person conversations as fun and exciting as our texts?
I want to start by saying this isn’t a dumb question. Don’t go to brunch and rail about “the dumb girl who wrote into HeTexted and got posted on PGP” because you’re probably going to be sitting with a friend who has the same problem. Maybe she’s not struggling with texting a guy for two years, but instead it’s a friend request that came out of nowhere, or a “:)” after a late night hook up, and now she’s wondering whether those things mean anything at all. It only takes one “that’s dumb” girl to make everyone else feel uncomfortable and stop them from having the conversation. I should actually be thanking “that’s dumb” girl because she’s the reason I have the pleasure of writing this. There are more girls with questions than the girls willing to write those questions off as dumb. The “that’s dumb” girl wants a brunch conversation to be about how many people from the wedding party can fit in the trolley at her upcoming 200 person affair. And, to me, trolleys are dumb. So thank you, “that’s dumb” girl.
This question is very common. It’s always some variation of “he texted that he likes me but doesn’t act like it” or “we used to text all the time and now it’s kind of cooled off.” These are all normal questions since texting is really so new. Our parents never had to wonder what a “sureeee….” text meant. That “sureeee….” could mean anything from “sure I’d go out with you since you’re my mom’s type, whatevs” to “sure lets get drinks and probably make out and have trolley weddings and babies.” There’s just too much to dissect in one misspelled word and three little dots. The whole thing is confusing and there’s no elder shoulder to look to for love and protection. We can only look to our right and left and see other confused 20-year-old faces. And one of them might have a wedding she’s planning. Well, that’s why I’m here. I am not going to judge because I’m somewhat anonymous, and as a single guy in his 20s, I’m in the same confusing place.
What we often forget is how easy it is to text ANYTHING. Think about it. You can write out a text, send it away, then turn the phone over because you’ll look in 15 minutes, then forget he ever existed. Take the words “I miss you.” I’ve written these words over text way more than I’ve ever said them. You know why? Because when you say them face to face there are immediate consequences: your face, her face, your tone, her response, your shirt that might have a stain, her jacket that’s way too heavy for this time of year, the time between “I miss yous,” farting. It’s all there and the weight of the room hangs on three words: I. Miss. You. That “I miss you” as a text had none of those pressures. Just you, ABC’s The Bachelor, Chris Harrison’s sultry voice, and the phone you’ll check in 15 minutes.
The other issue, especially for this person, is that we text like the person we want to be and often not who we are. Just take a five minute look at all your social media platforms and this will make sense. Your Instagram pics are a little too tan, your Facebook updates a little too agreeable, and your tweets a little too inspirational. With text we have time to form language to sound like a movie script we would write for ourselves. A little more cool. A little more witty. A little more sexy. So, the easy answer is to stop texting emotion. I know it sounds weird, but emotions are meant for in person. That’s why a phone can’t shed a tear and people type “HAHA” even though they’re just smirking.
This person has spent two years acting like someone she isn’t and believing the crap that this guy is sending. If I’m her, I make all future texts about getting together in person. You need to stop this cycle of illusion that your texts are perpetuating and make this about getting better as two people communicating in the flesh. Send a text that says, “Hey I’m busy this week but next week lets do drinks.” He will either make a plan or an excuse. If it’s an excuse then say “Sounds good. Let me know when you’re ready.” Then stop texting. I know this is tough and ballsy but it would be even worse to go a third year not knowing. All of my “dudestincts” (dude instincts) tell me that there is something up. If this guy can’t speak to you like he texts then he either has another girl, he’s gay, or he thinks you’re not in his league. All of those assumptions make him sound like an ass but the only other option is “shy” which is the actual excuse 1% of the time that girls try to make 90% of the time. Don’t believe what you read, text to make a plan, and if this guy can’t at least have drinks then he’ll never be the guy you share a trolley with.