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I feel like — generally speaking — I am in touch with current dating habits of the millennial demographic. After all, I am indeed a millennial who has a proclivity for going on dates, so you’d think I have at least half a finger on the romantic pulse of my generation. Clearly, however, I have a blind spot.
Since I started writing three months ago, I have received a multitude of inquiries about dating from readers. In fact, save for the one guy that asked me for book recommendations (shouts to you, dude), that’s honestly the only thing people email me about.
Most of the logistical dating concerns or romantic pickles people find themselves in are right up my alley. I can absolutely relate.
What I will never understand, however, is the continuous texting games so many of my peers seem to be engaging in. One reader aptly called it “texting-chicken.” Forgive me if this comes off harsh, but know that I’m writing from a place of love, and quite frankly, concern.
If you find yourself, on a weekly basis, overanalyzing messages or using texting as a manipulative tool in some strategic dating game – stop it right now.
I hereby declare any and all participation in any mind games, (whether it be in your own head or done unto others) via texting banned from our collective action. I have had it with the insanity that is the game of texting Battleship people today have become so ridiculously obsessed with. You know what’s great about Battleship? You have no fucking idea what’s going on in the other person’s side, so you just guess and blow things up. Do we think that is also an ideal strategy for communicating in a new relationship? No, probably not.
We all know dating today is not the same as the dating landscape of yore. It is not the 1940s and while I fear padded shoulders may somehow make a return, antiquated dating habits will not. No longer are we waiting by our landlines for him to call exactly three days after a date to the local town fair, nor are we baking pies and leaving them by doorsteps as an indication of affection.
Women propose to men, people elicit threesomes on dating apps, emotional intelligence has never been a sexier quality, and… we have iPhones. The dating game has been flipped on its head and, while texting mind games were cute for a while, I would prefer they be extinguished as quickly as they were invented.
Also, guys, if you think you’re off the hook here – you’re not. I’m putting everyone on notice and for good reason. We’re all culprits. Hell, I was probably a culprit at some stage too. But I’m saying “adios” to wasting perfectly good brain cells on the analysis of little blue text bubbles and if I have any say, you are too.
From here on out, if you want to text a person you text them.
Do you hear me? Do not wait a certain amount of days, do not concern yourself with who texted last, and certainly do not use the space between texts as an indicator of a person’s interest. There are a lot of ways to tell if someone likes you, and losing sleep over whether or not she’s into you because she didn’t send a goodnight text like normal is about as insane as the reality show host running our country.
Here are some examples of inquiries I have received on the matter. You’ll see what I mean.
“CMV, I went on a really really good date with a guy from my church group and we texted all day on Thursday and Friday, but today is Monday and I haven’t heard anything. I’m afraid he’s dating other people.”
– Ash from Missouri
Ash. Ash, Ash, Ash. While guys you met in your church group may be one of very few demographics of men I do not know well, I will assume similar dating rules apply.
You went on one date! If you think he is seeing other people, then he probably is and he may continue to do so until you tell him that you’re not okay with it. So, what I need you to do instead of lying in bed panicking all night is take out your phone and text him right now. Better yet, call him? Say you had an awesome time with him last week and were wondering if he wants to go out on a second date. If you like him and want to see him again, you probably need to ask him as much, right? What if he’s lying in bed wondering the same thing? Text him now, there is no need to wait for him to initiate. Be clear, be concise and, dear god, do not drag it out with a slew of memes. Memes are for relationships and FWBs only.
Hey there! Quick question. So the date I went on with this girl last week (the one with the BYOB place you suggested) went down really well. I think she’s as into me as I’m into her? Either way I want to see her again, but here’s the thing. I texted her on Monday and we chatted but I said the last thing. Now it’s Thursday and I haven’t heard anything. Should I text her again or should I kind of play it cool and wait for her to text me?
– BJ from LA
BJ, open your phone right now and type the following text: “Hey! Just checking in. I’m still up for that second date if you are. Any plans for Saturday?” then close your phone and go about your life. What is the worst thing that happens? She says no? If she says no, you two should not be dating anyway because she’s not interested. BJ, I can promise you, sending a second follow-up text three days later actually is playing it cool. Waiting for her to respond to look cool is not.
Victoria, help! I went on a really good third date with this grad student at my University. We’ve been feeling each other for sure, but he’s pretty noncommittal. I feel like he’s maybe not as interested in me as I am in him. He’s super forward when we’re together, but then won’t text me for a few days. What does that mean? Should I wait for him to text me to force him to put in some effort?
– A from NYC
A, you went on a third date with this guy so clearly things are progressing. Get out of your head right now and text him “good morning.” I can tell you one thing, waiting for him to text you “to force him to put in some effort” is a mind game that will literally drive you to lunacy, and forcing someone to do anything after three dates is not a good thing. The only thing worse than overanalyzing texts is overanalyzing lack of texts. You need to text him and either a) ask if he wants to get dinner soon so you can tell him how you feel or b) straight up text him and ask how he feels about the relationship. (Also, just FYI, I see nothing wrong with a phone call after three dates).
Now, I want to be clear. I totally understand the nerves If a date goes well and you want it to progress, the last thing you want to do is ruin it via text. But such is life friends. Sometimes we’re going to swing and miss.
In these moments, when the panic starts to take hold that they haven’t responded in two days, or you wonder why he hasn’t texted you that he “had a great night” it is imperative you take a deep breath, pull on your big kid pants, and reach the fuck out.
“Hey, I had a really nice date last week. I was wondering if you wanted to do it again,” is a hell of a lot sexier than “Hiii?”
And what’s the only thing worse than “Hiii?” 14 days after a needless texting standoff? Snapchat as communication with a date.
That, however, deserves an entire column of its own. .