Jared Freid (@jtrain56) is a comedian and one of the “Bros” at HeTexted.com. HeTexted is a site where girls can get advice on the texts they receive from guys. Every Thursday on PostGradProblems 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 Jared or any of the other Bros that fit your particular situation.
Q: Hi Jared, I met this guy and we went on a date and had fun. I’m always the one to initiate the texts. We have another date set up, but I’m the one who is always starting the conversation. Does that stuff matter?
A: Every question I get at HeTexted includes a line like one of the following:
“He never initiates the texts.”
“He always initiates the texts.”
“He went 3,276 seconds between texts and I blinked 4,345 times during that time. How many blinks is too many?”
Texting turned girls into sabermetrics freaks who only care about numbers. How many times a guy texts first or how long it takes him to get back to you have become the only things girls trust when they’re trying to decide whether or not a guy cares. I get it. Texting has no tone, so we look for anything concrete to give us comfort. You might think, “He texts first so things are good…even though our relationship has no label and he only fist bumps me in public.” The seconds it takes to respond and how the conversation starts has to matter, right? If it doesn’t, you’re left to wonder and read between the lines–which could leave you locked in your apartment crying to Lifetime movies all day.
I call this “keeping score,” and it’s very common for the reason I just explained–it gives us the comfort of facts. The issue is, if you’re keeping score then you’re probably chasing someone who isn’t as into you as you are into him or her. After a week of texting with someone, you know that person’s deal. You know how long he or she usually takes, how forthright he or she is to have conversation, how long his or her “…” stays on the screen. These subtle “text tones” feel crazy to notice, but I guess that means everyone needs a straight jacket. I live by the motto that if you feel something is wrong, then you’re right.
Think of texting with a prospective guy like a conversation at a bar. You would never keep score in that situation. You’d never finish talking to a guy and then tell your friends it went well because “he created the topics every time.” That wouldn’t just be weird, it would also be behind the times. You’re a woman in 2014 who votes and makes sure her vodka soda is made with Ketel, and now you’re playing the damsel who needs her conversation topics served? That’s a little ridiculous. Hell, look at the other side of the issue: I’ve never talked to my guy friends about how “I’m always texting this chick first so she knows I’m into her,” then high fiving everyone because of the tidal wave of BJs coming my way.
My advice for anyone who is continually keeping score is to stop communicating with this guy. If you can’t even have a comfortable conversation via text, where everything can be written and rewritten, then your situation is worse than “he’s just bad at texting.” If you wonder when you should text or what you should say, the answer is always “do it now” and “say whatever you want.” If a guy thinks you got back to him too quickly or said something wrong, then he’s just looking for reasons to not hook up with you. I’ve never ended something because of a text a girl sent me–instead, it’s because of a text I’m sending another girl.
Jared Freid is a comedian and HeTexted “Bro” based in NYC. You can ask him dating questions at HeTexted.com or find him on Twitter (@JTrain56) for weekly columns, podcasts, and videos.