The 7 Unwritten Rules of Texting

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Whenever you have a new gentleman caller in your life, you’re forced to communicate with him … and it’s kind of the worst. Sure, it can be ridiculously exciting. You keep your phone in your hand at all times, even while sleeping, because you never know when he’ll deign to contact you. You ask 4-6 of your closest friends if it’s best to end the text with a period or an exclamation point. You text 10+ of your buddies to figure out what “See you later,” really, truly means.

It’s funny because when you text one of your girls and don’t hear back, you just assume that she’s busy, and feel completely free to double, triple, even quadruple text her, without worrying that she’ll think you’ve suddenly transformed into a murderous psychopath. If you don’t hear back from a boy toy, you automatically assume that he’s either a. hooking up with a hard 10 smoke show super model in a v. public place or b. dead, which means you should probably call the police immediately.

When you’re in the midst of an hours long texting sesh and you’re not quite sure if you’re on your way to becoming a midnight booty call or a Facebook official relationship, it’s guaranteed that you’ll over think literally every single thing you send, from the emoji down to the punctuation. Suddenly, you’re caught in a mind game so deep that you’ll even read into a text that literally says, “Hey.” Before you go too deep down the rabbit hole of a text romance, here are 7 rules to keep in mind.

1. Be. So. Chill.

You need to convince this dude you’re basically the least high-maintenance chickadee on planet Earth. He doesn’t need to know that you’re “not a beer girl,” or that you exclusively eat organic, locally sourced kale. You are a cool girl. You drink beer, you love sports, and you don’t care if he’s out with his bros, shotgunning beers and picking up slams left and right. That’s his prerogative, because you’re the most chill. You know how sometimes you’re making out with someone new, and there’s something you just have to tell them? If you texted last, you’ll just have to contain yourself until it’s time. Whoever wins your texting exchange is the one who cares the least, so start giving 0.

2. Wait at least 24 hours/the rest of your life before you text him back.

This is my favorite trick. Why do we think that a boy will want us more if we wait a couple hundred years to answer his, “Hey” text? Sure, we do need to consult everyone we’ve ever met re: concocting the response that will make him propose immediately, ensuring the Pinterest perfect wedding of your deepest, darkest fantasies. Obviously, you don’t want to be the cling-on who won’t stop texting (although, full disclosure, we’ve all been there), but if you wait a week to respond he won’t imagine that you’re living the most fabulous life ever, he’ll just assume that you’re getting it in without him.

3. Use every emoji in your arsenal.

There’s nothing a boy likes more than getting every emoji you have available. I suggest turning to your recently used, so you can show him that one day, you’ll just be two dancing ballerinas (after the diamond ring and hair flip girl emoji, of course). Why use words at all when emojis exist?

4. Proofread every single message like you’re writing your senior thesis.

Of course you don’t want a million errors, because Auto Correct can create some super epic fails, but this is a text that probably says something like, “My weekend was great! What did you get up to?” It doesn’t require the eyes of everyone you’ve ever met, including your middle school English teacher.

5. The later at night he texts you, the more in love with you he is.

Have you started expecting messages after midnight exclusively? Don’t worry, it’s not because your suitor just wants to hit it and quit it. Everyone knows that getting together at night is just more romantic. After all, there’s nothing that says “friend zone” quite like a Tuesday afternoon coffee date … and nothing that says romance quite like, “u up?”

6. Use all the LOLZ.

He needs to know that you think he’s really, really funny. Sure, you might not actually be laughing out loud, but he’ll never know that (unless he’s creeping on you from outside your apartment, but that’s just next level). Plus, not using an occasional “haha” will make you sound so serious, and no one wants that. If they did, Cosmo would be out business, because they are basically a Bible that teaches you how to be fun and flirty.

7. If he waits 2 years to text back, it’s true love — and you should start planning your wedding immediately.

Look, you might hesitate if your love interest of the moment texts you, but at the end of the day you actually want to talk to him … which means that you will respond. There are limited activities that boys are involved in that incapacitate them for many hours (eating Taco Bell, playing video games, spending *alone* time with their computers). Other than that, whoever you’re texting probably has his phone on his person at all times. If he’s not texting you back in a timely manner at least sometimes, it’s because he just doesn’t care as much as you (I’m sorry, someone had to tell you, please get ice cream and vodka immediately). Your friends might come up with excuses and tell you he’s obviously just the most busy, but the truth is, if he wants to get it in, he’ll holler at you. Keep that in mind, respond before the next century, pop a Xany to remain calm, and remember that if he actually likes you, the exclamation point you used won’t even matter.

Follow Margaret here.

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