I got this question via Autostraddle message:
I went to a party. I met this beautiful lady. We didn’t talk much, but we DID spend a decent amount of time making out and dancing. Her friends showed up and we parted ways, but exchanged numbers. I asked her to text me and she said she would. I met her on a Saturday and now it’s Tuesday.
Should I text her? Should I give up waiting for her to text me?
Ah, the age old question. Before this it was “When do I call?” Before that? I’m not sure — when is the appropriate time to send a letter via horse drawn carriage? With all the effort taken out of our distance communication, it’s hard to know what comes off as “too eager” or “too blasé” or how we’re being read when really all someone else is getting is some words on a screen with no vocal inflection. Ah, the tyranny of ease.
We’ve all heard this advice:
Now I’m gonna add my advice to the mix. Normally I answer mostly questions about sex, but I am qualified to answer this question, I think, because I wooed my incredibly talented and wonderful girlfriend through a combination of text-based communications (we met online) and face-to-face encounters (we did not stay online).
Waiting is a bummer. Waiting means you’re not doing other things—you’re devoting your precious mental energy to legitimately watching for something to happen that maybe will happen or maybe won’t happen. Waiting implies inaction. And frankly, it’s been quite a few days and for any number of reasons it sounds like this person isn’t going to text you. That could mean that she’s shy. It could mean she’s not into you other than being a one-time dance floor make-out buddy. It could mean she was drunk and doesn’t remember telling you she’d text. It could mean she didn’t take you seriously when you said to text her because she thinks you’re not into her other than being a one-time dance floor make-out buddy. The big thing here is you don’t know her, but waiting for her to text is clearly not doing you any good.
You can’t focus your mind and make her text. You only have control over your fingers.
So what does that mean, exactly? It means if you want to speak to this woman again, text her. But—
Text When You Have Something To Say
When you have a thing to say to the person whose number you have, text that person that thing. It has to be a thing of substance. Please never just text “hey.” Or “hello.” And then offer no other things in said text message. How does someone respond to that? And the tough thing is that, because it’s text with no vocal inflection, the reader is then left to infer a ton of things about you/what you mean. So what does that one word text really communicate?
a) you can’t think of anything to say.
b) you haven’t put any effort into that text message, so you really super don’t care about the outcome.
c) you’re nervous! You care a lot about the outcome and you don’t want to sound doofy.
d) you have no idea whose phone number this is and you’re hoping you will now find out.
e) one million other interpretations.
But really, all the one word text message does is make it super hard for her to text you back if she wants to, because there’s nothing to go on. So ignore the timeline rules — if you want to get to know a person and you have their phone number, text when you have a real thing to say to them.
So the question is, do you have a real thing to say to this lovely ladygay? I think you probably do, because it sounds like you had a really badass time drinking, dancing and making out with her.
In your case, this is the language I recommend starting with—
“I had a really great time meeting you and dancing with you on Saturday.”
And now we’re gonna tack things on to that.
For The Love of Lesbian Jesus, Use NAMES
You mention in your letter (in a bit that I edited out) that alcohol was involved in this magical evening. I dunno about you, but I am bad with names even when I’m as sober as a judge. And if I’d been drinking and dancing and out with friends? Well I personally DEFINITELY didn’t put your name in my phone.
Also consider using her name, if you know it. That shows that you, you know, remember her.
So let’s amend the above text to—
“Hello [insert her name here]! It’s [insert your name here] from that badass party. I had a really great time meeting you and dancing with you on Saturday.”
But check this: that text is still really hard to respond to. Because what would you say to that? Me too? You’re super cool? Those are valid options, but I’m a big fan of the following tactic—
Set Yourself Up For Further Conversation By Asking a Question
What’s the goal of this text that you’re about to send? Would you like to get to know her via screen-based handheld communication devices (as in, do you want to keep texting for a while?). Did you want to get together again in person, maybe this time with more talking? Are you hoping for more make out sessions at dances but not more than that? Your desired end result will determine the next portion of your text message.
Questions make responding really easy! There is a real thing that you really want to know and that she might have an answer to. It is a suggestion for the next topic y’all are gonna text about (or talk about with your facemeats).
If you want to keep texting, try tacking on something like: “How do you know [insert host of party's name here]?” Or literally any other question about any other detail of that awesome Saturday.
If you want to get together in person, perhaps write: “I think you’re pretty cool. Wanna grab coffee soon?”
If you want to make out at the next party: “Are you gonna hit up [insert name of party here] next Saturday? Highly recommend.”
Be Cool If You Don’t Get a Response
After all this, she may not text you back. And that’s okay. It just means she has nothing to say to you for about a million reasons. Sometimes people say they’re going to text and then they don’t because it feels far more appropriate to tell the little white lie in a social situation where you don’t want to be a downer, ya know? So if she doesn’t text you back:
a) don’t keep texting her. Because that is not cool. Let her do her. You do you.
b) pat yourself on the back. You took a risk today. You are braver than most people, who are still willing their phones to buzz with the sheer force of their hope.
c) don’t base your self-worth on whether or not this woman texts you. I’m serious! We all take rejection personally and that’s not a super productive thing to do with rejection, especially when it comes to inter-personal stuff. Rejection just lets us know what’s up with no wasted time/energy, so re-frame it as a positive (“okay, now I know for sure”). Following this reframe, Riese and Laneia both recommend that you read a book in a meadow. I heartily concur. Here are a few recommendations for that activity.
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