B is Hilarious: What She’s Doing When She’s Not Texting You Back

Welcome to B is Hilarious, a new column in which Brittani Nichols is hilarious.


I’ve always felt good at texting. I’m a much more successful flirt via the written word than I am in face-to-face interactions, but every now and then I end up involved with someone that doesn’t like texting that much for whatever reason. We won’t get into those right now *cough* a threat to their independence *cough* but you know the type. This is all to say, I have a thing about people texting me back. It makes me feel special and prioritized and when someone doesn’t, I feel the exact opposite to a terrifying extent. They should make up a sixth love language that’s just Texting Back in a Polite Amount of Time.

Now if being one of those people that gets annoyed if someone doesn’t text back isn’t bad enough, I also used to catastrophize. That means if I hadn’t heard from someone in whatever amount of time I’d deemed an absurd period to not have responded, I assumed something terrible had happened. Usually that they were dead. The times terrible things actually were the culprit for someone not responding to my texts, I handled it pretty well because I’d already been thinking that possibly the person was dead! It’s like, look at me being emotionally prepared! Rarely am I emotionally prepared! Things I haven’t been emotionally prepared for recently: McDonald’s only serving fried apple pies. Having my tire pressure light come one. Seeing cute girls in trees. THE LIST GOES ON.

Now I’ve gotten better at chilling out about people not getting back to me in whatever random time window I’ve decided on. I’ve gone from always assuming that it’s a physical disaster to rarely thinking it’s an emotional one. Especially if the person I’m texting is a woman I like.

Truth be told, I hadn’t googled “what does it mean if they don’t text me back?” I’ve gotten better at holding off on an emotional panic as well by coming up with different fun scenarios a crush could be enjoying instead of texting me back. Here’s an example of what this timeline is usually like.


1-3 hours of no response

Eh. This isn’t a big deal. They might be taking a very long shower that’s furthering California’s drought emergency but that’s ok, she deserves it. Don’t judge her, she just wants to be clean for when she eventually texts you back. Or maybe she’s taking a nap? Well, not taking a nap… fell asleep. Because she’s considerate and if she was planning on taking a nap in the middle of this very important conversation about who has the better taco truck by their apartment, she’d have let you know!


3-5 hours of no response

Oh, this is fine. She probably went to see the new Kristen Stewart movie or something. Maybe after there was a surprise cast Q&A with K-Stew! I can’t wait to ask her about it. Oh man, what if they like bumped into each other after it was done and K-Stew likes her! She does sort of look like her type. Oh my God, am I about to get swooped by Kristen Stewart! Is there a way to frame that as a win for me?! No, no. This is silly. She’s probably working or something. I get caught up in work all the time. I mean, sometimes I know I’m going to be W.O.R.K.I.N.G. and I turn off my phone. But if I’m in the middle of talking to someone I tell them that because I’m not an asshole, you know?


5-7 hours of no response

Ok, here’s the thing. I exist in this modern world and I can tell you this much. There’s no way I’m not texting SOMEONE or checking SOMETHING for this long. So that means if for some reason she only has like a couple of minutes to talk because she’s sooooo busy with her “job” and/or her “life,” she’s decided to talk to someone other than me. Guess we know where I stand! That’s fine. You know what I’m gonna do? Message your friend that I have no interest in but that clearly has a crush on me! Bet she doesn’t take six hours to respond to a Very Funny text message.


7-8 hours of no response

I so genuinely don’t care what she’s doing I don’t even like her I mean whatever I have options but if the goddesses have forsaken me and by chance I see that she’s faved a tweet or liked a picture on Instagram, I’m gonna lose my shit.


8+ hours of no response

I mean, what are you even doing? Did you run off to get married to Adam Levine OR WORSE, an ex-boyfriend. Have you deleted me from your phone? Did you run into one of my exes and they didn’t say anything bad about me, they just talked about how I’m a motherfucking delight and now you can’t move forward with me because if me and that ex didn’t work out, you no longer believe in love? WHAT HAPPENED? WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHERE ARE YOU? I THOUGHT THAT TEXT WAS FUNNY. SHOULD I HAVE PUT A QUESTION MARK? DID YOU NOT REALIZE IT WARRANTED A RESPONSE?!?

Now you may be asking, “Well how does it end? Do people always respond? Do they have excuses? What were they doing?” And I have to tell you this, my friend: I DON’T KNOW. They probably are just unaware that any one person would ever care that much about if they weighed in on a joke about mulitas that, upon further inspection, isn’t THAT good. Usually what happens is people will just start a different conversation as if nothing happened or I’ll break and send some nonsense emoji like a fucking tomato or those two random ass fish on a flag and then everything is fine and they don’t realize that any of this happened because it was all in my head. At this very moment a girl I like hasn’t texted me back in two hours. What’s she doing? I don’t know. Living her life probably. I’m definitely fine though and not worried about it all.

P.S. I have heard straight people talk about how after a date they will not text someone for multiple days even though they like them. Heterosexuals are straight up psychos.


Brittani Nichols is a Los Angeles based comedy person. When she's not tweeting about white people or watching television, she's probably eating pizza. Actually, she's probably doing all three of those things concurrently and when she's not doing THAT, she's sleeping. Brittani also went to Yale and feels weird about mentioning it but wants you to know.

Brittani has written 330 articles for us.

114 Comments

  1. BRITTANI I NEEDED THIS SO BADLY RIGHT NOW.

    I’m exactly like you. I literally do not comprehend people who don’t text back within a reasonable amount of time. Do they not walk places? Do they live in a world without commercials? Does water boil instantly on their planet? THESE ARE ALL PRIME TEXTING OPPORTUNITIES. I’m not asking for a novel, just a quick text to acknowledge my existence and the fact that I was thoughtful enough to ask you how your paper/show/party/game/interview went.

    Is there a point at which you say “Okay, this girl clearly doesn’t care about me as much as I care about her, I should just end this right now because I have more pride than this?”

    • “I’m exactly like you. I literally do not comprehend people who don’t text back within a reasonable amount of time. Do they not walk places? Do they live in a world without commercials? Does water boil instantly on their planet? THESE ARE ALL PRIME TEXTING OPPORTUNITIES.”

      this is so real

  2. I like talking to people, but I hate the physical act of texting. I don’t even have big fingers and I don’t consider myself particularly clumsy, yet I still hit the wrong letters all the time. I nap sometimes, too, and I go on long walks with my dogs and don’t want to stop every few minutes to check my phone. That said, I’ll respond to a text as quickly as I can, and if I’m in the middle of a conversation with someone I’ll certainly tell them I’m leaving for a while!

  3. I used to be this person, and then I started dating someone who did not text people back. And I have to tell you that if you can calm down, this gets better.

    So first, my current gf would not text me back for like a day or more, and I decided that it was fine. She admitted that this was a thing she did to everyone, she just didn’t want to feel like she was constantly tethered to other people’s whims.

    Eventually we went on a few dates, and she gave me her tumblr url and then we messaged on there, and she usually responded quickly when we did. And then when we were hanging out for like most of the days of the week, I got to watch her read texts from other people and then throw her phone out of sight because she was ignoring them to hang out with me. I was anxious in dealing with this at first, but I calmed down and realized that she just had a different approach to things.

    GF definitely made time for me and I learned to not feel so self conscious about her lack of response. Now we’ve been together for 3 and a half years and everything is dandy. Also we live in the same house so mostly we don’t have to text eachother except like “do you want anything at the grocery store?”, “did you see that thing about k-stew kissing girls?’, and “look at this selfie of me and the dog”.

    Everything will be okay anxious humans.

  4. I do not enjoy texting. It makes me feel like I’m 11 and some relative I don’t even like sent me a birthday card and I’m supposed to call and thank them but I keep putting it off and all of the sudden it’s seven months later and I still think about it every day but it’s too late now.

  5. This is too close to home. I am this person to a tee. I think it represents insecurity in my relationships that comes from my own insecurities about me first.

    Hell, I only recently started getting over the thought that no one really likes me and my friends are just tolerating me because it’d be rude not to.

  6. I once briefly dated a girl who told me about consulting her friend about how long she should wait to text me back. I was like WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU IT IS SUMMER IT IS THE WEEKEND I HAVE TO GO WORK IN TWO DAYS DO YOU WANT TO EAT ICE CREAM AND MAKE OUT OR WHAT. WAITING DOES NOT MAKE ME THINK YOU LIKE ME MORE.

    and then we stopped dating and now she’s married, and whatever.

    • because I am also this person, however, if somebody does not text me back, I cannot stop myself from sending them like 8 text messages about hi it was nice to meet you do you want to have a picnic. I don’t know how anybody has the restraint not to.

        • holy shit, have you ever sent that text and then gotten a “ha ha sorry I fell in love over the weekend while I was not texting you, best of luck…” ? I have gotten that a couple of times. It is both gratifying to have a conclusion and also mortifying.

        • we could still form a low key group of like minded individuals to practice text impulse control restraint modification and feedback on our lack of text impulse control “because immediate text acknowledgement and feedback is everything” in a safe non judgemental space. We’d need a group name for ourselves: recovering text me back immediately folk anonymous – whenever is convenient for you… (ffs don’t leave me hanging?)

          aka Please text me back within 8 hours because that is reasonable, right?

          Instant communication is the sixth human need, people, after food shelter water clothing um the fifth one

    • I try to play hard to get. I’m not good at it when I really like someone, and it annoys me. So I do the whole compulsive texting thing where I just can’t stop the word vomit and then I freak out and try to wait a large amount of time after a girl texts me so I don’t appear too desperate or weird.
      I want to nail it down to a science but I have yet to nail it down to a science and it’s so obnoxious.
      When I don’t REALLY like somebody and I’m just dating them because I’m bored I will take years to text a person back. That makes them pretty bitter.

      • This is me to a T right now. I actually know why I haven’t heard back in a week and am cool with the reason, but not cool enough that I’m not actively trying to avoid sending the girl a text filled with excited word vomit…

  7. YES OMG MY LIFE.
    I have rapidly switching thoughts between “OMG why has she not texted me back!??!” and “How fucking awesome is it that she’s not tied to her phone?!?!”
    It’s a struggle.

    • I wish I were that cool. Depending on how much I like the girl, my thoughts alternate between “why hasn’t she texted me? Did I miss a signal somewhere? Maybe I should text her. Should I text her?” and “it’s ok, she’ll text me eventually… right?”

    • These are not mutually exclusive qualities. Wanting to be like her and being able to be intimate with her are in the same world, really. Good things take time, but updates are welcomed.

  8. I’ve gone on four dates with this girl that is the worst at texting. She takes forever to respond, like days, never initiates texting conversations. When we are together, she is totally present and very into me, but you would never know that by the texting. It has been difficult to get used to. When we were saying goodbye after her last date, I teasingly said “maybe you could text me sometime” and she said she would. It has been since Saturday, and no text. I am trying to hold out until she texts me, but my resolve is weakening. Maybe I’ll send her the fish on the flag emoji.

  9. When I was wooing my current person I set up a very strict texting schedule for myself, ie, ‘you can text her on this day, at this time… you have to let her send the last text and then make her wait blah blah blah’.

    And often I get so nervous about sending flirty texts that I send them and then turn my phone off for the rest of the afternoon because it’s too terrifying to deal with the response.

    Anyway, my resolve to send only a limited number of texts at particular times totally crumbled after one day and I stopped counting the texts once we had exchanged about 150 messages in the space of 3 hours. And that was before our first date! Needless to say that it all totes worked out for the best.

    Do you know what’s even worse than waiting for a text response? waiting for a goddam mother flipping reply to a letter. that shit can take WEEKS!

  10. Is it weird that I almost got teary reading this because I am in THIS EXACT SITUATION and all of your comments gave me hope? Like I want to reach through my computer and hug everyone, or better yet I want to send you all prompt replies to your texts.

    Is there a Golden Rule about how many times to initiate texts before giving up?

    • nope. I wish I could give you universally consistent, safe, sage, tried and true guidelines, but there are none. Some people are just better communicating honestly and immediately in real time in person. This is what I’d do: Call their bluff in real time in person if you can handle whatever their response might be, from acceptance and enthusiasm, to ambivalence, non forthcomingness, to outright rejection. it is not easy my friend.

  11. This girl texted me twenty minutes ago telling me she had a question for me and she hasn’t replied since. WHAT IS YOUR QUESTION DID I DO SOMETHING WRONG YOU I ONLY TOOK FOUR MINUTES TO REPLY DID YOU FORGET WHAT YOU WERE GOING TO ASK THAT QUICKLY

  12. THANK YOU. Because basically ALL MY FRIENDS are people who are not too fussed about texting and will sometimes just leave me hanging in the middle of a conversation and that is the end of our chat. I DON’T GET IT UGH. I wish I had someone who liked texting all the time but also last time that happened she was extremely clingy and it didn’t end well. WHY IS IT ALWAYS ONE OR THE OTHER???

    Clearly I have a lot of strong feelings about this.

  13. Seriously. This is what I dislike about dating in the digital age. It’s suppose to make communication easier, not more complicated. Gah! /so not obviously bitter about this.

  14. ah haha so i am simultaneously the “why didn’t you text me back within a couple of hours is it because you hate me is it because you’re dead?” type AND the “ugh i don’t really want to write an entire sentence with my thumb right now (or) ever honestly so i’ll just ignore this text message from this person who i actually genuinely like” type AND the person who will call in response to a text message just because i feel like it. i basically have all of the text messaging personality flaws and hate that it is a part of dating at all.

  15. er, sorry, I’m probably reading a book. I do it while eating, hanging around the house, smoking, sometimes while playing video games, even when I’m walking.

    And I keep my phone on silent. Because this book will not read itself.

      • whenever i lose my phone and somebody is like “should i call it?” i’m like, uh, nope, we’re just gonna have to forage! because my ringer is never on. i’m actually not sure if it’s ever been on, even for a brief period of time. if i’m like, expecting food delivery, i might put it on vibrate. MAYBE.

      • i don’t remember the name of it! it’s the one where penny and max start drinking illegal offbrand nyquil to drug themselves so they won’t text their significant others and thus maintain the ~power~ in the relationship? anyways that’s probably a really good way to quell anxieties re: not having texted back, “they’re probably just drugging themselves as a manipulative power play.”

  16. Im feeling really optimistic about the future of the new “B is Hilarious” column Im really glad this exists now. The sending of a random emoji to elicit a response is so real I do this more often than not and almost immediately regret it every time but this is the only way of life I know now. Also I have a lot of questions about the mysterious tree girls the first being why and the second being how??

  17. Guys, so sorry but I am also a person who can take hours to text back. Especially if you are a girl I’m into and you just texted something hilarious. Then the pressure is on me to say something funny and the longer I wait the funnier it has to be until the point it’s too late to even respond to the funny thing you said and I should just write something casual, but not stupid, maybe invite you over to watch Game of Thrones, or did you hate that series, better check your facebook first to see if you mentioned anything about that show ever, now it’s too late to text you anyway, maybe tomorrow…

    • This. The pressure to respond with an equally or more funny text cripples me sometimes and when I have thought of a reply … it is much later. So I normally text something kind of immediate in order to acknowledge the joke but compromise on the funniness of my text. I hate that. So lame.

    • Actually as a girl who gets really anxious when not recieving a text, I feel that it is never too late to get a response, and once I get a response, I just feel so relieved that they seemed to like that stupid joke, doesn’t matter if it is 8 hours later. (But that could also be because I always make up excuses for others, like: she is probably busy with homework and turned off her phone, or she is in a busy street and didn’t hear etc.)

  18. As soon as I read the heading for this post (“a new column in which Brittani Nichols is hilarious”), I became very happy. This is exciting news! I don’t know you, but your sense of humor is always so relevant and perfect.

    I admit it, I can be a text-procrastinator. “What if I say the wrong thing? What if I don’t communicate right? What if …” But then, at the same time, I worry when others don’t text me. Yes, it’s a double standard.

  19. Ugh. I fudgin’ love this. 1) It’s a new column by Brittani Nichols and 2) It’s everything.

    I’m really good at needing lots of attention via text/fb/email/love letters. I think it may be my super power.

  20. Or you can just call? 🙂 I’m definitely that person who takes forever to write and i really didn’t use to be that way. I think what happened is I waited for so long and so desperately for certain people to write me back that i had to force myself to ignore my phone cause people have lives.. and i have one to. Also, I think it’s somewhat rude to be texting when you’re hanging out w someone or straight up pick up the phone and have an entire conversation (and not just say sorry, busy, can’t talk, ttyl!). So, don’t get anxious, she probs likes you but is unable to speak at the moment. Also, sometimes, you just don’t know what to write back. Esp if you like the person.

  21. Most likely, when people take over a day to text you back (and they haven’t lost their phone), it’s because they just don’t care. Rather than fret I suggest you move on to the next.

  22. I frequently don’t respond til texts for hours/days because I read the message, can’t/don’t want to respond at that exact moment, and then forget that it ever happened. Then eventually I re-open my inbox and see that I have a bunch of texts that I owe people. Oops.

    Or I set my phone down, walk out of the room, and forget that it exists for ages.

    BUT these things almost never happen if I’m texting someone I ~like~, so.

  23. NO BUT GUYS we learned about those fish on a flag in my 5th grade Japan unit. They’re called Koinobori and they’re wind socks used to celebrate Children’s Day. (Though for the record I have never lived in Japan and this was a good seven years ago, so I apologize if my information is inaccurate.)

  24. I tend to check my phone just once a day … when I turn off the alarm buzzer in the morning … because that’s what my phone is mostly used for – an alarm clock. And come to think of it, I don’t really c h e c k the phone, I just hit the stop button to end the annoying alarm…
    Am I doing something wrong?

  25. This is so perfect!! I am definitely the kind of person that REALLY appreciates people who text back in a reasonable amount of time. Recently I was waiting to hear back about when a date was going to happen, it took a WHOLE WEEK! A week later they texted me at 4 in the morning. The fuck? seriously. who does that????

  26. This is such a problem for me, but with emailing a friend! The time periods are a little diffetent, but if she doesn’t respind for a few days, I think she’s died.

  27. “P.S. I have heard straight people talk about how after a date they will not text someone for multiple days even though they like them. Heterosexuals are straight up psychos.”

    I laughed forever.

  28. well she’s dreaming of you of course 😉
    writing you love poetry, planning romantic outings.
    well at least that’s what i would be doing lol 🙂

    i would assume the text didn’t go through or she’s unable to read it or reply.

    my sister and i are on the same mobile company thing, and our texts are late

    or never recieved VERY often. this happened with the previous company too.

    i try to remember that when i get irritated lol

    hey, i love comedy and sarcasm. they make life worth living. lmfao 😉

    this coulmn/post is funny and cool and relatable. many of us feel the same

    way.

    however, i have a mental health challenge called “BPD”. (google it) and …

    this totally sounds BPD to me. lol

    emotions up and down, thoughts all over the place, idealization and

    devaluation … it’s totally me and totally anyone w/BPD. read their blogs out

    there and you’ll see what i mean. they talk about it first hand.

    mental health = the brain version of physical health. the two can affect one

    another in profound ways. we need to end the stigma.

    may is mental health awareness month, and also Borderline Personality

    Disorder month. (borderline personality disorder – sounds scary, but it’s a

    misnomer to the nth degree. it’s just that we tend to feel emotions more

    intensely than “most ppl” and our emotions fluctuate more frequently.)

    don’t be angry, offended, or frightened at my comment. the stigma permeates

    every corner of the world, even in “america” where we supposedly are the

    best, most revered, most advanced nation in the entire world (not). bpd is

    severely ignored, and research and funding are decades behind that of

    bipolar disorder. much more about bipolar is known than of BPD.

    obsessing over a chick is not a good thing. i speak from personal experience

    lol. your writing hit home for me. we all need to CHILL THE F*** OUT when it

    comes to this stuff, especially texting.

    again, i speak from experience lol 😛

    keep up the great writing. i’ll be looking forward to it. now i’m gonna go stalk

    you and read all your other stuff LMFAO 😛 😛 😛 🙂

  29. I think it’s totally normal, if you like someone, to want them to text back and to check your phone a lot or wonder what they’re doing. But I also feel really uncomfortable with the idea of checking someone’s social media accounts to see if they’re talking to other people instead of/while talking to you, or messaging their friend cause those seem like they could lead to more controlling/manipulative behaviors. People get distracted by work or chores or video games or spending time with other people and there’s nothing wrong with that. In a healthy relationship, both people respect each other’s privacy and independence. Obviously, if it’s the beginning of the relationship, some of the expectations and boundaries haven’t been established yet, and if you feel they’re playing games with you that’s different and is def a reason to consider moving on from the relationship, but the whole idea that someone should put you before everything else in their life because they like you seems unhealthy to me. I know this is a humor article so exaggeration is the name of the game, and I love B’s tweets–they always make me laugh. But I work in healthy relationship education/abuse intervention so I just felt like this needed to be said.

  30. Reasons why I sometimes take a while to text back:
    1. my phone wasn’t on me and I didn’t bother to pick it up for a few hours
    2. texting is one of the most emotionally stressful forms of communication for me, so if I’m going through a bad bout of anxiety or depression I sometimes can’t bring myself to text
    3. I got up to eat/pee and now can’t find my phone
    4. I though that was an acceptable place to end the conversation, and was wrong
    5. I didn’t notice that you had texted me back and it was my turn to reply
    I do try to remind people that I care about them/think they’re cute/need their help fairly regularly, especially if we don’t communicate much face to face, because I recognize a lot of people don’t deal well with texters like me. And I do usually try a little harder with people I’ve just met, although that may be because I tend to be more sociable then anyways.

  31. “Did you run into one of my exes and they didn’t say anything bad about me, they just talked about how I’m a motherfucking delight and now you can’t move forward with me because if me and that ex didn’t work out, you no longer believe in love?”

    This whole article is golden. I can’t handle Brittani Nichols at all.

  32. So first off, this is HILARIOUS, the title of this column is clearly super accurate.

    That said, I need to speak up on behalf of bad texters everywhere and mention that sometimes, anxiety and/or executive dysfunction keeps me from texting people back. I’m autistic, so I know I’m not your average person-you-might-be-dating. But I struggle a lot with not wanting to text, forcing myself to text someone and then not having energy to do the next thing I need to do, having absolutely no idea what to say (or being terrified of saying the wrong thing) and then suddenly it’s two days later, misinterpreting the other person’s intent and assuming the conversation is over, etc. I have a lot of friends with similar communication issues, though most of them are not autistic, and I find this to be common enough for people with any kind of mental health issues that I feel the need to speak up on our behalf.

    That said, I am also totally on your side of it! When I don’t hear back from someone I am expecting/hoping/waiting to hear back from, I’m typically an anxious wreck. Not intending to be a hypocrite, it’s just the messed up brain chemistry. 🙂

    In case you think I’m taking this too seriously, I want to reiterate that I completely loved it and laughed quite a lot.

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