How to Text Like a Normal Person

Texting is probably the most convenient and most utilized method of communication today. It doesn’t require nearly the time commitment of talking on the phone or the good lighting of FaceTiming, but there’s also another huge advantage (or maybe disadvantage) to texting: premeditation. When you text someone, what you say and how you say it can be carefully thought out, approved by your friends if necessary, and fully constructed before finally hitting send. The downside of this is, of course, that other people on the receiving end know how much thought goes into texting. This can often result in an endless spiral of overthinking on both sides, leading to some super weird texting habits that probably need to be kicked.

  GIFs by Julia Bauer

GIFs by Julia Bauer

1. Waiting a specific amount of time to text back, intentionally

Okay, this is the one I myself am often guilty of. Sometimes, you’re really excited to text a person, fully focused on the conversation, but then you wait… and wait… and wait. And they don’t text you back for an insanely long period of time, even though they managed to get around to liking a couple of Tweets and posting on their Snapchat story in that time. You get a little vengeful, a little resentful, and decide the best revenge is to wait an arbitrary amount of time (35 minutes?) to text them back. Why make them think you care any more about them than they did about you? Because sometimes that’s just how life is, friend. In my experience, you never know what someone has going on – maybe they didn’t want to seem overeager to you and you’re now both stuck playing this headgame, maybe they thought they responded but didn’t, maybe they just got distracted by the other million things to do on their phone before finally remembering “oh, yeah I was originally on here to respond to that text” (also guilty of this). At the end of the day, what you say will be the same no matter when you say it, so lose the anxiety and just respond when you want.

2. The constantly disappearing, constantly reappearing 3 dots

If you’ve been on the receiving end of this one a lot, I’m sure you can feel the frustration rising in you now. “JUST SAY SOMETHING WHY DO YOU KEEP TYPING AND BACKSPACING AND PAUSING???!?!!” I feel for that person though; sometimes you’re having trouble phrasing your thoughts and gotta start and stop a couple of times to get it right, or sometimes you're just distracted as you respond, and so this solution is actually very simple. Just shoot a quick text before your actual response that says something along the lines of “One sec, I’m gonna respond, I just need a minute.” Boom. Confusion erased, and they're not hanging on your every keyboard stroke.

3. Ghosting

Sometimes it’s intentional, because people are not good at breaking off relationships in a healthy way, and there’s truly nothing to be done about that as far as texting habits go. Sometimes it’s an inability to find the right words to say to someone or never feeling up to facing what exactly it is you need to say – in which case you should simply be as honest and as transparent as possible, and it may be time to move from texting into a face-to-face conversation. Sometimes, though, leaving someone on read for an extended period of time can be an honest mistake, and the easiest way through is to apologize and strike up normal conversation.

At the end of the day, texting is just another way of communicating and maintaining relationships. There are nuances with it that don’t come with other forms of communication, sure, but the key is not to make those nuances the key focus of the act of texting. Just talk to people. Respond when you want, explain when you don’t, send a lot of GIFs regardless. A good GIF can salvage anything, honestly.

Feature image by Bruno Gomiero via Unsplash