A Lesson In Text Message Etiquette

To text twice in a row, or not to text twice in a row? It seems I’m asked this at least once a day, during semi-formals week or at the start of a friend’s new relationship maybe 6 times in a day. I can tell you of about a hundred (thousand) or so terrible incidents my friends and I have run into with the dreaded double text, and how it can make you look
a. like a freak
b. completely desperate
c. beyond stupid

So let’s start with some extreme examples.

Example 1: My best friend, let’s call her Lauren (because Lauren Conrad is my dream television best friend and it makes sense to me), had a particularly bad case of the double texts a few months ago. She’d been hooking up with this guy for about five months, but like a lot of the men we seem to come across he was commitment-phobic (or maybe they all know how neurotic we are). It was a typical Friday night – we were all having drinks and bitching about our weeks and preparing ourselves for the madness that would be the rest of our night. Lauren decided to text – let’s call him Adam – and ask if he was headed to the same party that we were headed to. Forty minutes passed, as did three more rounds of drinks and we decided to head down to the party. We arrived at the party but Adam wasn’t there. Lauren had another drink and thirty minutes later decided to text him…again, “Wanna meet up later?” She waited another hour or so (2 more drinks), and when still no text was received she decided to send the absolutely forbidden triple text, “Yo, where are you?” [NOTE: never ever ever ever ever do this] Five minutes or so later Adam texted her back: “Headed back to my house with Ashley” (Ashley being the girl he used to hook up with). Let this be a lesson to you all friends. This particular malady was remedied by a late night cheeseburger, four more beers, and an endless tirade of bitching. You don’t want to be the girl pouring your heart out to the drive through attendant at McDonalds (I’m usually that girl and it’s honestly no fun).

Example 2: Another one of my friends sent a booty text to a guy she’d only hooked up with once: “My room? Now?” Two hours later, in a state of embarrassment and bad judgment she sent a follow up, “Or tomorrow?” – No response. Ever.
There is hope though (sort of – things didn’t end up working out with this guy…typical) but anyway, here’s a time where the double text resulted in absolute success.

I’d been hooking up with this guy for an entire weekend (basically a lifetime) and I wanted to carry this ‘romance’ on into the coming week. He’d mentioned that his dog was coming to town (yes, to visit him – his mum was bringing the puppy to stay for a couple of days). Around 4 o’clock on Monday (almost 24 hours since I’d last seen or heard from him) I decided I’d send the ever so tempting “bait” text. A “bait” text is when you say something that is supposed to illicit you the response you hoped for and simultaneously tests the guy’s intelligence level and level of interest in you. The most typical example of a “bait” text is, “I’m tired, I need a nap!” Now, if the boy is interested and remotely intelligent it is expected that he will take the bait and respond with, “We could nap together” (NOTE: you cannot send this text too early in the relationship, otherwise if he does get the implication he may freak out – but more about that another time).

So back to my dog-lovin’ lover – I’d decided that it was time to text him (again NOTE: if a guy doesn’t text you for more than 24 hours after a hook up then your actions should be carefully monitored by cynical and objective friends) I was trying to think of bait with which to snag his interest when it came to me, the dog (not literally, obviously). So I sent him what I boastingly told my friends was guaranteed to illicit a response: “How’s spending time with your dog?! Are you happy to see her?”

2 hours passed, then 4 hours. I did the usual: deleted his number, swore I was over the whole thing, realized I wasn’t, Facebook stalked until I found a group he’d joined where someone had dropped their phone in a pool and needed numbers (don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about), got his number from there, and decided to send the dreaded DOUBLE text. At this point, even more time had passed and all hope was lost anyway, so, dignity between my gritted teeth, I sent a second message, “Do I get to meet your puppy?”
5 minutes passed and just as I was getting ready to crack open the emergency bag of ‘feel better’ BBQ chips I keep in my drawer, my phone dinged:
“Yeah, definitely! Want to come spend the night and meet her?”

So, there is one success story of the double text, though I’m pretty sure it’s an anomaly and shouldn’t ever be used as rationale for your own double texts. In general though, double texts are rarely acceptable and ONLY appropriate if:
a. There was a typo that you have to correct from the previous text
b. There was misinformation in the previous text that you need to correct
c. You’re already dating the guy and he doesn’t care
d. You don’t mind throwing your dignity to the wind and gaining five pounds from ‘I need to feel better about my self’ food binges. TC mark

image – Dan Zen


More From Thought Catalog

  • Reallyyyydude


  • Jordan

    this made me laugh. bc it's true. i rarely send a first text.
    more of my girlfriends need to see this.

  • damo

    BBMs are worse than texts because you can see when someone has read it and not bothered to respond.

    …to be fair, i do the same thing 90% of the time.

  • lsla33
  • Woyzeck

    Haha, I can relate to this! I double text all the time because I have a really bad memory, I think I have early onset Alzheimer's or something.

  • Woyzeck

    I find this article very relatable! I have a really bad memory so I double text all the time! Sometimes I even send three messages!

  • Woyzeck

    This article pretty much describes me! I send double messages constantly because my memory is so bad! I think I have early onset Alzheimer's or something.

  • inflammatorywrit

    Am I reading Thought Catalog or CosmoGirl?

  • eferf53
  • Guest

    oh my god this makes me sad

  • gray

    This is awful. 

    And not just because of all the illicit/elicit mistakes.

  • http://thehumorlessfeminist.tumblr.com thehumorlessfeminist

    seriously? do you people not have editors? “illicit” is not a verb. jesus fucking christ.

  • Lara

    waiitt.. like this seems really sexist.

  • Dirk

    Some real shit gets published on this site, but this is one of the shittier shits for sure. What an absurd, self-indulgent waste of server space.

  • http://maaaaaan.tumblr.com/ wackomet

    technology is making people fucking insane

  • Asdf

    Here's a bait text. Intelligence is not determined from playing pre-teen txting games, it's determined by proper verb choice. I hope this elicits the desired response.

    • http://fastfoodies.org Briana


      (jk, obviously)

      • Asdf

        You illicitly elicited a response with your illicit corrections!

      • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

        i lic it

        (i like it)

      • Asdf

        cit, that's so ill! 

        (shit, that's so ill)

      • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

        did you hurt your hand? don't worry,

        ill ic it

      • Asdf

        ic. it ill, indeed.

      • Asdf

        In my opinion, this is the best of the bunch. Well played.

      • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

        you know what i thought to myself about that comment?

        “ill lic it”

      • Asdf

        cit, e too! lil too good.  i lic it.

  • Determined Hera

    MAN there are a lot of haters on here. Where is your published online writing, except for your douchy meanspirited comments? Dicks.

    • Asdf

      Touche. Except that with such passive aggressive behavior put so clearly on display for the world to see, it must be called out. Maybe Lucia Stacey is gauging all our interest levels in her. Maybe she's really just trying to get us all to sleep with her. No idea. 

      And that's precisely what you get when you play games: misunderstanding.

    • http://thehumorlessfeminist.tumblr.com thehumorlessfeminist

      If the author didn't want her writing criticized, she wouldn't have published it. Writing isn't published exclusively to be praised.

  • DB

    I cant believe this is on here. It reads like a 15 year old's English project, nd its on a subject that would only interest said 15 year olds or people of their level.

  • Erik

    Did you ever stop to think that in your “doubletext success” story, it wasn't the fact that you sent a second text that got him to respond, but the fact that your second text was straightforward and not passive-aggressively trying to get HIM to say that he wanted to see YOU?

    I think the moral of the story here isn't “Doubletexting is bad, except for sometimes”, it's more like “However good you think you are at sending bait texts, you're not that good. If you want to see someone, just ask to see them.”

    • Jordan

      Yeah, I'm not even as perturbed by the article as a lot of commenters (if only because I expect it), but that first text was just non-effective.  Sometimes it happens!  You try and craft a clever message and it just doesn't come out the way you intended.  That text might as well have been sent by his grandma.

  • http://twitter.com/griverasantiago Gustavo Rivera

    i don't see how this any worse/better than any of the other stuff published on this site. And about usage of verbs: language can be considered individual specific. Don't let anyone tell you how to write/communicate/live/exist/anything. Fuck guidelines for the bouge.

    • http://thehumorlessfeminist.tumblr.com thehumorlessfeminist

      “Language can be individual specific.” What the hell are you smoking? This isn't a matter of style. The author used the wrong word, period.

      If none of us let anyone tell us how to write, we wouldn't learn how to fucking write. Shut the fuck up.

      • Lucia Stacey

        Yep, I used the wrong word. My bad. Unfortunately there's no editing mechanism now that it's posted. However, spelling errors annoy me as well, so I apologize.

      • http://thehumorlessfeminist.tumblr.com thehumorlessfeminist

        Your bio also has an error. Maybe you should look into working for CosmoGirl after all.

      • Lucia Stacey

        I just read your blog too. You should work on parallel structure – you don't seem to have quite mastered it. I suppose everyone makes mistakes.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jade.orlich Jade Mitchell

        This post makes my day.

      • inflammatorywrit

        Agreed. I now feel bad about my previous bitchy comment.

      • http://thehumorlessfeminist.tumblr.com thehumorlessfeminist

        The major difference, of course, is that I'm not by any means a professional writer seeking publication. Nice deflection, though. Your writing is SO much better now!

      • Lucia Stacey

        Well, as I have said, I made an error. I am unable to edit it. Thank you for your feedback, oh humorless one.

      • Ernst Stavro

        This organisation will not tolerate failure, Miss Stacey.

      • Elle

        Maybe you should calm down now.

      • guesst

        How is she not calm?  She's pointing out that an article that the author posted online, open for comments, has grammatical mistakes.  It's helpful criticism, and yeah, maybe in the future the author will proof-read.  It's very unprofessional.  You telling humorless to calm down added nothing to the discussion, besides implying that she's getting emotional about this.

      • Elle

        My reply was referring to her first comment, which is further down the page, as well as the more recent one. I think the author got the message, so continuing to be rude and insulting her for her mistake was not necessary in my opinion.

      • Abby

        If you get this worked up about amateur writing, don't read Thought Catalog. It's not the fucking New Yorker. It's a place for an exchange of ideas (good or bad, intellectual or frivolous) where writers can get constructive feedback on their articles. Your feedback isn't constructive, it's just bitchy.

    • Jordan

      Sadly enough I actually sort of agree with this.  On the first point, yeah, this is  practically par for TC, so no biggie there.

      Second, although she definitely shouldn't have used illicit, part of me has a tolerance for a less-than-standard writing for the sake of personal style.  I think I give it credence because some of the old Beat guys (particularly Ginsberg) used to do things like using '2' instead of writing out the word for the sake of immediacy, to not have the words get in the way of the purpose and flow of the writing.

      But still, use the right words.

  • mertzy

    add reading this post to the list!


  • http://www.facebook.com/jade.orlich Jade Mitchell

    Disregard the negative comments. As for the subject matter: Thought Catalog's niche is to be exclusively relatable to the 20-something generation. I've made the same illicit/elicit mistake before – it's not a big deal. 

    I enjoyed your article very much, Lucia. :)

    • Asdf

      This article is kind of a big deal.

    • http://twitter.com/nestevian888 Sang

      Is it bad that I'm in my early 30's and really enjoy reading these articles?

      • angiephone

        No, it's not.  I'm in my early thirties too, and I find this stuff hilarious.

      • Jellybeans Rule

        I'm in my MID-thirties. Hey now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    Thanks for the lesson

  • Asdf

    This article is kind of a big deal.

  • Dee

    you have saved many young girls that are just starting out in life, or a scene, a lot of embarrassment.

    • Woyzeck

      It's vital reading for any young person going through a textual awakening.

blog comments powered by Disqus