You’ve just met someone online and they seem amazing. Their profile is eloquent and interesting. The messages you’ve exchanged are polite and engaging. They also seem to be ridiculously adorable. It’s time to move the relationship to the next level: texting.
A few messages in, you realize that, through text, the dynamic is… Well, totally awkward. The connection you were hoping to have just isn’t there and you’re about one “your” instead of “you’re” away from kiboshing the whole thing.
If any of the above sounds familiar, you’ve likely experienced what the women at The Betches call ATD (Awkward Texting Dynamic). While the advent of text messaging has definitely made dating easier in many ways, it’s also created a new set of hurdles. If the texting feels awkward, it’s sometimes enough to kill romance right in it’s tracks.
Here are a few kinds of ATD scenarios that you may have encountered.
1. There’s zero chemistry via text.
Not everyone is great over text. That’s the truth. However, it can be disconcerting when you’re really trying to get some kind of cadence happening and the other person is giving you nothing in return:
You: Hey, it’s awesome to connect! What are you up to this weekend?
Them: Not much.
You: That’s cool. I’m going to a bluegrass festival on Friday, but I’m free Saturday. Want to do something?
You: Any suggestions?
Them: Nope. You?
Ahhhhh, the dreaded “K.” Over text, this person seems to have the personality of a plain baked potato and their monosyllabic responses are totally passive aggressive – or are they? Before you read too much into their texting style and write them off completely, try meeting them in person. They may suck on the phone, but may be super engaging in person… Or not. You’ll never know until you try.
2. You’re not sure if they’re kidding or they’re a weirdo. (Or both?)
We all want to make a good impression when engaging in textual communication, but sometimes the desire to be clever and show off your witty, intellectual prowess can backfire – especially when one person just doesn’t quite get it. This is especially awkward when you’re not even sure if the other person is trying to be funny and sarcastic, or they just have super strange social skills (or perhaps it’s all of the above?)
Them: Well, I’d totally come meet you right now, but I have to warn you: I once killed a girl with my smile. Are you prepared?
You: Noted. I’ll make sure to wear sunglasses.
Them: To quote Dr. Phil, “hold your horse, Missy!” This cowboy doesn’t think that’s allowed at this rodeo.
Wait, what? At this point it’s unclear what’s happening. Is the date a go? Will the other person continue to make a mix of equestrian references? Did Dr. Phil really say that? Am I supposed to be laughing? WHAT IS HAPPENING.
The lesson here: sometimes the best way to make a good first impression is to just be clear and concise. Ask the person out. Set a time to meet. Be friendly. If you’re on the receiving end of the last message above, take the reigns of the conversation (see what I did there?) and be direct. Ask where you should meet them. If they continue to “horse around,” it might be a sign that you should pass on this one.
3. They text like a 13-year-old from 2006 who can’t spell and they use LOL as punctuation.
Them: sup. How r u?
You: I’m good. How are you?
Them: Your hot lol what r u up 2 lates?
You: I have plans, but I’m free on Thursday.
Them: lol totes awk maybs hang thurs lol?
As any parenting expert will tell you, kids learn by example. If you’re still interested in this person even though they write like a character from Entourage, don’t model their terrible texting skills. Use your words. If you’re lucky, they will follow your lead.
4. Your sense of humor doesn’t mesh at all.
You’re sarcastic. They don’t seem to have a sarcastic bone in their body. You make a witty quip. They send you a meme of a turtle farting. You’re confused. They’re probably confused, too. The romance is dying by the second. Can this textual relationship be saved? Maybe. Fart memes aside, a compatible sense of humor is an extremely important part of a happy relationship. If you can’t laugh together then what do you have? If the other person doesn’t understand that you’re kidding when you say, “I get all of my hair inspiration from Carrot Top,” then this probably isn’t going to work.