We’ve all been there. That moment when you finally gather the courage to text someone. Maybe it’s someone you know really well but you have something, er, touchy to say to them (which, let’s face it, you probably should say to them in person, but come on, you’re not going to). Maybe it’s someone you just met and want to hang out with but you’re afraid of rejection. Maybe it’s the person you only see for quick make-out sessions every few weeks and you know this text will imply that another meeting is, um, desired. We definitely live in a text-centric society, and, regardless of the person, when you’re sending a text that puts you out there or lets down your guard, it’s scary.
For me, I first spend at least 15 minutes drafting a carefully worded, spell-checked and grammar-checked (because yes, I actually care about my grammar when I text, whatever) message that does not seem too desperate/awkward/sensitive and will be sure to provoke a response. Then I stare at the unsent message, fighting myself about whether to hit “send.” If it’s a particularly ballsy text, I might delete it and re-type it a few times. I might not even send it at all. But all of this preparation is nothing compared to the moments that will follow once I have finally sent those precious words out into the abyss: the moments during which time slows down and I wait for a response.
You know what I’m talking about. Whether you’re waiting for a response to a simple “Hey what’s the math assignment for tomorrow?” or the more complicated “Are you up? Do you want to hang out?”, time always moves more slowly while you wait for the recipient to text you back. Here is the list of things that I should spend these agonizing minutes doing:
1. Reading a chapter of that book I started three and a half weeks ago and always stuff in my purse to take places but never actually read.
2. Re-reading the previous chapters of said book because I forgot what happened entirely.
3. Cleaning all of the hair off of my bathroom floor.
4. Sorting through all the junk emails from The Gap and Amazon.com in my email inbox.
5. Coming across a Gap coupon in one of those emails that I might possibly use sometime in the near future and then not deleting any of my emails because what if I end up needing them?
6. Drooling over all of the clothes from The Gap that I can’t afford, like that $85 dollar sweater I’m pretty sure I saw a replica of at GoodWill last week.
7. Making a playlist of songs I like to sing along to when I’m in the car by myself so that I don’t have to constantly select songs on my iPod while I’m driving.
…and so on. Here is the list of things that I actually do while waiting for a response:
1. Stare at my phone.
2. Check message inbox to make sure that I didn’t “miss” the text message arriving even though I’ve been staring at my phone the entire time.
Being the naturally anxious person that I am, this is something that I go through any time I send a text message that is outside of the realm of an inside joke text, an “I’ll meet you there” text, or a general “What’s up?” text. I hope I’m not alone in my neurotic texting behaviors, but again, because I am such an anxious weirdo, I assume that I am the only one who goes through this type of pain.
Then, a few ridiculously painful minutes (or hours, if the person I texted is a total dick) later, I receive a response. Depending on the message I receive, the episode of anxious texting may be over. Or, if a response from me is warranted, I may have to send another text, upon which the cycle begins all over again…
And if you just plain don’t text me back, well…that’s a story for another day.
You can read more from Madeline Allen on her blog.
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