From Our Readers
December 31, 2013 6:00 am

I have a proposal for everyone who is single and a fish currently swimming in the proverbial sea.

I think we should make a collective pact to never text the people that we have a crush on.

It sounds crazy, because texting is the primary form of communication for our generation. People answer texts and not phone calls. Texting is the easiest way to plan meet-ups, to have a written record of conversations, to reach someone who might or might not be busy. That said, all of these conveniences aside, here are five reasons we must abandon the practice of texting the people we are interested in.

1. We wait to text them back.
Yeah, don’t pretend you don’t do this. We’ve all been repeatedly warned by sages (like Ryan O’Connell) that this is merely a way of sabotaging our own love lives, and that by ignoring their messages for a little while, all we’re really doing is being rude and flaky. But despite all warnings and statements to the contrary, something in the back of our minds still has us convinced that by waiting at least a few minutes to text back, we’re playing it cool and conveying an air of business and mystery. “Oh sorry I didn’t see your text, I was busy shooing off the swarm of suitors and meeting with the prime minister of Finland, but yes Friday night sounds good,” is just too appealing of an implication to pass up. They don’t have to know that we were actually staring at the clock and browsing Facebook.

2. But we hate waiting for their responses.
It’s possible that they are also attempting to play it cool and are currently counting down until when they can text you back. It’s also possible that they are driving or in a deep heart-to-heart with their mom, or their phone is out of battery, or they’re busy trying to find that one YouTube video they wanted to show us before they texted us back. We usually don’t think of those when we’re agonizing over the lack of response. Instead, your first instinct is: “What if they’re actually texting that super cute girl wearing the denim cut-offs in his most recent Instagram picture? What if he’s asking her out right now? What if he just never responds and I’m left with the awkward, unanswered question “What time on Friday?” forever archived in my Imessages and it’ll be my badge of shame always?” Basically, waiting for a reply sucks, especially because everyone has their phone on them at all times. No one is a “horrible texter” when they actually care about the person they’re texting. Our burning fear is that their lack of a response means that they just don’t care.

3. Everything is more cryptic than it needs to be.
Because we’re always comparing the size of our blue bubble to the size of their white one. Shorter message=less interest=you win, right? Cut extraneous nouns, leave a hint of that story about your Aunt Sally instead of telling the whole thing. When you are the more talkative party in a texting conversation, the bubble sizes make it extremely apparent. So, left with no recourse, we encrypt our remarks, leaving it up to the other person to ask and to decipher. And even in the encrypting process…

4. There are just far too many formatting options.
Should the tone be casual or formal? Is a winky face overdoing it? Does the winky face ALWAYS have to be flirty? Should you put an exclamation point at the end of your sentence or is that expressing too much excitement for coffee on Saturday? Given all the extra time to consider what to reply, texting conversations allow us the full spectrum of options. Do people still abbreviate words, or did that die with flip phones? Is “lol” an unnecessary addition or does it lighten the tone of my statement? Which emoticon allows me to convey the correct degree of flirtation without being dramatically and obviously flirtatious and without losing the requisite air of mystery that we’ve already spent three minutes staring at the clock and striving for?

5. Conversations can just end.
Sometimes you’ll say something, and there will just be no response. Maybe they figured the conversation was over. Maybe they just didn’t want to talk anymore. In texting, there’s no need to offer an explanation. And then you’ll be left staring in dismay at the dead device in your hands, with your internal organs all scrambled, heart and lungs and stomach all jumbled, staring at the ceiling, unable to fall asleep. In high-risk, high-stress situations like the initial courting stages, there is simply too much at stake emotionally to text.

So what should we do instead?

Call. Because the silence on phone calls is companionable rather than uncertain. Because phone calls don’t end without explanation. Because conversations out loud don’t allow for over-thinkers like us to let our over-thinking overwhelm the natural flow of speech. Because you can tell the whole story of your Aunt Sally over the phone without worrying about encrypting it or formatting or adding a winky face at the end. Because there’s something quietly intimate about sitting in the darkness outside on the patio, listening to the cicadas, letting the phone transport the two of you to some third space between where you are and where they are.

Then of course, there’s the issue of when you should call…

YY Shang is a freshman in college and a serious Swiftie. Her ultimate dream is to eat a Chipotle burrito while simultaneously wrapped in a blanket burrito. She loves puns, writing and romantic comedies. You can find her (hilarious!) tweets on Twitter.

Featured Image via Shutterstock

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