Stop Waiting To Text Back, You're Not Fooling Anyone

6497720753_fbaea0598e_b We all know the game.

You casually (more like deliberately) bump into a very attractive man at one of the various bars on campus Thursday night. Upon collision, you hurriedly turn towards each other, eager to apologize. You take a mental note that he’s roughly six feet tall, has a good enough smile, and intriguingly thick eyebrows. You’re fairly confident he was the star of his high school lacrosse team and if not, his best friend Harrison was.

You share an awkward silence, painfully exchange smiles, and finally he asks to buy you a drink. Once you’ve established that you’re both obsessed with Game of Thrones, he says you’re more beautiful than Khaleesi and you’ve officially sold your heart to a stranger. When he asks for you number, you hand it over in less than a millisecond. Let’s be honest, you would’ve given him your social security number if he wanted it.

The next morning, after gasping for air and desperately reaching for your water bottle, you assess the damage on your phone and see you texted your name to “Hot Bar Guy” at 2 a.m. Just like that, the hell that is your hangover feels entirely worth the suffering. Hot Bar Guy has your number and the ball is in his court.

The worst part of the ball being in their court is that it’s not in yours. And as far as your concerned there is nothing you can do with a ball you can’t get your hands on. So, you wait, and you wait some more, and finally (two or three days later) the day comes when ‘Text Message from Hot Bar Guy’ pops up on your iPhone 5s. You’re back in the game—and yes, you still need a new iPhone.

The text reads something like this: “Hey Victoria, it’s Grayson from Harry’s. Had a great time the other night.” (May or may not include a very vague proposition to “hang” or “chill” soon depending on how basic the person is.)

PSA: I chose to use Victoria as my subject in this scenario as I’ve come to believe she is my alter ego. I told a barista at Starbucks that I was Victoria a couple weeks ago and she didn’t seem to doubt my integrity. Then again, I’ve also told her my name is Hilary Clinton and apparently that flies too.

Moving on. Once that first text message comes in, the game begins.

The purpose of the game is to prove you are the busiest person taking part in the conversation and that you care the least. You want to give the other person the impression that you have not spent the past few days staring at your screen, waiting for a response, and pulling out a new hair from your left eyebrow each minute you didn’t heard from them.

According to the hypothetical rules of game, the first response is key in proving your textual worth. If you respond in less than ten minutes, you might as well tattoo “be my boyfriend” on your forehead in caps. If you respond a day later, you’re simply being an ass. It’s 2015… get real.

After that first text, it all becomes a waiting game. He responds to your message 23 minutes later, so you (apparently) have to wait at least 33 minutes to send your next “master text.” If he asks you out, you add ten extra minutes to whatever waiting time you’ve already computed in your delusional state of mind. If you respond right away, he’ll know you didn’t have to contemplate the decision for three hours and are actually excited for the date, which would be a total disaster.

Here’s the thing about the game. It’s great… except for the fact that it ruins any chance of developing a genuine relationship and has no significant value whatsoever. To some extent, I can understand how the “waiting” tactic originated. But considering how our society operates now, the game makes absolutely zero sense. We all check our phones at least five times in an hour. I could make the argument that implying you don’t is weirder than answering a text when you first get it.

That issue aside, there’s also a more obvious problem at hand. If you actually like someone, you shouldn't have to wait to talk to that person. You shouldn't want that person to think you don’t care, or are too busy to give them your attention for five brief seconds. The objective should be to show that you are interested, not to “prove” that you’re not.

Stop caring what people think. Stop tracking how many words he or she used and obsessing over whether to use a comma or a period. Stop waiting for a response. If by some stroke of luck things actually work out between you and this person, it will not be because you waited 13 minutes to respond instead of three.

Swallow your pride and respond when you first get the text. Don’t over-think what you type—you’re not drafting the Constitution and (hate to break it to you) nothing you have to say is that important. In the fifteen minutes you spent waiting to text back someone back, you could’ve learned that he or she only eats liver and their favorite movie is Silence of the Lambs. You’ll save yourself a whole lot of time.

To all the ladies spending their days waiting for the text from "Hot Bar Guy" to find its way to their phones: there is nothing wrong with texting him first. This isn't the Stone Age and modern day feminism is in fact very real. Guys are not going to think you're a desperate loser for showing that you're interested. Chivalry may be dead but you are not—pick up the phone and take matters into your own hands.

Oh, and if you’re one of the few psychos that still has their read receipts on… you are an animal. Check yourself.