The proper “textiquette” for text messages

Welcome back to Margarita Monday! Each week, we’ll be publishing a story about dating by Lauren Levine and/or Ali Washburn to go along with the latest episode of “The Margarita Confessionals,” a podcast for the jaded dater. You can find it on Soundcloud or iTunes.

There are a few key classes you should be required to take during your freshman year of college. These courses would limit the amount of time you spend utterly confused when you enter the real world. “Adulting 101” should definitely be a thing. Taxes? Making friends as a grownup? Help. We also believe a class on Textiquette (texting etiquette) would be an endlessly useful course of study that you could carry with you for years to come.

While texting is straightforward in most situations, it has a unique way of making dating even more convoluted than it already is. Here are some of the foundational principles of textiquette we would cover if we were tapped to teach this course.

Give someone the benefit of the doubt

Some people love texting. Some people would go days without it if they could. When you’re dating someone new, you don’t know where they fall on the continuum. Are they not texting because they don’t want to talk to you or do they just hate slamming their fingers onto a little hunk of metal and glass repeatedly? Are they sending you paragraphs because they’re a stage-five clinger or because they’re bored?

Before you automatically assume that a person’s text strategy points to unappealing real life behavior, give them the benefit of the doubt.

Remember that you can get on the same page about textiquette

It seems ridiculous to have to verbalize your preferred text style, but this is 2016 and this is a thing we have to deal with now so let’s just embrace the insanity of it all. I have a friend who really liked a new guy she was seeing, but she was aggravated that it would take him a full day to respond to her texts. When they talked about the issue he became much better about checking his phone. They’ve been together for a year now.

Don’t let texting make you overly invested

Texting can give you a false understanding of your chemistry with the person on the receiving end of your emojis. I’m guilty of being fully invested in someone because we had great text banter, only to meet for the first time and think, “Why did I set myself up for carpal tunnel later in life for this?”

Use texting to verify that this person isn’t a total creepmaster, but then meet up ASAP to see how you connect in real life.

Give it some breathing room

We’re used to our best friends answering our messages within 15 minutes, so if someone takes a few hours to reply it can feel insulting. Before you fire off something semi-passive-aggressive wondering where the object of your affection is, give it some breathing room. Maybe they’re swamped at work. No one likes the person who texts “hello?” after a half hour.

It’s amazing how that little dot-filled bubble can inspire such feelings of anxiety, confusion, and anticipation in even the most rational people. By standardizing some textiquette basics, we hope to eliminate the mind-numbing frustration caused by texting.

And no, you can’t take this class pass/fail.