Texting is supposed to make life easier, but when it comes to what to text a guy you’ve just started dating, it’s like a language of its own.
What did he mean by “lol”?
Why is it taking him so long to reply?
Should I include a heart emoji or is too soon?
These are just a few common questions you might have when you begin navigating the confusing realm of what to text a guy.
Without his face, his voice, and his body language to go along with his words, there are a seemingly endless amount of ways you can interpret his texts.
Trying to interpret text messages from someone you barely known can be enough to drive you mad.
Even a well-seasoned texter who frequently sends and receives messages from friends, relatives, and coworkers all day long can be thrown into an intense state of anxiety and self-doubt when they’re seeing someone new and have to communicate with them by text.
So instead of allowing your mind to run wild with all the possibilities on what, when, and how to send a text or interpret a text from him, be sure to keep the following Dos and Don’ts in mind.
DO: Consider whether one of you has an iPhone and the other has an Android.
If you’re both sending and receiving texts on the same platform, things are going to be a little easier for the two of you.
For instance, all of your emojis will look the same.
You might be able to see when each of you is typing or has read your messages. Your texts might even be received more instantaneously.
However, if one of you has an iPhone and the other has an Android, there’s a possibility that you could get lost in translation.
Emojis don’t all look the same between the two platforms and some aren’t even available.
Messages might even take a few minutes or longer to be received, and if you can’t see whether he’s read your messages, you might be left worrying and wondering why you haven’t heard back.
My partner has an Android and I have an iPhone.
We’ve both noticed that sometimes we receive texts late (or in rare cases, not at all).
There are also a few emojis I’ve texted and his Android can’t interpret them, so they appear as blank boxes.
Keep this in mind if you notice that your guy’s phone is the opposite of yours.
DO: Text him first sometimes.
It’s a common assumption that the guy should do everything first — even when it comes to texting.
But that puts a lot of pressure on him to always be texting at the right time and a lot of anxiety on you since it forces you to constantly be waiting for him to text.
Both of you should be initiating text conversations.
If you fee like texting him first, then do it!
You’re not going to seem desperate or needy.
Chances are, by texting him first, he’s going to get a burst of dopamine and a bit of a confidence boost, which should encourage him to work harder to impress you.
DO: Reply to him when you want to.
I get it — you don’t want to seem too eager, but you don’t want him to think that you’re not interested either.
Should you wait five minutes before texting? 20 minutes? An hour?
There’s only one right answer as to when you should text him back — when you want to.
If that’s immediately, then so be it. If that’s five and a half hours later, then that’s fine too!
Don’t assume that just because you decided to text immediately or hours later, you now have to follow that same trend for the rest of your relationship to keep it consistent.
Although some people will naturally be immediate texters while others will take their sweet time, you still ultimately have the freedom to text whenever you want.
DO: Text in a casual, conversational tone similar to how you’d speak in person.
You really don’t have to get too fancy with your wording in your texts.
In fact, guys would prefer that you don’t do that.
It might intimidate or confuse them.
You want to come off as friendly, open, easy to talk to, and easy to understand.
And the best way to embody that is by keeping your texts as straightforward as possible — by using simple phrases in a conversational style.
DO: Keep your texts short and concise.
When it comes to what to text a guy, a casual and conversational tone goes hand in hand with short, concise wording.
Nobody really wants to read an essay via text message.
Men are more likely than women to send shorter and simpler texts, so they’ll probably appreciate that you can get on their level with that too.
You should definitely imagine what you’d say if you were speaking in person and try to say the same thing by text, but you might have to shorten it or leave some details out in order to keep it as short and as straight to the point as possible.
DO: Give your texts a quick scan before sending.
This might seem debatable, but when you’re seeing someone new, it’s probably the most relevant.
By quickly reading over your text, you can save yourself from any minor embarrassments or regrets about what to text a guy in terms of what you did or didn’t say.
Sometimes, a text reads a bit differently than it does when we’re thinking it in our heads.
If you hit send too fast and then notice that the text could be interpreted differently than what you intended, you might have to see how he reacts and possibly send several follow-up texts to fix the interpretation.
DO: Find a balance between good grammar/spelling and text slang/acronyms.
Some people believe in texting with good grammar and spelling to come off as mature and intelligent.
Others completely embrace text speak for the sake of speed and convenience.
Ideally, there should be a balance.
You should put effort into spelling words correctly the first time and using proper grammar, however it’s perfectly fine to let typos slide every now and then or include acronyms and abbreviations.
In general, your texts should be readable.
They shouldn’t be full of spelling mistakes and every second word shouldn’t be a slang term or acronym.
If you had to go one way or another, sticking with proper spelling and grammar is the best way to go.
It will make you come off as more of a smart, high-value woman compared to someone who’s a messier, slang-heavy texter.
DO: Use emojis to add some personality to your texts.
Emojis are a great way to add some much needed emotional expressiveness to our bland, wordy texts.
You really can’t go wrong with a smiley emoji at the end of a text.
Adding emojis in place of their words can also make you look cute and playful.
For example, you could an apple emoji instead of typing out the word “apple.”
Just be aware that not all emojis translate the same between iPhone and Android, as mentioned in the first point.
If you’re unsure, stick to using the most common emojis most of the time and refrain from using the more obscure ones.
DO: Remember that you have to learn his texting style to better understand him.
It’s common to have high expectations for a new guy to text exactly when and how you want him to text, but unfortunately, that’s not the way it works in reality.
Just like everyone else you text, he too has his own texting habits and style.
Remember, men love to send shorter, simpler texts.
They might not reply right away — not because of something you did or didn’t do, but because they just don’t like to be glued to their phones and constantly engaged by their text conversations.
It will certainly take some time — weeks or months — to learn about how he texts.
In the meantime, keep an open mind and don’t jump to any conclusions if something he does or doesn’t text seems to conflict with your own texting style.
DO: Put your phone away (or on silent) every so often.
When you’re dating someone new that you really like, getting a new text can become a serious addiction.
Every notification is another drop of dopamine for your pleasure-seeking brain, making you want more and more and more.
It can make you a slave to your phone, and once you’re hooked, it can be extremely difficult to ween yourself off.
This is why it’s important to exercise self-discipline before you get sucked in too deep.
Practice disconnecting from your phone.
Refrain from reading texts as soon as you hear a notification.
Leave it in the other room.
Don’t always text back immediately.
Do whatever you can to create some space between you and your device.
Don’t worry — if your guy is seriously interested in you, he’s not going anywhere.
You can have a life away from your phone and still build your relationship.
DO: Save serious, sensitive, or detailed conversation topics for phone calls or in-person meet-ups.
Texting is a main form of communication for many people — especially people with busy schedules or people in long-distance relationships.
This can make it tempting to discuss anything and everything via text.
Unfortunately, not every conversation is appropriate to have by text.
Since texting is a form of communication that’s so open to interpretation, it really should be used only for the most casual and straightforward conversations.
It’s mature and respectful to wait until you can meet up or at least get on the phone to talk about more serious or sensitive things.
Seeing each other’s faces and hearing each other’s voices will put you in the best position to express yourselves clearly and be understood correctly.
DO: Prioritize phone calls and meet-ups.
Texting is fun. It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s convenient.
And when you finally build some confidence around what to text a guy, it leaves a lot of room for the imagination, which can be very exciting.
There’s nothing wrong about texting because it’s fun or because you’re bored, but it certainly shouldn’t be the basis for your entire relationship.
No relationship can thrive entirely by text message.
Anyone who says that it can is actually just living in a fantasy.
A relationship is real. It’s built from two people connecting in real life.
Although it feels like you’re connecting closely to your guy by texting him a lot, texting should never be used as a replacement for real life contact with him.
As much as possible, it should be used as a supplement to maintain communication when you can’t be together.
DON’T: Obsess over how long it takes for him to text you back.
My partner doesn’t have text notifications enabled on his phone because they’re too much of a distraction, so he takes ages to text back.
He’s probably a rare breed who does this, but the point I’m trying to get across is that if it seems like your guy takes a while to text back, don’t take it personally.
Unless he’s frequently taking more than a couple of days to return your texts, chances are he’s just busy and he wants to have some time to send the right reply.
It’s totally normal to go hours or even as long as an entire day without hearing back from him.
It doesn’t mean that he isn’t into you.
It probably just means he doesn’t always have his phone in his face (which is actually a good thing).
DON’T: Expect to receive multiple texts a day, every day from him.
Your guy has a life, which means he’s got places to be and things to do.
It’s highly unlikely that he’s going to be sitting around on his phone all day waiting to reply to you.
Unlike women, men aren’t as keen on sending text after text after text, all day long.
If you’re hearing from him once a day, then that’s actually amazing — especially in the very early days of your relationship.
Texting him multiple times throughout the day can come off as needy and smothering, so refrain from doing that in the early days.
And let him off the hook if he doesn’t text you for a whole day here or there.
The frequency of your texts is a signal of how much space you’re willing to give him.
If he feels like he’s not getting enough space from you, even digitally, he could take that as a bad sign.
DON’T: Text him to ask where he is or what he’s doing if he hasn’t replied to you yet.
If you expected to hear back from him at a certain point but have yet to receive anything, it’s normal to find your mind running wild with thoughts of betrayal or rejection, which could prompt to go looking for answers to hopefully prove you wrong.
But just like sending multiple texts a day, trying to pry your way into his life by asking him where he’s been and what he’s been doing can make you seem needy, insecure, and even possessive.
Besides, when he finally does answer, there’s a chance he’ll explain all on his own why he took so long to get back to you.
If it’s been a day or two, don’t bother asking him about his whereabouts.
If it’s been longer, and you’re typically used to hearing from him sooner, then you certainly have the grounds to ask — but aim to do it casually and curiously rather than demandingly or neurotically.
DON’T: Feel like you always have to reply as quickly as possible to him.
In the Dos section above, I mentioned that you should reply to your guy whenever you feel like you want to reply to him.
You still should, but you shouldn’t feel constrained to text within that exact same timeframe every single time just because you started out replying to them that way.
Many women love to reply immediately or as quickly as possible — not just to men, but to everyone.
If that’s you, then that’s fine, but don’t allow that to feed your anxiety when it’s difficult to reply to him that quickly.
Remember, you’re allowed to have a life.
You should have a life.
If you’re hanging out with your girlfriends or working on a deadline, you shouldn’t feel like you need to drop everything and everyone to tend to your text messages.
DON’T: Get in the habit of typing huge paragraphs.
Men are simple creatures (usually).
Likewise, texting is a simplified method of communication.
Therefore, texts should be kept as simple as possible.
Keeping your texts short and sweet will help you save time and make it easier for your guy to properly understand and interpret your texts.
If you have something you want to talk to him about in more detail, give him a call or ask to meet up.
DON’T: Overanalyze his short, pithy replies.
I know that it can be super annoying to receive a one-word reply like yeah, no, lol, ok, haha, or a random emoji.
But trust me — it’s not worth reading into it beyond its surface-level meaning.
If you receive a one-word reply or something else that’s super vague, chances are your guy just doesn’t have the will or energy to think and type out an elaborate message.
It’s as simple as that.
It doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to talk to you.
Or that he’s bored.
Or that he finds you unattractive all of a sudden.
Or that he’s thinking about ghosting you.
Men aren’t like women when the speak.
They typically mean what they say when they say it.
So take that one-word reply for what it is and move on.
DON’T: Get upset if he left you on Read and hasn’t replied in a few hours.
This is very similar to not obsessing over how long it takes him to reply, but it brings an extra added sense anxiety regarding why he chose to ignore your text after reading it.
It’s the kind of thing that can fuel self-doubt and thoughts of betrayal or rejection.
Being left on Read is not a sign of disinterest or rejection.
Remember, everyone has their own texting styles, and men aren’t typically hyperactive texters the way women are.
It’s very likely that he read your message, thought about what to say, and then got distracted with something else.
It doesn’t mean that he’s plotting his escape from you.
It most likely just means that he’s got a life beyond his phone.
DON’T: Overdo it with the exclamation marks, uppercase wording, or emojis.
Some of the best ways to keep your texts casual, friendly, and conversational are to incorporate exclamation marks, uppercase words, and emojis. But there’s a balance that needs to be kept.
Don’t make every word in your text uppercase.
Don’t put exclamation marks after every phrase or sentence.
Don’t jam 10 to 20 emojis into every text.
Add just enough of those things, and you’ll come off as cute and flirty.
Add too many, and you might just look like a 12 year-old fangirl.
DON’T: Be passive or indecisive.
A lot of men hate it when women play hard to get or can’t make decisions, and these pet peeves can only be exasperated by the limited contact and expressiveness of texting.
If you’re genuinely happy and excited about talking to him or seeing him, then show it in your texts.
If he asks you where you want to go on a date, throw some ideas out there rather than saying “I don’t know” or asking him to decide.
Remember, it’s hard enough to interpret text messages sometimes.
Don’t make it harder for him by hiding your emotions or avoiding any decision-making.
DON’T: Reread and rewrite your texts multiple times before sending them.
In the early days of a relationship, we’re more aware of the need to say and mean the right thing.
We can become perfectionists even in something as casual as texting.
It’s fine to reread a text once or twice, edit it, or even completely rewrite it.
But if you’re doing this every time you text and editing or rewriting more than once, then this could mean that you’re overanalyzing your own texts and trying to seek validation by providing the right message.
There’s no “right” text to send at any given time.
It’s a conversation, not a job interview, and typically the first thing you type is what you really want to say anyway.
Work on owning what you say in your texts and just hitting send even if you’re not 100% confident about it.
Once you find that it doesn’t matter as much to find the “right” thing to say and you get more comfortable with texting your guy, you should find that you won’t have to reread or rewrite your texts as often.
DON’T: Send anything you’re not comfortable with sending.
Ladies, we all know that men love a little sexting here and there.
Maybe even a lot.
If that’s your thing too and you’re fine with doing it in the early days of your relationship, then all the more power to you — just be safe and smart about it.
However, if you’re simply not ready to get too intimate or he asks you to send provocative photos or videos too early, then don’t.
You’re not being a prude and you’re not being unreasonable.
You actually shouldn’t send any provocative content to someone you’re just getting to know, because you never know where it could end up.
Any guy who gives you a hard time for not sending him what he wants isn’t a guy worth keeping around.
A high-quality guy will respect your wishes and give you the time that you need before you decide to take it any further with him.
Which of the Above Texting Dos or Don’ts Could You Really Benefit from Implementing?
We all have bad texting habits.
After all, it’s such an addictive activity, and when it comes to dating our minds usually end up exaggerating both our expectations and our worst fears.
Let me know if the comments if there’s any particular Do or Don’t on this list that you think you really need to implement in your texting habits, and why!