It’s 2018. Texting has been a mainstream thing for well over a decade. We should know the rules by now (and yes there are hard and fast rules of texting). But my gay (male) friends and potential boyfriends (if they even acknowledge I exist) still don’t seem to “get” how to text.
So I’m laying down the law, once and for all. Here are 18 rules of texting etiquette gay and bisexual men should know!
- Use exclamation marks!
They are your best friends! Use them!! Literally doesn’t even matter what you’re saying, you still use them!!! There’s physical research to support this. In 2015, The Washington Post published an article titled, “Study confirms that ending texts with a period is terrible.” Quoting from that article, “Researchers, led by Binghamton University’s Celia Klin, report that text messages ending with a period are perceived as being less sincere, probably because the people sending them are heartless.” So STOP IT! Be sincere and have a heart. Use exclamation points!
- Respond (if you’re not busy)
I get it. You’re out with your friends and you don’t want to be rude, so you don’t reply. Okay. That’s fine. That’s great. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking to you if you’re lying in bed, watching TV, see a text, then go, “Ohhh, I’ll just reply to this later.” How dare you?
- Don’t start the text and then just stop
Now this is just cruel. Especially if it’s to a guy you like. When you start to reply, so the guy on the other end sees those anticipatory three dots, then all of a sudden, it disappears and you don’t reply. Heartless. Truly a monster.
- Avoid using ‘okay,’ ‘fine,’ or any other one-word response that can easily be perceived as passive aggressive
First off, don’t be passive aggressive. But then second, don’t send texts that could easily be perceived as passive-aggressive. These one word responses are just cruel. They don’t express what you’re thinking at all, and it’s so unclear if you’re actually upset or not.
- Show an appropriate level of excitement
When I say something that gets you excited, I wanna see CAPS LOCK in your response. I wanna see a dozen exclamation points. I want 6 texts sent right in a row telling me how much you’re freaking out and love it. THAT is what good friends do.
- Don’t attempt to have serious conversations via text
“We need to talk. I’ve been thinking a lot about this and…” Really??? Yes, we need to TALK. Exactly, what you said. We should have this talk in person. Not via text where our tones can easily be misconstrued and taken the wrong way.
- No long essays about your feelings
I get it. It’s a lot easier to write down our feelings than to speak them. It’s okay to have one of those 10-page texts like once a year, but you can’t hide behind texting every time you’re feeling a strong emotion.
- Stop it with the ‘hey’ texts
I’ve written about this before, and people vehemently disagree with me, but I’m holding fast to my beliefs. ‘Hey’ texts drive me completely insane. At least ask something like, “Hi, how are you?” or “What have you been up to?” Get to the point. You’ll notice that real friends don’t simply text each other “Hey.” It’s only people who don’t really know one another. So get to know someone. Ask them a question if you want to talk to them!
- Don’t just stop in the middle of a conversation
Sometimes you can’t help but stop texting right as you’re in the middle of a conversation. Something comes up at work, or you run into a friend on the street. I get it. But what I at least try to do if I can, is say “Hold on, I’ll BRB.” That way he knows not to wait for a response from you.
- End the conversation clearly
This isn’t necessarily a “must-do” when it comes to texting, but it’s greatly appreciated. It’s nice to know when a texting exchange has come to a full stop. I like being able to know that I no longer need to check my phone because we’ve ended the conversation. So a “Talk to you soon!” or “Heading out now!” is always a courteous text to send.
- No unsolicited nudes
So this is more for messaging on sex apps (although I’ve gotten unsolicited nudes via Facebook message, which seems highly inappropriate to me…) Um…just don’t send them? Solicited nudes are great. Asking to send nudes are great. Unsolicited nudes of your asshole are jarring and off-putting. (Even if you have, like, the PERFECT penis…wait until you’re messaging back and forth before sending him that super intimate pic.)
- Be patient
Yes, it’s annoying when someone doesn’t text back right away, but at the same time, don’t follow up like 8 minutes later with a “???” It’s really annoying, and frankly, a little desperate. If you’re trying to set up a time to meet with someone and are waiting for their response, that’s different. (I would say just go ahead and call them at that point.) But if you’re just playfully chatting back and forth, don’t be upset or immediately follow up when someone doesn’t text you back right away.
- If you’re texting someone you haven’t texted in a while…
Let’s say you’re texting someone you haven’t texted in a while. Let’s also say that you both had sex once or twice a few months ago and then never spoke afterwards. Suddenly, you’re thinking about how good that D was and you want some more of it. For the love of God, don’t just send a “hey,” because odds are, he didn’t save your number. He may have forgotten about you completely. You want to avoid the awkward “New phone. Who dis?” So I say, “Hey, it’s Zach. Been a while. What you been up to?” (FYI, this also really increases the likelihood you will get the D again, so it really behooves you to reintroduce yourself and reference the last time you saw one another.)
- Text him the moment you know you’re running late
Let’s say you have a date with a guy. One of the most annoying texts to receive is a “Hey, running late.”But it’s significantly more annoying to receive that text 4 minutes after the proposed meetup time. The moment you know you’re running late, (which should be at least 20 minutes before the date, if not more), let your date know. Also let him know how late. There’s a big difference between twiddling your thumbs at the bar alone for 5 minutes and 30 minutes.
- Don’t text when you’re hanging out with someone
This is a little different than the other tidbits of texting advice I’ve given because it doesn’t have to do with the actual texts themselves, but it’s still important. If you’re hanging out with friends (or on a date with someone) and you’re texting other people the whole time, just know that you’re being really, really rude. I hate how common it’s become to have your phone out at the table when you’re out with someone. Can we go back to having this be considered impolite?
- Text first
I hate this idea that you’re not allowed to text first. What does it even reveal, exactly??? That you like the person?? That you had fun on the date?? That you want to hang out with them again?? These are all good things you want the man that you like, had fun with, and want to hang out with again to know. Playing hard to get works for sex, but then once you’re got (i.e., have sex) then the game is over and he’s done liking you. So text him when you want to text.
- You can call them too…
Just a reminder that you text from your phone. And your phone, originally was for calling. Sometimes things are easier to do by call. (Like set up a time and place to be somewhere.) Some convos shouldn’t be happening over text at all. (Like those long serious convos which I previously discussed.) Don’t forget that your phone is also a goddamn phone.
- Have realistic expectations
Remember that not everyone is a “texter” so to speak. Even many millennials don’t like texting all the damn time. So don’t necessarily expect that he’ll want to text you every day after one date. That’s a lot for many people. You need to gauge his responses. If his responses are curt, and he’s never the one to text you first, then he’s probably not that into you. (Or he may want to slow things down.) You may have come off to strong. But if he’s texting you back within seconds all day, then obviously you can keep texting him as much as you are. The key here is having realistic expectations (and changing how you text depending on the quality and quantity of his responses).