I have a confession to make. Sometimes I ignore your text messages.
It's not that I don't see them. And truly, it's not that I don't care. But frankly, it's often a better look for me when I don't respond.
You see, I don't feel comfortable texting you because it's not a comfortable thing to do.
This is kind of what it feels like.
You text me.
I think about how I want to respond, how you want me to respond.
I think about how I can best express my interest in you without appearing desperate.
What can I say that advances our conversation, but doesn't turn you off?
How, with a single text, can I strike the delicate balance between chasing and being chased?
I start composing a draft.
Obviously, I don't want you to see the bubbles that activate when I'm typing, so I conduct my dirty work in the privacy of a notepad.
When I'm satisfied with the draft, I copy it from my notes and paste it into our conversation.
But to my dismay, I discover that the sentence doesn't fit neatly within the text box. The last word is hanging awkwardly on a line by itself, which triggers the OCD in me. So, I have to erase the entire thing and start from scratch.
By the time I'm done crafting a coherent message that fits neatly within the text box and meets my strategic objectives, a suspicious amount of time has lapsed. And by now, there's no doubt about it... You know that I'm overthinking the shit out of this.
So here I am panicking. And to make matters worse, my roommates are heckling me, complaining that I never set my fantasy football lineup.
I'm about to paste my final draft into our conversation and press send. But, rushing to do so, I accidentally type "qw" into the textbox.
Now I'm really f*cked because you see that I'm typing and you're going to see that I stop typing and then start again, thanks to the brilliant typing awareness indicator.
In my mind, I'm sure that you're watching me struggle, scrutinizing and even loathing me for my indecisiveness.
With haste, I erase the "qw" and proceed to paste the good copy from my notepad. Maybe I dodged a bullet, I think. Maybe you weren't watching me.
Finally, I'm ready to dispatch the text. I quickly hit send and sit back to twiddle my thumbs.
A grueling hour passes.
You still haven't responded.
I can't help but check the status of my message.
Delivered, it reads.
As night falls and darkness rolls in, I picture you sitting there, knuckles white as a ghost as you clasp your cold phone, laughing hysterically with your girlfriends. Laughing because I said too much, or maybe too little, or took too long.
Meanwhile, I lie awake in bed, waiting to hear from you. And suddenly, an epiphany hits me like a ton of bricks.
I don't care what you think about me, at least, not where my texting game (or lack thereof) is concerned.
After all, you texted me first... And what... am I expected to just drop everything and arrange the perfect words in exactly the right order so that I sweep you off your feet?
How could I possibly do that when you can't hear the tone in my voice?
How can I arouse you when you can't see the warmth in my body language?
I couldn't. I can't. I exhaust the totality of my brain's attentional resources just plotting how to seduce you with emojis.
And you know what? I can't do it anymore.
I'm sick of this shit. I'm done playing these games. And I know that you are too.
It's time to accept that texting is broken. While still efficient for exchanging bits of information, it's an ineffective way to express how you feel.
I'm not saying that I'll never text you again, because I will... Probably in the next five minutes.
And I'm not saying that you should never text me again either, because you should, when it's appropriate.
But text me when it makes sense to text, call me when it makes sense to call and close your phone when it makes sense to disconnect from it all.
With no time left to waste, I suck in my deepest breath. I select your name from my contact list. I call.
The phone rings. I wait.
It rings again. You answer.
"I'm coming over," I say.
I power down my phone.