She’ll Text Me, She’ll Text Me Not


Excerpt from this article (we’ve covered Aziz Ansari’s thoughts on dating in the digital age before, but this is a more recent article that gets into a few other fun observations):

One area where there was a lot of debate was the amount of time one should wait to text back. Several people subscribed to the notion of doubling the response time. (They write back in five minutes, you wait 10, etc.) This way you achieve the upper hand and constantly seem busier and less available than your counterpart. Others thought waiting just a few minutes was enough to prove you had something important in your life besides your phone. Some thought you should double, but occasionally throw in a quick response to not seem so regimented (nothing too long, though!). Some people swore by waiting 1.25 times longer. Others argued they found three minutes to be just right. There were also those who were so fed up with the games that they thought receiving timely responses free of games was refreshing and showed confidence.

But does this stuff work? Why do so many people do it? Are any of these strategies really lining up with actual psychological findings?

Texting is a medium that conditions our minds in a distinctive way, and we expect our exchanges to work differently with messages than they did with phone calls. Before everyone had a cell phone, people could usually wait a while—up to a few days, even—to call back before reaching the point where the other person would get concerned. Texting has habituated us to receiving a much quicker response. From our interviews, this time frame varies from person to person, but it can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to even immediately, depending on the previous communication. When we don’t get the quick response, our mind freaks out.

When you are texting someone less frequently, you are, in effect, creating a scarcity of you and making yourself more attractive.