How long between texts is too long?

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How long between texts is too long? Empty How long between texts is too long?

Post by PlasticFruit on Sat May 23, 2015 7:28 am

So I have been dating this guy for a bit. 5 dates over the last month and a half. We had a really nice date weekend before last and he texted me early in the week to get my work schedule. I sent it to him and he didn't respond to that, but messaged me about a few other things and stopped. No messages. After a couple of days I sent him a message. Sent another the day after. After day 6, I sent him a message online in case something had happened to his phone. After a week he messaged me back basically saying oh sorry, he has been really busy with friends and work. Is it just me, or does this feel like a brush off? I'm responding to his texts, but am going to leave off pursuing unless he does so first. To me, 2-3 days without texting or some sort of contact is about as long as I'm going to go. Maybe it is a cultural difference thing? Would like to know what fellow nerds think!

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Post by jcorozza on Sat May 23, 2015 9:17 am

I agree, it sounds like a brush off. He might not think it is, but that's how it would read to most people. I'm rather sick of people saying, "I was really busy" as their excuse. It takes, what, one minute to send a text? Everyone's busy, but some of us are able to make the time to communicate with other people. One minute a day of someone's time really isn't much to ask. If he was traveling or in surgery or somewhere else that would make using a phone difficult or impossible, that would be one thing (though personally, I think if that's the case, that person should tell you ahead of time, especially if there was regular contact before that). Even though it's only been 5 dates (had you talked about getting more serious?), to me it's a bad sign if he can't be bothered to send a text once every day or so. I may be biased, though, because this is one of my pet peeves, and it has come up for me recently a couple of times. In my experience, if people can't be bothered to communicate this early on, at the stage when they're trying to impress, it probably won't get better. Now, it might be good to talk about this with him first - it sounds like regular communication is something that you value. He might not realize this bothers you. But if you talk about it, and he doesn't make any effort to change this? Not a good sign.
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Post by Enail on Sat May 23, 2015 11:40 am

As someone who's slightly horrified at the idea of having to be in touch every day with someone that I've been seeing for less than 2 months, I just want to point out that this is something where age and cultural difference (even subcultures within the same general group) makes a big difference to norms. I'm guessing I'm a fair bit older than you so this might not be a likely factor, but if he is from an environment where texting isn't the primary or preferred form of communication, he may be seeing this totally differently and be slightly stressed out that you keep continuing the thread of texts when he doesn't even see that as a way one might want to have a conversation.

That might mean you can find some compromise ground of preferred means, frequency and style with him, or it might mean you're just not compatible with each other. Either way, probably something you need to discuss.
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Post by Hirundo Bos on Sat May 23, 2015 12:40 pm

jcorozza wrote:I agree, it sounds like a brush off.  He might not think it is, but that's how it would read to most people.  I'm rather sick of people saying, "I was really busy" as their excuse.  It takes, what, one minute to send a text?  Everyone's busy, but some of us are able to make the time to communicate with other people.  One minute a day of someone's time really isn't much to ask.  If he was traveling or in surgery or somewhere else that would make using a phone difficult or impossible, that would be one thing (though personally, I think if that's the case, that person should tell you ahead of time, especially if there was regular contact before that).  Even though it's only been 5 dates (had you talked about getting more serious?), to me it's a bad sign if he can't be bothered to send a text once every day or so.  I may be biased, though, because this is one of my pet peeves, and it has come up for me recently a couple of times.  In my experience, if people can't be bothered to communicate this early on, at the stage when they're trying to impress, it probably won't get better.   Now, it might be good to talk about this with him first - it sounds like regular communication is something that you value.  He might not realize this bothers you.  But if you talk about it, and he doesn't make any effort to change this?  Not a good sign.

To me at least, the time and effort it takes to communicate by text is not equal to the what it takes to type the message. You'll have to add, at the least, time and effort to process and digest what the other person says, and time and effort to switch my mind from think-mode to communicate-mode. In many cases there are also varieties of social anxiety to be dealt with. That takes effort in itself, and makes communication even more effortful.

It's not unreasonable to prefer people that choose/are able to put in that effort – just as it's not unreasonable to be a person who doesn't choose/have the ability to. It's as Enail said. A matter of compatibility. And if someone has an unusually long response rate, I do think they have a responsibility to raise it as an issue.

But it's just... well, it's a thing I frequently exhaust myself on, so I don't quite agree with the "it takes what, one minute"?

That said, and back to PlasticFruit, so yeah, I'd say that the disparity between your message rate and your date's can be read as either brushing off or at least an attempt to dial down. Maybe conscious, maybe not. It doesn't sound like a bad idea to leave the initiative to him for a while. (And/or ask straight out if you're reading him right.)
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Post by Caffeinated on Sat May 23, 2015 2:14 pm

"Busy" could mean a lot of things. It could mean major life emergency that he doesn't feel close enough to you yet to tell you about (medical thing, family thing, etc). It could mean work went crazy on him and his response to stress is to hunker down alone until things improve. It could mean he's been seeing someone else and is getting more interested in them. It could mean he's starting to feel more comfortable with you and is reverting to his normal rate of messaging instead of a heightened newly dating level of messaging.

I think the thing that makes it seem like a brush-off is if there's a change in the frequency of messages. If his message rate has just been less frequent than yours the entire time you've known him, then that points to a possible age/cultural difference like Enail said. But if he's been messaging regularly and then disappears without explanation, to me that says his level of interest has changed.
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Post by jcorozza on Sat May 23, 2015 8:27 pm

Caffeinated wrote:

I think the thing that makes it seem like a brush-off is if there's a change in the frequency of messages. If his message rate has just been less frequent than yours the entire time you've known him, then that points to a possible age/cultural difference like Enail said. But if he's been messaging regularly and then disappears without explanation, to me that says his level of interest has changed.

Completely agreed on this - and it sounds like this is the case (and it also sounds like he was aware that his response rate had change - unless the OP had mentioned it to him?). But to me, it doesn't seem that hard or time consuming to say, "hey, things are hectic/bad/whatever, can't text for awhile". I guess some people might take longer to come up with that message than others, but it's not one that needs to be particularly clever or interesting, and from someone who was otherwise texting more regularly, it seems odd that they couldn't bother. I've noticed this with OKC messages, too. If a guy has consistently only message once every couple of days, or even once a week, that's fine. But one guy was messaging me once, sometimes twice a day, and then he disappeared...for like 3 months. He came back and was like, "oh, I was busy with work". And expected me to still be interested. Like...really? It's definitely the break in the pattern that bugs me the most, though, too
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Post by reboundstudent on Sat May 23, 2015 10:44 pm

Caffeinated wrote:
I think the thing that makes it seem like a brush-off is if there's a change in the frequency of messages. If his message rate has just been less frequent than yours the entire time you've known him, then that points to a possible age/cultural difference like Enail said. But if he's been messaging regularly and then disappears without explanation, to me that says his level of interest has changed.

I think that's a very important point. The other concerning thing for me is that it took you several times of initiating for him to bring up "Sorry really busy" response. My worldview suggests that dating partners, even early-stage dating partners, should be communicating "in broad strokes", meaning they should be communicating in some way in some frequency. Him being really busy explains why he didn't promptly answer you, but having to be poked multiple times suggests a brush-off, to me. Even someone who doesn't text/communicate frequently but really likes their date would get the hint after a few days of silence and then a "Echo" text, and be quick to respond to that.

Jcorozza, I've had that experience so many times I started to wonder if I had accidentally slipped some subliminal message into my profile. I'd message a guy, he'd respond, we'd go back and forth for a few days/weeks, and then suddenly.... poof, disappearing. Okay, fine, I venture on, only to have him pop up suddenly weeks/months later as if no time lapse had occurred. Maybe I was unintentionally filtering out for time travelers?

My weirdest one was a guy who went silent on me after only 2 or 3 messages. Hey, understandable. He suddenly responded 3 months after my last message, and said "Huh. Don't know why I stopped messaging. Anyway, here was my summer...." Like, dude, really?

A 201 piece of online dating advice I'd give to guys is: If you do decide to suddenly start messaging a girl again after a long period of silence, you need to at least acknowledge that you were either not interested before, started dating someone else, unable to understand the passage of time, or are really bad at 1-to-1 message-answer communication.
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Post by reboot on Sat May 23, 2015 11:02 pm

reboundstudent wrote:....

A 201 piece of online dating advice I'd give to guys is: If you do decide to suddenly start messaging a girl again after a long period of silence, you need to at least acknowledge that you were either not interested before, started dating someone else, unable to understand the passage of time, or are really bad at 1-to-1 message-answer communication.    

Or fess up to being a member of the Chronoguard or other time traveling group
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Post by jcorozza on Sat May 23, 2015 11:06 pm

reboundstudent wrote: Maybe I was unintentionally filtering out for time travelers?

Hahaha. How can I filter time travelers back in?

reboundstudent wrote: My weirdest one was a guy who went silent on me after only 2 or 3 messages. Hey, understandable. He suddenly responded 3 months after my last message, and said "Huh. Don't know why I stopped messaging. Anyway, here was my summer...." Like, dude, really?

A 201 piece of online dating advice I'd give to guys is: If you do decide to suddenly start messaging a girl again after a long period of silence, you need to at least acknowledge that you were either not interested before, started dating someone else, unable to understand the passage of time, or are really bad at 1-to-1 message-answer communication.    

I mean, I guess if people want to half-ass it, that's up to them, but they shouldn't expect that other people are doing it that way, or that others will be completely on board with them coming in and out every month or so.

The other thing I don't get is, it's fairly common for people to have to respond to work emails within a certain period of time. I've had two jobs with this requirement. And while I get that early on, your job is more important than a person you've gone out with a few times, it's considered standard for people to check and respond to messages at least once in a 24-hour period (and lets be honest, those of you out there with smartphones, and I'm guessing that is most if not all of you, sometimes it's as frequently as once an hour). When I'm in the kind of situation where they guy responds not so regularly, I feel like I can't respond for awhile, or I'll look desperate and needy (and science forbid women look desperate and needy!), and it becomes this dumb game of "when is it okay to respond" that just gives me more anxiety, and feels very unnatural. Sometimes I wish I were dating at a time without smart phones or email!
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Post by PlasticFruit on Sun May 24, 2015 4:53 am

Thanks for your replies everybody! You have reinforced what I have felt.

Mainly, that 6 days is too long when we had been communicating every day or at least every other day. I think the biggest sign is that I have messaged my availability to meet and he has not responded to that. Add the fact that he hasn't upped the communication since I pointed out that he's dropped off; I think it isn't worth the energy.

Enail: I'm in my mid-thirties. My usual minimum expectation is contact every other day unless there is a date planned. However, I usually have much more communication with people I'm dating because if we really like each other there tends to not be enough time to say everything in person.

jcorozza: I know what you mean about how often to respond! I sometimes feel the same way! Especially when I have my phone on me for work and there is nothing to do. For general sanity I do try and lock my phone away for 30 minute stints throughout the day and at any other time just shrug my shoulders and respond if I have something to say. If I come across as desperate and needy, well he just needs to get to know me better in that case!

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Post by Enail on Sun May 24, 2015 12:01 pm

I think mid-thirties, which is me too, is right about the cutoff line. People older are likely to not be texting-style communicators and might prefer less frequent but longer phone or email conversations, and people younger almost certainly will be texters, but around this age, there's a bit of a mix between the two - I've seen a fair bit of frustration from mismatches in my extended social group.

But since it sounds like you'd previously been communicating much more frequently and like he hasn't been responsive to your pointing it out or to your suggestion of meeting up, I think y'all are right on this one.
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