Modern Romance - Texting

August 30, 2016

Hey there! So I recently just finished reading the book “Modern Romance” by Aziz Ansari. Now first, let me say that if you haven’t already, please go ahead and read that book. It’s both hilarious and insightful. Of course, you might think you would never need to read it since you’re popular with the ladies. And that’s fine. Maybe the humor might be worth it?

For the rest of us, however, I thought I’d go over some things I found insightful. Most of what I’ll talk about will be related to what I have experienced, either personally or through close friends. The concept behind purposely waiting to respond to texts!

What about texting?

Texting, and how we purposely wait to respond to a text, is a topic Aziz talks about that really hit home for me. I caught myself doing it. I know friends who did it. Yet, subconsciously I wondered why. Do we all purposely wait a bit before responding to text messages? Even if we are sitting with the screen in our faces, doing absolutely nothing?

Just a year back, I would respond to any text message I got right away. If I’m on my phone, why wait? And the fact that I could respond via my computer, and seeing how I was always on my computer due to my kind of work I do, just made it that much simpler. But over the year, I don’t think I do as much anymore. Let’s go into details why.

Unless I needed some time to think about what to say, I never saw any reason why I should wait before responding. Subconsciously, I think I wanted to be known as the guy who was always dependable. If someone ever had a question, were making plans, needed something right away, I would be there. Yet…it seemed to backfire on me.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that people started taking their time responding. In fact, not just people I had recently met; friends as well. Eventually, I subconsciously started taking my time as well. As time went, it seemed I was getting responses faster now and was better engaged in the discussions.

The rules of texting…apparently

Aziz talks about certain social consensus formed around acceptable texting habits. Some seem weird to me, yet, they are definitely true. It does seem like it’s the norm. Some of these are:

  1. Don’t text back right away. Ah yes, what this post is about. So let’s hold on for a min.
  2. If you text, don’t text back until you get a response. What? Really? Why is this even a thing? I guess to me it doesn’t make sense, especially in those weird situations where the conversation was ended for the night by me. What do I do? Do I wait for her to get back, or do I go ahead and break this “rule”. I think it really is situation dependent :P
  3. Don’t write longer texts that the other person. Damn, I think I break this rule so often. Especially if I’m responding from the computer. Long story short, if you write 200 characters, I should count and try to write less than 201 characters, if possible. Yes, count every one of those letters! It’s important!! Do punctuations count as characters? No idea.

The animals and their food

In the book, Aziz talks about a small research study, where animals are rewarded food under different conditions. If there’s some uncertainty in obtaining the food by pulling a lever, the animals crave the reward, and will instantly pull down the lever. If there’s no uncertainty, on the other hand, they don’t have to worry about whether or not they will get the food, so that “excitement” is not there, and they will take their time pulling that lever.

The same concept would go with humans and texting. Basically, if humans deem the responder as the type who will respond right away, they will take you for granted, and that they can respond whenever, and still always instantly get a response. In a way, your value has somewhat gone down in terms of excitement. The “reward” value is lower, and the other person will not get the urge to text back right away, similar to the animals not pulling the lever right away. I agree. Aziz on point here!

So I was active on CMB…

I remember matching up with 2 people on Coffee Meets Bagel at one point. Sadly, most matches never worked out for me on CMB. There were a few very cool people I met, and some I’m still friends with. I’ll talk about this later If I ever get to a second post, but for now, back to my experience. I got the first match 3-4 days prior to the second, and with the first match, I would almost immediately respond.

I had my notification turned on for the app, and responded soon as I could. She, on the other hand, didn’t. TBH, I think it did make me more anxious and I’d constantly check to see if she texted back. I mean come on, I had notifications on; I didn’t have to do this (-_-). Problem is, she took forever to respond, and eventually I just got tired and never ended asking her out. Ah well.

The second match, I decided to turn off notifications due to having some work I had to finish. What this meant was I was responding maybe once every couple of hours in between breaks. Some days, I responded towards the end of the day. This was not on purpose. I genuinely did get busy with work and having no constant notifications was…nice.

But what this ended up doing was her constantly checking up on me. I actually liked that attention. So I tried it with another match I got thereafter. Same story. More attention. I didn’t think about it much then, but looking back now, apparently it’s scientifically proven! Or so Aziz says.

The grand conclusion of texting in this modern dating world

So what does this all mean? For starters, ladies, gentlemen, looks like not responding instantly yields better results! Doesn’t work for everyone obviously, but see, this is not just for getting attention. I now don’t have notifications on for things like Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger. Keep in mind that I will not purposely ignore you to “play it safe”. I just don’t get the urge to respond almost immediately anymore.

By reducing all this external “noise”, I am not constantly looking at my phone. Sadly, not being in front of the computer is not an option due to my work haha. In turn, I have become a lot more patient, and I’ve been able to focus a lot more on other activities around me. So for everyone reading this, please do put away your phones, especially when you’re on a date ;)

That’s all I had for now. Do follow me on Twitter, Instagram or even Facebook to get an update when I make my next post! I’d love to know your experiences in this new world of modern romance. How often have you caught yourself doing this? What were you thinking as you waited? What do you think of these “rules”?