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How Soon is Too Soon? 6 Unspoken Rules of Double Texting

Let’s be honest — no one actually prefers talking on the phone anymore. Just thinking about answering a phone call gives you anxiety, right? (And don’t even get started on checking voicemails.)

Texting has become the standard for communicating in the modern world, and because of society’s need to create “rules” for every social norm, there are now guidelines for texting someone new.

Enter: Double texting.

What Is Double Texting?

Imagine you sent a text to someone you just started dating. You offer up a date idea and ask if they would like to meet up on Saturday night. Then you wait…and wait. (And wait some more.) You start getting anxious, so you follow up with a single question mark, hoping that will get them to respond.

Boom — you’re a prime example of double texting. (Which isn’t typically a good thing.)

The simple definition of double texting is this: You send two or more text messages to someone before they send you a response. The general idea is that someone who can’t wait long enough for a response (and thus texts again) is clingy, needy, and lacking the social decency needed to give someone time to respond.

In a word? Double texting looks…desperate. If you’re dating someone new, double texting is a quick way to turn them off.

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Is Double Texting Ever Okay?

Experts agree that there are two (count ‘em, two) scenarios in which double texting is totally fine. The first is called a “need-to-know’ scenario. For example, you and your date planned to meet at the local coffee shop at 6 PM, but when you arrive, it’s closed. You text your date about it, and after 10 minutes, you still don’t have a response. In that case, it’s fine to send a follow-up. (You are sitting by yourself in a coffee shop parking lot, after all.)

The other time it’s okay to double text is during a “resolution” scenario. Let’s say you and your date made plans to meet at the beach on Saturday at 2 PM, so you send a text Friday afternoon to confirm. It’s now Saturday morning at 11 AM, and you still haven’t gotten a response. A simple follow-up that says, “Excited for the beach today! 2 PM, right?” is a great example of an acceptable double text.

The “Rules” of Double Texting

So, what is the protocol around double texting? Are there unspoken “rules” to follow?

You bet! Here are some general guidelines when it comes to double texting:

1. Think about why you want to double text

What is the reason you’re thinking about sending a double text? Are you feeling paranoid or panicky? Unfortunately, all that anxiety comes out as a double text, and the person you’re sending it to will probably know that.

Unless you’re in a “need-to-know” or “resolution” scenario, a double text isn’t worth it. Basically, if you’re sending a double text to ease your own insecurities or to ask the same question in a different (but still obvious) way, then don’t do it.

2. If you’re swapping stories, double texting is usually fine

No one likes to read a mile-long paragraph while texting. If you and your new love interest are exchanging stories or your answer to their question is a bit drawn out, it’s okay to send multiple texts in a row to break up the text — it’s much easier for the reader.

3. There’s really not a “right” time to send a double text

You may be thinking, “How long do I have to wait before sending a double text?” Here’s the deal: If you’re dating someone new, a day or even a few days is a totally acceptable amount of time for them to send a response.

It can feel agonizing on your end, but try to give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, you’re just getting to know them! Maybe work got crazy or, worse, they had a death in the family. Try your best to give them the space they need to reply.

4. Double texting depends on your relationship

In general, double texting is usually frowned upon. However, it really does depend on your relationship and how long you’ve been dating. If your new love interest innocently double texts all the time, then maybe it’s okay for you to throw a few into the mix every now and then.

Along these lines, if you’ve been dating for years and know that your partner needs an extra nudge, that’s fine too. If the two of you have just met, try to avoid double texting — it’s not the best first impression.

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5. Be direct if you want an answer

Don’t be vague! If you want an answer, ask a clear, direct question. Instead of “There’s a great new seafood joint downtown,” say, “Would you want to check out that new seafood joint downtown with me at 7 PM this Friday?” You can’t fully expect someone to respond if you leave your text cryptic or open-ended.

6. Remember that no response is a response

Unfortunately, there are times when a person may not respond to a text simply because they aren’t interested. If you find yourself waiting a week to hear back from someone, it’s probably best to take it for what it is and learn from the experience. If someone wants to respond to you, they will — it really is that simple.

So, are you guilty of double texting? While it’s perfectly fine in certain situations, you’re better off avoiding it when texting someone new. Of course, if you find that they rarely respond to texts in a timely manner, and you prefer someone who communicates a little better, it might be best to move on! Take it as a sign that your communication styles don’t align. In that case, send a double text — and say goodbye.

Do you and your partner know each other’s communication styles? Learn more with Relish, our award-winning relationship coaching app! Get access to therapist-approved quizzes, lessons, games, and more. Download the app to take our free relationship quiz!

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