The Art of the Double Text

Knowing When It’s Okay To Send Another Message

I didn’t get a cellphone until I was 18 years old in high school and, instead of the touchscreen phones everyone else had, guess what I was given to use? That’s right, I had a flip phone for my very first phone. The teasing from my classmates was brief, and I soon delved into the world of messaging people whenever I wanted to.

This quickly expanded once I got to university, and met more people who were soon added to my phone. College was also the start of my dating life where I had no one to guide me through the nuances that come with courting someone. My parents are of the older generation, unfamiliar with today’s dating scene, and my friends weren’t good examples either when it came to it. One thing in common when it comes to starting relationships – whether it’s acquaintances, friends, or romantic partners – is communicating through the phone. Nowadays phone calls are not as common, when compared to texting, which is a shame. However, texting is convenient in many different situations.

It can be casual, nervous, exciting, frustrating and more when it comes to hitting that Send button to someone that you’re talking with. Sometimes they answer almost immediately, it might take a couple of minutes, or maybe over an hour. And sometimes, they may not reply the entire day. Some people simply let it go, until they finally get that reply, while others might begin to get anxious or worried as to why they haven’t responded yet. Did something happen to them? Are they ignoring me? Was what I said very bad? Lots of thoughts can swirl the mind, trying to figure out why they haven’t responded, and then the idea comes into your head: Let’s send another text to them.

Double texting – where one sends another message or more after not receiving a reply – is pretty common as we all have done it at least once in our lives. But there comes a point where double texting can turn from being okay to a complete turnoff.

So why do some people do it?

It can stem from several different reasons. It could be to re-emphasize what was previously said as a reminder, it might be to shift gears and go to a different topic, or it might be out of desperation to maintain interest. That anxiety mentioned earlier is what could lead to the last one coming to light. It’s more common when it comes to dating, but even some friends or people we’re getting to know can do this. So how do we know when it’s okay to double text and when it isn’t? Here’s how:

The Emergency Notifications

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An obvious situation where sending follow-up texts later is alright is when there’s been an emergency. Whether it’s medical, career, event change or whatever requiring immediate notification then by all means forego waiting and send that message ASAP. Whatever the reason may be that the other person couldn’t respond in a timely fashion is in the past, as it’s important to update them about the breaking news. Even good emergencies, like finding out you’re getting married or won a contest, is something that can be shared even if the last text hasn’t been responded to.

Knowing Your Audience

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This is where we separate people into the ones we know very, very well and the ones we’re still getting to know. Over time, the ones that we know better eventually develop that mental understanding of how often, how quickly, this person will respond to us. From there, we develop an accustom to said behavior.

This might be more common here in the U.S., but in typical text conversations with friends and family there tends to be no ‘closure’ to a chat. There’s no “good nights” or “Talk to you laters”, maybe some “oks” or “on my ways” here and there, as the conversations usually just stop and resume whenever with no hurt feelings. We’re used to that here, while someone in France or Brazil might not be familiar with this and consider it rude to just up and leave chat like that. So it’s important when talking with someone newer in your life to take some effort and send that extra text to let one know that the conversation is taking a pause or change of direction.

I mentioned earlier that double texting not only occurs in dating, but in friendships too. While many of my best friends and I don’t text each other every day, when we do we text a lot and double texting isn’t bad. However, when I made friends in grad school, it was almost the opposite. One in particular would always be curious why I’d vanish for a long time before replying. Now, in general, he is someone who needs attachment and hates seeing people go in his life. Meanwhile, another friend I made in grad school actually tends to vanish more on me than I feel I typically do. I never know when I’ll hear from them again. This is why I emphasize knowing who you’re talking with. Everyone has different personalities and preferences when it comes to relationships and communication.

Hot & Cold

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While knowing who you’re talking to allows you to know whether you’ll be carrying conversations or not, it also lets you know what you might expect on the other end of the phone line. I’ve mentioned that friend who doesn’t respond so much, which also involves work-life and being a parent as reasons. There will be people similar to that where it might seem like they are cold to you. They don’t respond often, and when they do it could be short or long replies. Keep in mind not only environmental, but personal preferences as well. Maybe some prefer talking on the phone or in person. For me, it’s definitely in person, then on the phone, followed by texting last.

I was never a criminal double-texter, but I did it more often in college thinking it was okay; even if I hesitated doing it. Yes, as I navigated the dating scene, I began to learn when someone was/wasn’t interested in me. Messages never responded to, one word replies, lack of excitement in the chat – younger me wasn’t great at seeing those signs. The same came when it was meeting potential new friends, and their disinterest in wanting to hang out much. Eventually, that lack of responses and long wait times tempered down my expectations for people in general, and so probably turned me into one of those people that don’t respond immediately (unless emergency). I began to focus on myself, and let people and conversations flow naturally. Talking in person is in the moment, and can be more personal, which I like as opposed to texting. If I’m the last to send a message, and don’t get a reply, I tend to let the chat sit there until they have time to respond.

However, I’ve come across some people who were a bit too eager (some may say desperate) to keep chatting quick and often. Earlier, we talked of people who can be cold and un-responsive to texts, but there are also people who are hot and send/want texts quick. One such time happened with me, about 5-6 years ago, with someone I was getting to know. It was the early stages of getting to know a date, and we texted as we started planning for our upcoming meetup. As I said, sometimes we are busy with work/family/life, and so we can’t respond as quickly as we want. With this person, however, if I didn’t reply within an hour, they’d send another text. And then another. Then another. It was texts that were clearly meant to add on to what was previously said; even asking if there was anything wrong with what they said. That’s a no-no when it comes to reasons to double text: Never send another text to verify how the conversation is going or to pointlessly tack on to the prior message.

There are other examples you may have experienced where the person you’re talking to just spams you with messages; trying to get your attention or maintain it. It’s different from sending multiple messages at the same time, which is to break apart a long response as opposed to one super long text. This is someone who doesn’t leave well enough alone, wanting to get something now. If you find yourself in such a situation where you’re dying to get a reply, or feel tempted to send another text, do your best to refrain from doing so. Sending another text/s may seem like it’ll stoke the fire and hasten a response, but more than likely it turns the other person off being bothered or demanded to respond on your terms. It’s an easy way to lose out on a potential date or friend. Or just simply lose out on a good conversation, because of impatience and worry.

Conclusion

The issue with double texting is knowing when to stop yourself from doing it. Is it truly necessary to send another text? If it’s coming from a positive intent, and not a desperate/overthinking/needy one, then it’s alright to send another text. But if the goal is to maintain attention or obtain validation, knowing they may be busy, then it isn’t okay. It can be annoying to the person who’s preoccupied to receive this constantly. And if left ignored, it only makes the sender feel more lost and worried.

Again, if it’s coming from pure intent then by all means send another text. Alert them of an emergency or change of plans. Found an updated article you want to share? By all means share. Know who you are talking to. If it’s someone who prefers phone calls or in-person chats instead of texting, then don’t double text often with them. If it’s someone who can be forgetful and needs reminders, then send those reminder texts if they haven’t confirmed yet.

Eventually, you’ll learn the person you’re talking with both personality-wise and culturally. You’ll be able to adapt and know how conversations will go with someone. You’ll see who’s cold and who’s hot. It’s not easy at first, when getting to know someone, but self-control and letting the chat flow naturally is best. And if they don’t reply, then wait at least a day but preferably a couple of days before sending another text if you must. It’s good to make an effort and reach out to someone, but if they don’t reply it’s okay to let it go. The ball’s in their court now, so just let it come to you when it does. Most people will eventually find the time and get back to you, and if they never do then there’s other great people who’ll make the time for you. In the meantime, live your life like you’ve been doing before and you’ll be okay. . .


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