“Should I text him?” “Should I text him first?”
These are questions we receive a lot.
Trying to figure out when to text can be as baffling as trying to read tone and intention into one.
You might be afraid of how you’ll be perceived if you reach out and equally afraid that you might screw things up if you make the wrong choice.
Over-thinking it is likely, and if you go too far on that train of thought, you might get stuck considering your options rather than acting on them.
Texting is a simple action, but we make the act of it far more complicated than it needs to be. With a little common sense and my life experience, here are some definite answers to your question.
Should You Text Him First? Well, It Depends
Yes – If You Want to Ask Them Out
If you’ve met someone in person or online and would like to go out, text them. You don’t actually have to wait for them to ask you out. You can ask him out just as easily.
If you’re thinking about it, go ahead and do it.
What’s the worst that could happen? It’s rejection, isn’t it? That does feel awful. Just keep in mind that someone else’s lack of interest doesn’t mean you’re not interesting.
Take a chance. It might just work out in your favor.
No – If You’re Intoxicated
If you’re intoxicated or on your way to being intoxicated, the answer is no. Put down your phone. Don’t text. You don’t have your best judgment in the driver’s seat.
And you could embarrass yourself or just make a bad impression on the other person.
You might even find yourself reaching out to an ex when you know you shouldn’t because drunk you is a little more emotional or horny than sober you. It’s best to sober up before texting anyone.
Yes – To Follow Up After a Date (Good or Bad)
If you’ve gone on a date, yes, you should text to follow up. If it was a good time, let them know. Also, if you didn’t feel the connection, let them know that, too.
It might be easier to ghost them, but easier for whom exactly? Whether it went well or not, follow up is required.
The exception is if the person was in some way abusive or toxic. You don’t have to follow up in that case. Block them.
No – If You’re Looking for Outside Validation
If you’re looking for someone to tell you that you’re attractive and desired but have no interest in a relationship with them, you don’t need to text them.
Getting an ego stroke might feel good to you, but it feels awful to the person you’re sourcing it from when it will only ever lead to rejection for them.
Validate yourself. Don’t go looking for it from online dating or from the ex you know is still hung up on you. It might make you feel good, but that doesn’t mean it’s a nice thing to do.
No and Yes – If You’re Looking for Closure from an Ex
The general prevailing wisdom is that you can’t get closure from anyone else. Your ex can’t give you that. You have to provide it for yourself. So, no, don’t text them.
But it’s not the only wisdom out there.
Sometimes, you do need to tie up loose ends. It’s okay to text your ex to ask if they’d be willing to discuss the relationship with you. They might want to have that conversation, or they may not.
You won’t know until you ask. If you go this route, make sure you aren’t crafting unrealistic expectations for the outcome.
It’s a risk, but it could pay off if your ex is mature enough (and so are you) to discuss the problems and come to an understanding.
Recommended read: 10 Signs Your Ex Is Testing You (And What You Can Do)
No – If Nothing Has Changed with the Ex
If you want your ex back but absolutely nothing has changed with them, don’t text them. Save yourself some heartache. You need to move forward.
If it’s meant to be, they’ll get their life together and come back. You can only focus on getting yours in order.
Don’t keep engaging in the same relationship patterns and expecting different results. It won’t work. Instead, let them live their lives, and trust that what’s meant for you isn’t going to pass you by.
Yes – If You Need to Apologize
If you need to make an apology, you should text. Calling or writing a letter or seeing someone in person are also acceptable options. If you want to take responsibility for your behavior, do it.
Just don’t do it to manipulate them into forgiving you.
They may not ever forgive you. That’s their right. Apologizing is for you, not for them.
Keep in mind that apologies require accountability, amends, and genuine remorse. Don’t try to point out everything they did wrong or insist on a path to making it right. All you can do is say sorry, and if you are sorry, you should definitely say it.
No – If You’ve Already Double-Texted Without a Response
If you’ve texted more than once and haven’t gotten a reply, no, you don’t need to text them again. Many people will find repeat texting to be overwhelming, obnoxious, and demanding.
Are you a Stage 5 Clinger? It might come across that way.
People will get back to you when they have time. Or they won’t. Either way is information you need. Don’t keep texting until they reply.
Yes – If You Won’t Regret It Tomorrow
If you won’t regret the text tomorrow, send it out. Just don’t send a text because you’re lonely and horny at midnight but will be done with that feeling by morning.
Make sure your text is authentic to how you feel overall, not how you feel in the moment.
Assess if you’ll regret it later. It matters. Make a good choice for future you.
Big No – If He’s Pulling Away
Men pull away sometimes. They may do that for many reasons. However, when they do it, what they usually need from you is space.
Regardless of the reason behind his distance, the best thing you can do when a man seems aloof or cold is to give him all the space he needs, even if your first reaction is to text or call him.
What you don’t want to do is to overwhelm him with texts or calls and push him away even more.
No – If They’ve Ever Ghosted You
If this person has ever ghosted you, stop texting them. Quit it. You know the answer is no, but for some reason, you’re still giving that person a chance.
Ghosting is disrespectful.
Respect yourself enough to walk away.
Are you making excuses for them? Did you literally just think of an excuse? Stop that. They’re capable of making decisions. Hold them accountable for their choices. You deserve better than someone who would ghost you.
No – If You Need to Talk About Where the Relationship is Headed
Do you need to talk about where the relationship is headed? Don’t text that. That’s an in-person conversation.
Schedule a date to discuss it if you like, but don’t start with “we need to talk”. Everyone hates that. It’s anxiety-provoking.
Serious conversations aren’t meant for texting. Show someone the basic courtesy of having these conversations in person or at least with a phone call.
If it’s going to start an argument or hurt feelings, save it for when you can look them in the eye and do it. Don’t take the easy-for-you way out — unless the relationship is toxic or abusive.
No – If You’re in a Relationship with Someone
If you’re in a relationship, you have absolutely no business texting someone you’re attracted to who’s not your significant other.
Don’t try to call it friends while you’re flirting. Don’t be the person who is busy keeping their future options open, just in case.
Have a little integrity, self-respect, and respect for others by committing to the relationship you’re in or leaving it.
Don’t open up lines of communication that your significant other would be hurt if they knew about them.
Be better than that.
Don’t make texting harder than it needs to be. Decide what you want from the experience and move forward. You might make mistakes along the way.
That’s okay. Just do your best to honor who you are and to be respectful to others.
The truth is that you probably already know the answer.
You were just hoping I’d say what you most want to hear. You can always sleep on it or give it a few hours and then decide. Just know that if you make the wrong choice, you can always choose again. But you can’t un-send that text.