How many times have you sat with a friend agonizing over every last detail of the text you are about to send to the guy you’re seeing? Should you joke around or be straightforward? Is an exclamation point too eager but a period too boring? It’s these seemingly trivial details that can turn sending a text message into a 15-minute (minimum) ordeal.
With technology playing a pretty big role in our relationships now, we’ve got a whole new set of etiquette to keep in mind—textiquette.
Don’t you want to put an end to these preconceived notions of what’s right and what’s wrong? Fantastic—so do we. But for now, let’s simply let guys tell us what they like and what they don’t. We’re taking away the guesswork for you and going straight to the source. Read on to see what real college guys had to say about your texting habits.
Emojis: Are they cute and flirty or immature and annoying?
There was no split in the opinion on this issue. Ladies, you may believe every text necessitates a smiley face to indicate your coquettish intentions, but our panel of guys doesn’t seem to think so. Their thoughts? Everything in moderation.
“I think they can be funny every now and then if the timing is right,” says Murph from Harvard. “They shouldn’t be used in every message, only in the perfect situation.”
According to Nick from the University of Portland, too many emoticons can actually seem a little contrived. “I think they’re kind of silly,” he says. “I feel like girls try too hard to be really cute, but in reality they look super goofy.”
So while these guys aren’t asking that you cut all use of emoticons when texting (the winky face can be one powerful tool in your flirting arsenal), you might want to take a few extra seconds to think about what you’re going to send.
Constant Conversation: How much is too much?
Here’s the thing: we girls love to talk. In fact, it doesn’t matter if we’re speaking, typing or miming our thoughts. We just love to get them out. Boys, on the other hand, are often perfectly fine with only occasional communication. See a problem?
According to the guys we surveyed, the frequency with which you swap texts really depends on the stage of your relationship. Contrary to what a lot of us think, texting a fair amount can do wonders for a guy’s ego when a relationship is just beginning.
“If you are single, the more you text him the better,” says Rob from University of California, Davis. “Guys like girls who make their intentions clear.”
In the end, though, wearing out the send button, no matter how long you’ve been together can be a turn-off. “It becomes really annoying if they text you extremely often,” says Nick from Bucknell University. “To be safe, text a healthy amount and leave room for alone time.”
If he keeps the ball rolling, continue your conversation for as long as you want. But if you find that you’re always the one initiating a conversation, stick to doing so three to four times a day. Let him have a chance to get in touch with you.
Serious Issues: Is it appropriate to bring them up over text?
Texting rids you of certain luxuries that in-person chats offer — facial expressions, body language, tone of voice. This can make it tough to bring up super important things, though there is a bit of gray area.
“Bringing up serious things over text can cool down both sides when they meet,” says Martin from Wentworth Institute of Technology. Murph from Harvard agrees, saying, “You can bring it up, but do the actual discussion in person.”
But the guys did come to a consensus on a certain aspect of this issue. Breakups are one serious topic of conversation that should never show up in a text message.
As Nick from Bucknell University so eloquently put it, “DON’T EVER DO THAT.”
Don’t you agree that your beau deserves a face-to-face discussion at the end of your relationship — and wouldn’t you want one too?
Drunk Texting: Does it make you seem sloppy?
We’ve all done it. There’s a lull in conversation at the party, and after one too many drinks you’re sending a semi-nonsensical text to your crush/date/boyfriend. There’s no taking it back, so let’s move forward and find out what he thinks.
Most of the guys we surveyed agreed that an occasional non-sober message isn’t the end of the world. Nick from the University of Portland even says, “It is hard to be critical about this because I drunk text too much for sure.” Got to love his honesty, right?
There were two major no-nos that many of the guys brought up. First, drunk texting all the time can get annoying. “If it’s an excessive amount, like if she is doing it every time she is drunk, it’s a turn-off,” says Sean from the University of Maine. “I don’t want to only talk to her when she’s drunk,” agrees Mike from Northeastern University.
The other thing the guys didn’t approve of was bringing up a subject that you aren’t normally (read: soberly) willing to talk about. “If there are things she only feels comfortable bringing up when she’s drunk it can cause some weird vibes,” says Nick from the University of Portland.
Sexting: Sexy or desperate?
Talk about differing opinions. Our panel of guys was all over the place on this one. What it comes down to is this: if sexting fits into the kind of relationship you have, go for it.
“It definitely depends on the time, delivery and relationship,” says Murph from Harvard. “It could be sexy at one time and received completely wrong at a different time.”
And as much as the guys love sexy time, many agreed that a phone barrier isn’t necessary. “I don’t communicate very well through texting, so I prefer face-to-face interaction,” says Nick from the University of Portland. Rob from University of California, Davis agrees, saying, “I’d rather see her in person.”
Remember, there are some dangers to sexting, whether your guy likes it or not. Because of this, Mike from Northeastern University says it leans toward desperate. “Sexting is immature because those photos shouldn’t be out there,” he says. “It isn’t guaranteed that only one set of eyes will see them. We are in a world of technology, and social media rules everyone’s lives.”
The Waiting Game: What is a good response time?
Put yourself in your guy’s shoes here, ladies. We know, you have a life outside of your phone, but would you be happy having to wait hours on end to receive each text message?
As Chris from University of Massachusetts says, “Nothing kills a conversation like when the partner is responding 22 minutes after every text.”
It’s totally fine if you don’t have the time to bounce messages back and forth in a timely fashion. Just clue your guy in so he’s not sitting, wondering what happened. (Yes, guys obsess over these things, too!) So, what do they really want?
We asked, they spilled.
“Don’t give me a one-word or letter answer like ‘k’.” – Mike, Northeastern University.
“Texting is fine when it comes to simple things like meeting up or figuring out plans, but your real personality is usually way better/sexier/cuter. Be confident and show who you really are in person!” – Nick, University of Portland
“Never ever in your life text ‘We need to talk.’ or ‘Can we talk?’” – Nick, Bucknell University
“Single girls should text guys they are interested in more. As long as you don’t come off as pathetic, texting often is fine.” – Rob, University of California, Davis
So there you have it, your very own non-rule book guide to texting!