It’s Wednesday night. Your phone is buzzing away with responses from your newest potential S.O. who you’ve been texting for a few days now. You’ve not yet had your first date. In fact, the subject of first-date plans hasn’t even been breached. You’re not stressing though — this person is witty, sexy AF, and always responds to your texts within two minutes. They’ll ask you out eventually, and the rest will be history.

That is, until they say the thing. You know, the question or phrase that immediately sends your eyeballs to the back of your head? The one that makes your muscles clench so tightly that you may need to visit your chiropractor the following day for an adjustment? The text that has you contemplating ghosting the mofo after days of entertaining banter and built up anticipation?

However, it’s 2019. Ghosting is ancient history. We’ve evolved into a culture that addresses its annoying grievances head on (or so we say/hope). So take a sip of wine, crack your knuckles, and be prepared to offer these epic clapbacks that’ll take the edge off of crafting the perfect reply.

1. “Wyd?”

You know what these three letters say? They know the conversation is slowly starting to fade, but instead of taking the time to ask you something more interesting and telling of your fantastic personality and worldly experiences, they’d rather know what you’re doing at 8:43 p.m. on a Wednesday night. If you’re anything like me, that’s probably sitting in bed Googling your astrological compatibility while rocking a hyaluronic acid sheet mask. For obvious reasons, among them not wanting to explain what “hyaluronic acid” is, you cannot divulge that info. Offer this response instead:

Well, [insert name here], that’s a loaded question. I mean, what are any of us doing? Are we just existing on a rock that’s floating in space, mere specks in a colossal and unfathomable universe? Or do we actually matter, in which case, I’d be happy to tell you exactly what I’m doing right now. Breathing. Existing. Thriving.

This response will either ensure you’ll never hear from them again (good riddance) or transform an otherwise bleak conversation into one about existentialism and aliens. If the latter proves true, they’re a keeper.

2. “I’m just at home chillin. Bored haha you should come keep me company.”

Go through any single woman’s texts and she’ll have at least four messages nearly identical to this one (probably from numbers she hasn’t saved). Most of them do not receive a response, and that’s totally fine. This certain message is a shot in the most massive black hole in the galaxy, yet people, often people you’ve been talking to for approximately five minutes, still type it out and hit “send” daily. What makes this person believe you’d venture to a stranger’s house for the sake of keeping their “bored” ass company? Unbelievable. Again, you do not have to respond to this, but if choose to, your reply should go along the lines of this:

A Comprehensive List Of Things I’d Rather Do Than Keep You Company:

  1. Read the dictionary.
  2. Do my taxes. By myself.
  3. Explain the Jordyn Woods/Khloe Kardashian drama to my dad. Again.
  4. Go grave digging.
  5. Become a TSA officer.
  6. Get called out at In-N-Out for putting Sprite in my water cup.
  7. Pull out my eyelashes one by one.
  8. Listen to my mom tell that story again without interrupting to tell her I’ve already heard it five times.

Chances are you won’t get a response, so feel free to get creative here. Then copy and paste it into your Notes app for safe keeping. You’ll probably need to put it to use again someday — or you know, tomorrow.

3. “??”

You’re at work and are racing to meet a deadline. You’re on your last few sets at the gym. Or maybe you dozed off while trying to watch “Game of Thrones” for the 15th time. Whatever the case may be, you’re a little preoccupied and, for once, not chained to your phone. When you’re finally able to check back in to the reality that is Instagram Stories and text messages, you find this one. No matter what the precursor to this act of textual aggression may be, this is straight-up rude and needs to be addressed with professionalism and a side of “don’t fuck with me:”

Hey there! So sorry! I was busy living my life! You have one of those, too, right? If not, let me know and I’ll tell you where to get one! (Hint: It isn’t wherever they teach that it’s okay to follow up a text with not one, but multiple question marks.)

Okay, maybe take it easy on the aggression, but you get the idea. Double question marks are a nuisance not to be tolerated any longer.

4. “Send me a selfie.”

This is the worst offense, so it’s fine to roll your eyes long and hard when you receive it, even if you’re in public. If someone asks you what’s going on, simply show them this text, and you’ll almost certainly receive an understanding nod or groan in response. Is the sender your agent? Dermatologist? Potential new hairstylist? No? Then, why do they need a headshot? Obviously, don’t send the selfie. Instead:

[insert your Instagram handle here]

That’s it. The message is clear: you have no intention of sending them a selfie, but there is a wonderful place they can go to see all of the selfies their weird heart desires. And you gain an active follower in the process. Everyone wins.