Texting is a very hard part of dating. Everyone feels so much pressure around it (myself included). But when you break it down, you’re just sending a string of words on a rectangular device through a tower that then shows up on someone’s else’s talk box. Kind of weird when you think about it that way. Anyway, I digress. The point is, there are about a million other things we could spend time agonizing over when it comes to dating if we just ignored these horrendous rules.

1. Wait for them to reply to your last message instead of ever double texting.

It may seem like you’re asserting some sort of power when you wait for the other person to make a move. But really, you’re just torturing yourself. And guess what? They may be waiting for you to text them. It’s a vicious cycle. If you have something to say, say it! If you were having a conversation IRL, you wouldn’t sit there in silence, waiting for the other person to utter something first if you had another thought to voice. That would be really heckin’ awkward.

2. Don’t text back immediately or you’ll look like a desperate loser with no friends.

A wise friend once told me that she sees nothing wrong with texting a romantic interest back right away — she’s available to chat then, so why not capitalize on that? If you ever see this tall, smart-looking brunette, please give her a high five for her wisdom. Look, if you’re not at work or some kind of event, my bet is on you being in your bed scrolling through Instagram. And unless you don’t want to lose your place in your feed (IG really needs to fix that), you have time to answer. Do it. The dude or dudette or non-binary human you’re texting likes you enough and knows you have friends. It’s fine. 

3. If you don’t reply immediately, you must grovel.

We have (busy) lives. Or sometimes, we just forget to respond. Unless you go MIA for a week, in which case some semi-long-winded apology is probably in order, you can feel OK about not answering someone for a few hours. Just reply and pick up where you left off. There’s no need for TMI about how you were in the bathroom because you had cheese for lunch. (What kind of cheese was it, BTW? I hope not burrata. Please don’t ruin burrata for me.)

4. When they ask how you are, you have to act like everything is sunshine and rainbows.

Hey, not sure if you knew this, but you’re human. And part of being human is having emotions. Sometimes you have a shitty day. It’d be kind of suspicious if you always replied to a casual “how are you?” or ‘what’s up?” with “Everything is amazing. Live, laugh, love!” Also, never say “live, laugh, love.” It’s OK to let someone know that your day has been a day, and you’re ready for a stiff drink. That might just segue into them asking if you need someone to sip margaritas with. Smooth.

5. You must mirror the time it took them to text you.

This is just petty. I promise you that the person you’re chatting with isn’t counting the minutes you took to respond and comparing it to their own response time. That would be bizarre and honestly dumb. Also, imagine the stuff you could get done in the amount of time you’re checking the clock and waiting to text them back. You could run a marathon! Cook a gourmet meal! Binge watch an entire series! Make a shrine to the person you’re into (actually don’t do that, but you get the point).