I was texting someone the other day and something about that conversation really annoyed me.
Here’s how it went down:
In this post, I’m going to vent a bit about it. Okay, it’s not out of spite or pettiness… In fact, I think most of you will nod along as you read this and think “exactly, David, you are right.”
I am going to vent about informal acquaintances (friends or crushes or dates) who get into text conversations with you without offering you much in the way of conversing while expecting you to bear the full load of the conversation.
Let me lay the groundwork here to help you understand my context:
I’m going to start by saying that I am not a good conversationalist.
When speaking to other people face-to-face, I am not that great at having conversations. I struggle to maintain eye contact with them and sometimes, I get my words mixed up (especially if they are quite beautiful or I am speaking in my mother tongue).
Second, I think I do better with calls especially when I have prepared for them (rather than receiving them and not knowing what to say).
That being said, I am excellent at doing conversations via text for two VERY obvious reasons;
First, I can prepare myself and think my words through, filter them, and put out the most refined version.
Second, I don’t have to work on my body language, so no pressure whatsoever. I can be unkempt but as long as I can type, I’ll do just fine.
Now, if you are like most people who are not great conversationalists (me included), you’ll know that having a conversation with someone who you care about (or would like to care about) through text is a breeze.
No pressure, and if you have the time, it should be easy, right?
Well, some people couldn’t be bothered!
Think of a scenario where you are texting someone who signaled that they are interested in what you have to offer or say.
But they keep throwing you one-worded replies, waiting for you to drive the conversation all the f**king time.
You know they want to engage in a text conversation because sometimes, they are the ones who start the thread by saying “hi”, followed by “how are you”, and then “I’m also fine” before they resort to texting you one-worded replies while waiting for you to drag the conversation along.
Worse still, they don’t even give you something to work with to move things forward.
For example, if you ask “where do you live/come from,” a decent human being should answer “I live in Nai but I don’t like how it’s congested” to which you can reply with “… right? You can’t even walk in peace without bumping into people…”
But instead of saying that, these horrible people would rather just type “Nai” prompting you to ask some random question about the place to at least keep the conversation going.
But there is a Caveat…
Note that I am NOT talking about a conversation where you are interested in them but they don’t feel you; in those situations, you can’t complain because they might be letting the conversation move along while showing disinterest (through one-word replies) just to be nice.
Think about it, they can’t just tell you “No, I don’t want to talk to you, you are wasting my time.” Instead, they will be subtle about it and show you that they don’t care about you by passive-aggressively being very bad conversationalists.
In other words, take the hint and move along pal!
Why do some people reply with one-worded texts?
From my experiences (while also being guilty of doing it), there are two reasons why people behave that way:
- They are genuinely good people who are interested in what you have to say but they do not relate with you and haven’t quite opened up to you.
- They have an air of self-importance about them i.e. They are a bit narcissistic because they think they are some sort of “prize” to be won; They are good but they have a bad attitude.
How should you deal with bad text conversationalists?
With the first group, it’s easy:
The most effective way to have amazing text conversations is to ensure that you have a warm interaction with them in person. If it’s a date, crush, or friend, establish a good rapport with them in person.
You’ll know when the interaction is going well and it will be evident when you text.
With the second group, NOT so easy I’m afraid:
Usually, they are extremely attractive or there’s something that you want from them. So something is drawing you to reply to them and put up with their bulls**t.
So, it will be tough to break the cycle especially if you have already allowed yourself to be drawn into these energy-sapping interactions.
Therefore, to deal with them, you need to break away from the frame that they are setting, which is: you are the one chasing them and they are considering whether you are worthy of them (like some sort of trophy).
After going through a few of these unpleasant experiences, I have come to realize that unless they are your boss or you need them to do something super-important for you or they are Rihanna (or Beckham if you are a girl), these horrible people aren’t worth the effort.
I am not saying that you stop replying to their texts, just find a way to handle them to avoid getting yourself into a sticky situation and possibly flip the tables and have them chase you.
You can do one of a few things:
- Reply to them with single-worded texts yourself.
- Take longer than them to reply to texts… If they take 10 minutes to reply to your well-composed or thoughtful questions, take anywhere between 20 minutes and two business days to reply to their texts. If they are not on the top of your hit list, just ignore them after three texts and go on with your life. Leave them hanging for once; let them question their attractiveness.
- Quickly excuse yourself after a few texts and tell them that you are a bit busy and can’t carry on texting. Follow that up with a quick “goodnight” to put an abrupt end to the chat. Don’t explain why you are busy, just say that you are busy and leave it at that. If they care about you, they’ll ask what you are doing that’s keeping you from them. If they don’t (which is most likely the case because duh! They aren’t behaving like they REALLY care about you to start with), it’s okay and you just saved yourself a lot of time and energy.
- Rather than text them, call them. It will save you a ton of time because they either won’t pick your call or they will and you’ll have a more even conversation. It won’t work in some situations but it is worth trying.
Whatever you do, it is about setting the right precedent and avoiding wasting your time on people who don’t deserve it.
As for the conversation that led me to write this article, it ended prematurely when I just stopped answering her texts. She didn’t even bother to follow up which is a good thing because I concluded that she wasn’t really into the whole chatting thing, to begin with.
Remember how I said I am not a good conversationalist? Well, I am trying to improve on that and that’s all that matters. I hope you are too and, hopefully, we’ll become the life of the party someday.