Why Women Text Back

Women Texting Back

Photo Credit: Creative Commons, Anderspee

I’m thrilled with today’s post because I love the message & it’s from a good friend. Andrea Lucado is a book publicist by day and a freelance writer by night. She’s written for Collegiate magazine, Christianity Today and other print and online publications. She would love to be meet you via Twitter, @andrealucado, or hear from you on her blog “English Lessons”.

“I had a nice time yesterday,” the text message popped up on my screen.

A few minutes later he added: “If you ever wanted to come over for dinner sometime, let me know.”

I had played tennis and had lunch with him the day before. He paid for lunch and now this passive text that was maybe a date was confusing. Despite my hesitations regarding his chivalry, and the fact that I know Real Men Don’t Text, I replied “Sure!”

Then the texting took a strange turn:

“Well, I have this Groupon I need to use at this restaurant. Can we just do that instead?”

Oh no. If he really is asking me out, I should probably turn him down.

But instead I typed “Sure!” again. Why? I’ll explain later.

He picked me up for the “Groupon dinner” and it was . . . let’s just stick with ‘mediocre’. I offered to pay. I know that sounds odd, but I had a terrible time and if I paid, it would be like it was never a date.

My plan didn’t work. He insisted on paying. With the Groupon. Ugh, fine, but we are never going out again, I thought as he signed the bill.

He texted me the following day about something inconsequential, so I didn’t respond. Then he followed up with a lengthy message explaining that he hoped he hadn’t hurt my feelings. And if I had been pursuing a relationship with him, he was sorry he hurt me.

I had no words. Not any nice ones, at least. I was rejected by the person I thought I was rejecting.

I love my friends Ruthie and Michael’s message-soon-to-be-book: Real Men Don’t Text: And Real Women Don’t Text Back. It’s fascinating to hear about their writing process step by step: the stories they hear, the observations they’ve made at coffee shops—their eyes and ears are attuned to women who are allowing men to half-heartedly pursue them, enabling a generation in which it seems Merriam-Webster has removed the word “chivalry” from her pages.

I have texted back many a time. I’m not talking about having a fun or quick conversation with a guy over text—that’s fine—I’m talking about saying yes to a date over a text.

I’ve begun entire relationships this way, over text and even over (gasp!) Facebook messages.

But that was many moons ago, like a whole two years ago, and I thought I had learned my lesson: Most guys who ask me out via text of Facebook message tend to lack a confidence I so admire in a man and it just doesn’t end up working out.

So in my more recent dating experiences, I had agreed to dates from guys who had asked for my phone number, called me and made it clear they wanted to take me on a date. That means, in case you’re unclear, that he wanted to pick me up at my house, come to my door, take me to dinner or somewhere, and pick up the bill. So unlike what a lot of people are claiming these days (did you read this? The End of Courtship?), I believe and know for a fact there are men in my generation who have a sense of chivalry, which in my definition means knowing how to make a girl feel safe and confident when on a date.

I believe in men. I’ve had wonderful experiences with dating. That is why I was so disappointed when I backslid into that story up top.

Aren’t I past this? Haven’t I grown up?

For me in these situations, I’m not so much frustrated with the guy as I am with myself. I know why the guy is doing this: He lacks confidence or has insecurities imbedded in past experiences. I can forgive that. Who I can’t forgive is me. I have no excuses for myself, except that I’m indulging my current loneliness and trying to let a few texts from a guy fill what has emptied. It’s that eternal and deathly cycle, the filling of the empty with something that makes you feel more empty. It’s that moment when every middle-school insecurity you had returns and you begin to type an enthusiastic response even though you feel the exact opposite.

That is why I text back. I think that is why many women text back. We are just as insecure as the one texting us. I hate hate hate to admit it. I like to think I’m way more competent than I actually am, but the proof is in the “Sure!” and women need to own it as much as men do.

Why do you text back? 

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14 Responses to “Why Women Text Back”
  1. Elizabeth says:

    Ahhhh yes! Grrr, I can definitely relate!

  2. Rachel says:

    Definitely guilty of texting for attention. Trying to check my reason for starting/responding to texts has been helpful. Awareness first, then change.

  3. k says:

    because i hope that something will happen from it and i am stuck in my habit of trying to control and overfunction in relationships in order to hope that they will last.. years ago in the 80’s after i got divorced, men would ask me if i was going to attend an event – i thought it was just conversation until I got to the event and found I was supposed to be hanging out with the guy. I now see that was that eras way of texting! So this type of attitude has gone on at least as long as 30 years!!
    I got so used to being treated that way that I accepted that as normal- thinking that it must be hard for a man to really ask me out on a date, and I would be nice and ‘help’ them. Many years later I am still single and just figuring out why I never have a relationship that I dont have to do all the work. For the past 7 years I am trying to become the woman I want to be – confident and secure in Christ, but I am willing to wait for a man to do his part- I have found that men who ‘text-date’ are not really ready to have a 2 sided relationship.

  4. Danelle says:

    ouch. sigh. ugh. so true. thank you for the raw honesty. texting has stolen pieces of intimacy in a few of my relationships with friends. They (and I) are overconfident & passionate in texts and under confident, even indifferent, in person. This should not be.

  5. Maggie says:

    I still find it quite ironic the more and more of these stories that I hear, yes they make sense and definitely seem true, but I didn’t have that kind of experience with Sunny.

    We started off meeting online and texting/email for several days before meeting. We hung out talked via text, and when it got to the point of me telling him I liked him, I told him through text, he responded through text, and I was even the one who initiated being a couple! We still use texting as our main means of conversation throughout the week (since we live an hour away now), but every chance I get to see him I do, and it’s nice to be with him.

    Sure we both maybe insecure and do chicken out in saying things that should probably be better saying over the phone or face to face, but overall, things are working out. Even though I occasionally chicken out saying it to his face, I have gotten a lot better at either telling him what is on my mind in person, or realizing those thoughts aren’t the best and I should dismiss them.

    Maybe we’re an anomaly?

  6. Lerato says:

    Thank Andrea,

    Where to begin,..

    After reading the Dean’s blogs, I told myself that if a man texts me for a date or never really communicates what his intentions are, then “He is just not that into me”. If Alex (Justin Long) was correct, if a man wants to be with you, he will make every effort to be with you… cheesy but so true.

    In light of the body of Christ, I have experienced the “Text pursuit” as well which more often than not need the exhausting “code-breaking skills of a cold war spy to interpret”. I am tired of walking away not knowing what the guy was trying to say.

    I understand that men/guys/boys hate being “chopped” (rejected), but if they don’t try we are not to blame (and named) for moving on with our lives.

    I met a guy recently and unfortunately for me… *with shame* I have fallen back to responding to his text messages. I know you are right, we want to fill the loneliness and subconscious emptiness we are not always aware of with the average Tom, Dick or Harry (apologies to the guys reading this whose names are T,D n H)…

    I refuse to be that gal anymore, it’s exhausting. Because of the non-dating, non-committing environment that the world portrays so well on TV and everyday life, some of us (myself included) have a dreadful struggling not wanting to commit if commitment means emptiness and half hearted pursuits.

    So, in Janette Ikz words and the Bible, “I will wait”. Ultimately I believe being single is not about the pursuit of being / getting married. Its about the time God has set aside for us to seek His face and to know Him intimately as our God, Father and Friend. When the time is right, then He will send me (us) a suitor and partner in the journey of life. So I feel that dating is really a waste of time if all I do on the dates is wonder if this is the “one”. I am all for group hangouts, having fun with people, and building friendships that will edify every party to the friendship. Chuck out the flirts and mediocre conversations… Authenticity is very key.

  7. Dominic says:

    As a 31-year-old guy, this rings true for me. It’s not just a “why women text back,” it’s a “why men text back,” too. There is a girl I’ve been interested in for a long time, and we often have witty, fun banter via texts. Sometimes these conversations are my salvation from a lonely evening. I hate to admit that, but it’s true: it works. The conversations with her sate my loneliness for the evening. It’s a win-win situation, really, because I know the same is true for her.

    But then sometimes she doesn’t text back… When I’m busy and have a lot going on in my life it doesn’t matter that she doesn’t text back. I’m fine, I’m busy, I’m filled. But when I have nothing to do all evening and she doesn’t text text back, it’s a pretty horrible feeling. I even make vows like, “OK when she finally texts back, I’m going to not respond for a few days. See how SHE likes it!” The reality is that I’m more into her than she is into me, so it probably doesn’t bother her nearly as much.

    I agree with a lot of what this post is saying, but at the same time, what about those instances where texting when lonely actually does work? Sure it’s not the ideal, but how often in life do we get the ideal? Maybe the ideal is an image we have in our heads that doesn’t correspond to reality?

  8. Gladys says:

    Thanks Ruthie for this post.

    I have been lured thru texts, asked for dates thru texts, broken-up thru texts etc. I now know where I have personally gone wrong (texting-back)!!! May God help me to change. After reading this blog, I decided not to entertain texting and so far, so good.

    Broken-hearted lady

  9. Abigail says:

    I just thought of 17 instances where I have been asked out or pursued by men, or even had relationship with them, and realized that only 6 of them asked me out in person, with one of those six asking me out over the phone. And of course those were the men I liked the most.

    It’s so easy to ‘text back’ or want to, especially when we feel that emptiness and loneliness. It is a vicious cycle, as that emptiness just becomes more empty. I just finished my second year of college and ended a relationship with someone in December (right before Christmas, ouch) because of that increasing emptiness and sadness I felt everytime he asked me out over facebook or text. Especially when he never planned any of the dates and simply asked me, ‘So what are we doing Friday?’ I was so tempted to reply, ‘Nothing,’ a few times. He also didn’t know God, so that was another reason I felt this increasing emptiness. I was trying to fill something in my heart that only God can… but this realization I had, that out of 17 men I’ve been somewhat involved with, ONLY 6 asked me out in person, really makes me wish I hadn’t gotten so involved before. It’s been insightful though. The past is in the past, and all we can do is learn from it and use what we know now for now.

    Thanks for the awesome articles, Ruthie. You speak the truth. It’s like you are reading our minds or something; taking the words out of my mouth! Keep writing and definitely keep shining for Jesus. :)


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