Dear Dude is a once-monthly column in which my good friend, The Dude, answers some of your questions about the hairier sex. Dear Dude is an industrial designer by day and a serial flirt by night. He owns entirely too many bikes and a fairly well-behaved dog. He loves good food, good music and smart ladies.
I just don’t get men!
I am not 100% certain what your question is here… If a guy fails to text back straight away (meaning, immediately?), has he lost interested? Not necessarily… Should you give guys that are slow to text the benefit of the doubt? Maybe… Can I be more vague? All signs point to… probably. Did that help?
I have recently been pondering similar technology related hiccups in my own personal romantical life, and the problems that they can cause. While I love the immediacy and potential for playfulness afforded by texting, IM and email, there is definitely something missing. Something no emoticon or acronym can achieve, no matter how animated the smiley or confusingly long the acronym might be. How the reader of a text/IM/email interprets the message can depend on so many factors, like the nature of the message, or the readers mood, location, or state of intoxication.
Timing is an important aspect of these modes of communication. Remember letters and postcards? They take time to write and send. Then follows the anticipation of the reply. Dial-up Internet was like that… but in the world of 3G wireless and hi speed Internet, we have become impatient, expecting the immediacy of verbal exchange from the phone on which we are texting, without allowing the time to let the textual message sink in.
Most of the ideas, information and concepts we deal with daily only skim over our conscious mind, and for many people only elicit primarily knee-jerk reactionary exclamations – “LOL!”, “ROFL!”, “OMFG!”. These formats are not always the most dependable for important, or time-sensitive information exchange… do that in person, or call. Don’t expect too much, lest you be disappointed.
So – my answer: I think your guy friend has a point – not everyone treats texting the way you do, or I do, or your girl/guy friends do. Some people embrace immediacy in communication, and some don’t. I have no qualms answering a text while I am in a meeting, at lunch or even riding my bike (I know, I know – que peligroso!), or having NSFW g-chat while working (this can be super hot, BTW). Some people refuse to do this, deeming it inappropriate or some hogwash. I have at least one friend that doesn’t even own a cell phone (I know! GASP!), so if you are texting with him, well, you are going to be waiting even longer (and his wife would probably disapprove).
So maybe cut these guys some slack when they don’t reply right away. Be patient, if it is important to you. Unfortunately, these days appearing aloof and uninterested can be code for “I like you”, or just the transparent reality of ambivalence/disinterest. Confusing, right? For this, I have no answer or explanation other than to say that it sucks, but it seems to be true. Many of us get caught in the crossfire as casualties of the hipster war on everything.
Now, that said; you don’t have to wait. Maybe I am reading into your question, but it seems you are fairly frustrated by the situation. I can not tell from your opening blanket statement about lack of effort = lack of interest, how many guys this might have happened with. If it is one or two that don’t get back to you right away, it is probably them. If this happens all the time, there might be something going on.
* Your cell carrier might suck – I have had messages show up hours or even a day after I sent it (which got me in hot water, BTW). The cell providers prioritize phone calls over text transmissions, so the delivery speed can vary.
* You might be communicating with type-A guys (or forgetful stoners?), that are really busy (or really stoned?), and you are not high (heh) on their priority list (yet!).
* Are these guys “players”, or juggling more than one woman?
* Is it you? Are you “dating up”? Are these guys stringing you along?
A list of excuses could go on, but the point is that maybe your expectations are (too?) high for the guys you are texting with – there are guys out there that might answer immediately, and take it a little more seriously. If immediacy in communication is that important to you, set that as a priority for potential future suitors – you will likely not be happy with a “slacker texter” in a relationship, and that could eventually drive a wedge between you. You might be a type-A texter. Accept it. Embrace it.
Dear Dude, I had an amazing conversation with a guy and afterward he told a mutual friend that he thought I was cool. But, now it is like he is ignoring me. I never get more than a quick hello. What is the deal?
Dear Damsel –
What do you guys think? Good advice? Do you agree with The Dude? Any male readers out there who’d like to chime in?