It goes without saying that texting has a pervasive presence in modern-day romance — whether you’re wooing a crush, getting to know a dating app match, or simply checking in with your SO, you’re probably whipping out your phone pretty often. So it’s likely that at some point, you’ve been left staring at a conversation (or worse, a read receipt), anxiously awaiting a response, and wondered how to get texts faster. Are there certain strategies that are more likely to elicit a response than others?
Recent research suggests that it’s certainly worth paying attention to your texting habits, regardless of your romantic situation. One 2018 study published in Computers in Human Behavior revealed that people who initiate texts to their partners feel more satisfied with their relationship. Texting can also be beneficial for single people, as it provides an easy avenue for flirting, getting to know someone better, and figuring out if someone is actually interested.
In an ideal world, your date or partner would promptly respond to every message you send — but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Luckily, I talked to two dating coaches who offered some foolproof tips for getting more rapid replies.
SEND OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS.
Closed-ended questions (in other words, anything that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”) can sometimes be the kiss of death in terms of texting.
“Although these are easy, they also don’t invite or inspire a response, let alone dialogue,” says Chris Armstrong, certified relationships coach and founder of Maze of Love.
So instead of asking, “Is there somewhere specific you want to go for dinner tonight?” try, “What kind of food are you feeling for dinner?” These types of questions are more likely to get a more detailed response from someone and furthermore, keep the conversation going instead of bringing it to a screeching halt.
BREAK UP LONG TEXTS INTO A SERIES OF SHORTER ONES.
When you have a lot to say, it’s hard to know whether you should send one paragraph or a series of shorter bursts. Will one long text look overwhelming to read? Or will recieving four texts in a row be more annoying?
Armstrong says it’s best to break it up. “People have short attention spans, so that approach will greatly increase the chance that everything is read,” he says. “However, ensure that each text block can stand on its own.”
In other words, try not to create a situation that requires the recipient to read each block of text to understand your tone or intention, or you might end up with a misunderstanding on your hands. For example, if you end a flurry of texts with, “Can we talk tonight?” the recipient might incorrectly detect an ominous tone if they only see that final message preview on their phone, when in actuality, it was meant to come off more casually within the context of the series.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF GIFS WHEN FORGING NEW CONNECTIONS.
Most of us can appreciate the humor of a relevant, well-timed GIF. And studies have shown that they can prove effective on dating apps — in fact, sending a GIF as your opening line to a Tinder match increases your odds of receiving a response by 30 percent, according to a study by the dating app company. It makes sense, too: These animated images ooze humor and personality.
While GIFs may be a solid strategy during that initial flirting phase on apps, Armstrong cautions against relying on them too much, particularly when communicating with a significant other.
“The type of reply people are looking for on Tinder is likely very different than the type of reply people are looking for in a texting conversation with someone they already have some sort of relationship with,” he explains. “I don’t recommend GIFs if you’re looking for any reply with substance. If all you seek is some acknowledgment or a compliment, fine.”
In other words, feel free to send that Dwight Schrute GIF if you’re hoping to inspire a chuckle from a new flame, but don’t expect it to spark some meaningful conversation with your partner.
START TRICKY CONVERSATIONS WITH SOMETHING POSITIVE.
There may be times when you’re tempted to bring up something that’s bothering you over text. In most cases, it’s wiser to wait until you can talk in person, as it’s less likely that something will be misconstrued or get blown out of proportion (plus, facial cues can help to resolve something more quickly). Still, if you do find yourself in a situation where it feels necessary to address something over text, be careful about how you approach it if you’re hoping for a quick reply. According to Armstrong, it’s best to pre-soften the blow by initiating the conversation with something positive.
“Don’t begin the text with something that may put someone on the spot or on the defensive,” he explains. “Start with the heart (things that will elicit warmth, caring, etc.) before moving to the head. People don’t want texts that instantly create pressure situations.”
In other words, letting bae know had a cute dream about them last night can go a long way before confronting them about the fact that they forgot to unload the dishwasher — again.
GIVE DEADLINES WHEN NAILING DOWN PLANS.
If you’re trying to make a plan with your date or partner, it can be effective to provide a time that you’d like to solidify details by. So rather than simply asking which wine bar they want to meet at, for example, directly communicate that you’d like to decide where you’ll be sharing a carafe of Cab by 5 p.m. This adds a sense of urgency for them to respond.
“If something is important to you, articulate it to your partner,” advises Mike Goldstein, founder of EZ Dating Coach. “This gives them an opportunity to be respectful of your wishes. If you never tell them, they don’t know what you need and you may not get it.”
Directly communicating your texting habits early on can go a long way — that way, the other person has a sense of your expectations and can make more of an effort to meet them.
“Thus, they will know what your normal texting cadence looks like and know you’re not playing games,” says Goldstein.
In case you needed another nudge to let your expectation be known: one 2018 study published in Computers in Human Behavior revealed that couples with similar texting habits tend to be more satisfied in their relationships.
REWARD SPEEDY RESPONSES.
When you get a pat on the back for something, you’re more likely to do it again, right? So if your date or partner pulls through on getting back to you quickly, don’t be shy about acknowledging it.
“When your partner does what you ask of them, it gives you a great opportunity to say ‘thank you!’ and show your appreciation,” adds Goldstein.
Giving them props shows them that timely responses matter to you, and if they know that’s something you value, they may try to make it a habit.
Feeling like you went from texting amateur to ace? You may not be able to actually control when someone gets back to you, but these tactics could help to inspire a speedier response.