Double texting, the act of texting someone more than once before they respond – comes with its own set of do’s and don’ts. Learn more about these less talked about social faux pas in this article.
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Double Texting
- What is Double Texting
- How Long Should You Wait Before Double Texting?
- Should You Double Text?
- Pros of Double Texting
- Cons of Double Texting
- Double Texting as a Result of Run On Thoughts
- What To Do If You Accidentally Double Text?
- What if the Person You’re in a Relationship with Sucks at Texting Back?
- How to Stop Double Texting
- In Summary
The Do’s and Don’ts of Double Texting
Social norms and rules are established organically over time and can be difficult to understand when you have only twenty-year-old technology such as texting. Newly forming relationships are especially vulnerable to these unwritten rules that greatly influence the assumptions we make about other people as a result.
By better understanding, the do’s and don’ts of double texting, we can allow ourselves a greater opportunity for success in growing the types of relationships that we want.
What is Double Texting
Urban Dictionary defines double texting as “when someone texts you and you don’t respond so they text you again later.” In many situations, that can be an automatic turnoff for the recipient of the double text. However, there are also situations in which a double text may be justified and even necessary. Let’s dive more into some common scenarios that involve double texting below.
How Long Should You Wait Before Double Texting?
You may have already been asking yourself. “Well, what if days or weeks have gone by? Is it still considered double texting then?” There is certainly a difference between sending a second text just minutes after a first versus sending second text days or weeks after your last sent message.
Think about it this way: when you send work emails to your co-workers, boss, or partner agencies about the information you need or tasks that need doing, how long would you wait before sending a follow-up message if no response was received? The answer to this certainly depends on the situation. Similarly, so will the rules of double texting
Say, for example, you just confirmed that you are meeting your date at Dave & Buster’s for dinner and drinks tonight at 7. You quickly realize after the text has been sent, that there are two different Dave & Buster’s in the county. It’s 5:30 and you need to start planning your time for this upcoming date accordingly.
Sending the second text in this scenario to confirm which location you are meeting at would be justifiable. If, on the other hand, your plan to meet at Dave & Buster’s was for the following weekend, it would probably be best to wait until the person you are texting messaged you at some other time before asking this follow-up question.
A general rule of thumb is if it’s not something that you need right away, it can be put off in order to avoid a double texting disaster.
Should You Double Text?
At this point, you may be so concerned about the consequences of double texting that you might consider the possibility of avoiding it altogether. In the scenario listed above, you might just take your chances with guessing which Dave & Busters to meet at and then blowing it off as a silly misunderstanding if you ended up at the wrong one.
While this can seem tempting, especially when so concerned about making a good first impression with others, it also sets you up for unrealistic expectations in the relationship moving forward. It is true that any meaningful and productive relationship requires good teamwork and communication and blowing off necessary communication for the sake of saving embarrassment is like never farting in front of someone.
As a general rule of thumb, there is usually an outlier scenario that justifies the need to break the rule. As long as you ask yourself if it’s absolutely necessary to send the double text in order to get needed information now and your answer is yes, then I would say that it is generally worth the risk. Just make sure it is information that is logistically needed as soon as possible, rather than emotional information you desire to know out of impatience.
For example, if you texted your new significant other, “How do you really feel about me?” and they don’t respond right away, I wouldn’t recommend sending a double text because you feel an urgency to know that information now. At the same time, I might not even recommend sending that sort of question via text in the first place, but that is a discussion for another topic.
Pros of Double Texting
There are several positive ways to interpret double texting. Double texting can show that you are (such as in the example about Dave & Buster’s above) attentive to detail, organized, and reliable. Double texting can also indicate that you are a highly caring person.
For example, a new girl that you’ve just started dating, texts you and tells you that she is feeling sad and having a hard day. You ask her what’s wrong. A few hours go by and you notice she hasn’t responded yet. A second text saying something like, “Hey, I just wanted to check in on you – let me know if I can do anything to help.” can come across as extremely caring and demonstrate that positive quality within you.
Double texting can also provide opportunities for humor or even flirting. Someone might ask you what you are wearing and you might respond with a description of your clothing. In addition, you might even feel inspired to snap a picture of yourself to add to your first message or find a funny or flirty meme to send along after your text.
Some might not consider this double texting if the second message is a picture or a meme rather than something in writing, though I would argue that it is a grey area worth exploring. On the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend photo or meme bombing either (meaning, sending multiple memes or pictures at once as a means to communicate) as that would certainly qualify as double (or quadruple) texting.
Cons of Double Texting
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to guess that double texting can come across as desperate and annoying. Let’s say you are hanging out with your friends or family and all of a sudden your phone blows up with several messages in a row. This might come across as a red flag as you ask yourself how this new relationship might get in the way of your already existing ones.
Similarly, you could be a busy working professional who doesn’t have the time to spend hours a day responding to your texter’s every need and desire. The reason you might not be receiving messages back after double texting could very likely be due to the recipient “ghosting” you after being fed up with your constant demands.
When someone double texts you, especially more than once, you might also find yourself wondering why? Is this person controlling? Do they not have things to fill their time? Are they insecure? Impatient? It is often easier for the recipient of a double text to jump to these negative conclusions whether or not they are true (especially in the beginning of getting to know someone), so it is better to err on the side of caution.
Double Texting as a Result of Run On Thoughts
It can be easy to slip into the habit of texting people in the style of stream of consciousness. By this, I mean you start a thought, type, and then send it and then you develop that thought more, type some more of the thought and press send again, and so on. This style of communication is, in fact, the way that people naturally communicate in person to one another.
It’s important to make these stylistic distinctions between written and oral communication in order to avoid a social mishap. An example run on thought or stream of consciousness texting might look like this (all texts by the same person):
💬 “Hey, I was thinking we might go for dinner tonight?” “Chinese?”
💬 “Maybe Mexican?”
💬 “Or maybe I can cook?”
💬”What about a movie?”
💬 “I’ve always liked dinner and a movie…”
The sound of excessive dings on one’s phone can be enough to raise one’s blood pressure. It’s stressful to feel the pressure of a demand, which is the tone that is set by multiple texts such as these sent one after another. A better way to communicate in this scenario might look like the following instead:
“Hey, I was thinking maybe we could go for dinner and a movie tonight? What kind of food are you in the mood for? Mexican and Chinese sound good to me, but I’m open to anything. I can also cook if you’d prefer to stay in.”
By lumping your thoughts all together into one body of text, you are not only providing for a less stressful experience for the recipient when they hear their phone notification, but you are also showing that you took the time to think through all of the things that you wanted to say. By taking the time to process what you want to say and re-read it a few times before sending your text, you are also better able to avoid the classic foot-in-mouth syndrome that almost all partakers instantly regret.
What to do if You Accidentally Double Text?
There certainly can be scenarios where one might accidentally double text. A double text could be the result of a “butt text” – when someone’s phone accidentally types a text from the rustling around in their purse or on their person (ie: butt).
Similarly, with voice recognition software such as Siri, it isn’t unthinkable for your phone to also pick up on your audio and mistakenly interpret it as a command to send a text message most likely to the last person you texted. If this happens, a simple explanation of the mishap should be acceptable such as “Oops – butt text.” or “Silly Siri, accidentally sent a text I didn’t mean to send.”
Even still, there may be times that clarification on your accidental double text would make matters even worse. A clarification text would essentially be a triple text – meaning, an additional text to clarify after a double text.
As noted before, these multiple dings of communication can be stressful to people and turn off the recipient, making them jump to negative conclusions even if false. Always try to read the situation based on the individual personality of the text recipient and the stage you are at in your relationship to determine how best to move forward.
What if the Person You’re in a Relationship with Sucks at Texting Back?
We all know those people who seem to always have their heads up in a cloud. You try to make plans and it’s often comparable to an attempt of herding cats. If you find yourself guilty of double texting to wrangle the non-communicators of the world, you might consider these few tactics instead:
- Try having a conversation in person and asking this person what their preferred mode of communication is. You can also ask if they prefer to be involved in plan making, or if they generally like going along with plans that others have made.
- Evaluate the reasoning behind their non communication. It could be that this is not something they are naturally good at. I’ve certainly known people who hate texting and who are best at in-person communication. Non-communication could also be a sign of non interest. Consider which one you think it might be and make your plans accordingly.
Regardless of the reason for the non-communication, double texting will most likely not solve the issue.
How to Stop Double Texting
If you find yourself in a bad habit of double texting or are just realizing now that you do this and it could be holding you back in your relationships, here are some tips to help you stop:
- Engaging in a hobby can be a great way to pass the time and reinforce a positive relationship with yourself that will enable you to have healthier relationships with others.
- Spending time with friends and family can be a great way to fill up your social cup and process some of the questions that might be coming up for you about newly forming relationships.
- Try turning off your phone or keeping it on silent in another room during certain hours of the day or when you find yourself anticipating someone’s response a bit too intensely.
- Remind yourself that the person you are texting is most likely busy. If it becomes a habit of this person not responding to your texts, you may need to seek guidance from friends and family to see if it seems the person is either a bad texter or otherwise just isn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with you; if it’s the latter, they aren’t worth your time anyways.
The truth is, we can all get anxious for communication from time to time, especially when it comes to a new friendship or romantic interest that has us really excited and curious to find out more. While there is nothing wrong with feeling this way, it is best to make sure that our emotions do not rule our actions.
Text communication in new relationships is certainly more difficult to navigate than organic back and forth in-person conversation. It is important to keep in mind that these two types of communications are different and each has its own purpose.
It is probably best to leave the juicier topics and deeper thoughts to the in-person conversation as it is easier to interpret as well as easier to not misinterpret and jump to false conclusions about one another.
Double texting and its pros and cons aren’t simply defined phenomena. However, if you stick to the following rules, you should be better set up for success.
- Try to only double text under the following circumstances: you need an answer right away for logistical purposes; you want to express care and concern in a unique and uncommon situation; adding humor or flirting to show off your personality when done in moderation; a substantial amount of time has gone by since your last communication (a week or more may not even be considered double texting.)
- Avoid double texting for the following reasons: you are bored; you are emotionally anxious for a response; double texting due to run on or stream of consciousness thoughts; trying to “herd” the non communicators of the world.
- Realize that mistakes might happen and allow yourself to clarify if an accidental butt text or voice command mishap has occurred. If you think it would be helpful for the other person to know (this could result in a triple text so try to consider your options before sending).
- When in doubt, seek a second opinion from a trusted source.
Even with these carefully considered rules, it can still be difficult to navigate the do’s and don’ts of double texting. Please let us know your thoughts and questions on the topic with us below for further conversation!