10 Texting Red Flags For Men
The initial stages of dating are tricky. There are so many things under consideration during this crucial stage. There are also so many red flags and pet peeves to watch out for so you don’t end up getting your heart broken in a couple of months. In the age of dating apps and "situationships," one of the most important stages in the "getting to know" phase is the texting phase. This is also the best phase to figure out whether your potential is worth your effort and energy.
The texting phase can be exciting and thrilling, but it can also be nerve-racking and exhilarating. "You’d be surprised at how many red flags can arise during the texting phase of a relationship that can save you a lot of heartache, time, and money, " says professional dating coach Jason Lee of Healthy Framework.
Have you ever been in a situation where you were texting a man who was interested in you and suddenly he wasn’t so sure? Such encounters leave us confused wondering where we went wrong. We asked a few men what turns them off during the texting phase and we have some answers for you. While we would never know for sure why they didn’t reciprocate, you may have been making some texting mistakes. Read on to find out the 10 text red flags that are a no-no from men.
When the other person doesn’t initiate or keep the conversation going
Communication is a major factor that can make or break any relationship, especially during the texting phase when that is all you have at your disposal. All the men we talked to revealed that it’s a turn-off when they have to always initiate the conversation or keep asking questions to move the conversation forward. It becomes difficult for them to connect with potential partners and figure out if they like them. "It’s hard to connect if someone constantly shuts you down or avoids talking to you. I felt like I was hitting a wall when this happens," says Mark (32).
Lack of initiation in conversations also signals disinterest in getting to know the other person on a personal level. This could also signal that they are not looking for anything serious and might want to keep it casual. This could be a red flag if both parties aren’t looking for the same thing. Jarir (37) says, "If you find that you’re the one always asking questions about their day or trying to get to know them and you’re getting no inquiries back, that’s a sign that they are not into you."
When the other person is frequently confrontational or aggressive
It can be pretty difficult to deal with someone who is constantly aggressive or confrontational. Being with someone who does this can be exhausting and emotionally draining. Some of the men we talked to pointed out that when this trend is seen while texting, they stay away from the potential partner. "If they are constantly confrontational in text, chances are, they are gonna be the same in real life. It could be a sign that they have anger issues," shares Dylan (24).
Psychologist and relationship counselor Ruchi Ruuh tells us that this cannot be seen as a blanket red flag and that it varies from situation to situation. If they are reacting to some action of the other person involved, it cannot necessarily be a red flag. "You have to be more aware. Is it their inherent personality to be aggressive or confrontational or are they reacting to something you did," she clarifies. "If someone is always temperamental and confrontational, to the point that you can’t deal with them, it is definitely a deal-breaker," she continued.
When the other person’s responses are always slow
Imagine you are texting a person and they take hours or days to get back to you. It can be extremely frustrating, especially when you’re trying to build a rapport and connection for a potential relationship. It can be disappointing when you’re interested in talking to someone and they aren’t responsive.
Professional dating coach Jason Lee tells us the guidance he gives his clients: "One of the biggest that I advise men to look for is respect. Is your prospective partner respecting you with the quality and timeliness of their responses?" While you should never expect immediate responses if it takes days for them to get back to you, that is not someone who is respecting you and your time."
Nobody expects you to be constantly available for the other person. We all have lives outside of dating and mobile phones. If you are interested in someone who you have to reply to and you are busy, just tell them that. A simple something along the lines of "Hey, I am running errands right now. I will text you when I get back home" is sufficient. In most cases, they are going to understand that you’re busy and will wait to talk to you.
When the other person overshares constantly
Oversharing is off-putting in almost all social situations, but what exactly is too much oversharing when it comes to the texting phase? After all, we are getting to know the person. Aaron (41) paints a portrait of the oversharer: "This person will send you lengthy texts about their life, complete with TMI [too much information] moments that we just don’t need to know."
Dealing with overshares can be overwhelming. Finding cute, witty responses to every small detail they share of their life can leave the other person drained. While wanting to share your little joys with your partner is fine, in the texting phase, it’s best to stay away from sending snaps throughout the day or asking their opinion on a purchase not pertaining to their area of expertise.
Ruchi Ruuh explains the psychology behind oversharing. "People who overshare usually need validation from their partners and lack respect for their and others’ time and space." If you are dealing with an oversharer, it need not be the end of your precious connection. "Having a conversation with your partner about how it [oversharing] emotionally overwhelms you can help. Setting boundaries of time, space, and content can help too," shares Ruuh.
When the other person only texts at night
If someone is only texting you at night or is constantly driving the conversation toward sex, it’s a major red flag. When someone is doing this, it’s likely that they are doing it because they are either lonely, sexually aroused, or bored. Believe it or not, men don’t want to have sex all the time. While most have a higher sex drive than women, they are also looking for "love, connection, meaningful relationships, recognition, success, happiness and any number of other things" (per Guy Stuff Counseling).
"When they are overtly sexual during the initial conversations, even before the boundaries are discussed, or are only texting at night, it feels like they don’t respect me," says Sharzeel (21). Texting only at night again can be a sign that they don’t wanna get to know you on a deeper level or want an emotional connection with you. This is one of the tell-tale signs that they want to keep things strictly casual. This can be great if you are looking for something similar but a major deal-breaker otherwise.
When the other person sends one-word replies only
Popularly known as dry texting, this is the phenomenon "when one isn’t in the mood to text but does anyway" (per Urban Dictionary). Remember when you were trying to engage in a conversation with someone and they type "LOL," "Sure," "K," or "wbu"? Yeah, you probably were on the receiving end of dry texting. "They probably weren’t interested and were likely trying to be polite," Mark (32) explains the situation.
"When they only reply with one-word answers, no matter how much you try to engage in conversation, it shows a lack of interest, and also makes you feel like you’re pulling teeth just to get a decent conversation going," shares Aaron (41) echoing the frustration of almost all the men we consulted.
Even if you are not a great texter, you can still spice up the conversation by sending memes, GIFs, or a witty combination of emojis. Sending voice messages is another great way to not come off as a dry texter. If you are not a fan of texting, you can always explore other modes of communication with your potential partner. You just have to be upfront and open about it.
When the other person is always talking about their past relationships
All the people we talked to agreed that when someone is talking about their ex-partner constantly, it can be a major turn-off. If someone is doing this, more often than not, it may be because they haven’t moved on from their previous partner or are still mourning their last relationship. This is not the right headspace to start something meaningful with someone.
"If they can’t even stop talking about her ex, it’s likely that they will compare their new guy to him and always hold him up to that standard. No guy wants to be constantly compared to someone else," explains Rhys (34).
This behavior is likely not a very conscious one. The urge to put yourself out there or make a dating app profile right after a breakup can be very strong. It’s best to take some time for yourself, process your emotions, and come back to the dating pool happy, healthy, and healed.
When the other person ghosts you in between conversations
"You’ve been texting back and forth for a bit, and then suddenly — poof! They’re gone. No more messages, no more replies," Aaron (41) explains the archetype of the ghost. Ghosting is an extremely frustrating phenomenon in online dating circles. It shows the lack of consistency on the other person’s side. This is an indication that they don’t respect you and your time. In the long run, this is an indicator of how they are going to treat you in a relationship. "Ghosting is an established red flag. Anyone who is interested in you will try to be consistent," confirms Ruuh.
"While it is understandable that people might get busy with work or life, in these times when phones are attached to our hands like a sixth finger, it is hardly about time and more about priorities and intention," Ruuh puts things into perspective. When you are talking to someone and something comes up that needs your immediate attention, all you have to do is let them know. A simple "Hey, something has come up" or "Hey, I need to make dinner, I will talk to you later" and following up on your promise is enough to let them know you aren’t taking them for granted.
When the other person sends generic replies and not specific answers to your questions
Sending generic responses is one of the major ways you can scream disinterest via text. Along with that, it shows that you are distracted and not really present in the conversation. This can be a major turn-off. "When they are not replying specifically to the questions I ask, it is likely because either they are not as interested in me as they were earlier or they are texting multiple people," says Dylan (24). In the texting stage, it is very important that both people put in the effort to get to know each other.
If you are a bad texter, the best way to navigate the situation is to communicate with your potential partner and explore alternate ways of communication. The goal is not to test how good you are texting, it’s to get to know each other better. "Some people aren’t the best texters, and that’s okay, but we want to see some effort at least," professional dating coach Jason Lee says, providing some relieving clarification.
When the other person sends view-once photos only
While the view-once, view-twice, or keep-in-chat features debuted on texting platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram can be a blessing to many who want to control the way the content they send to others is consumed, some men find the exclusive usage of the view-once feature a red flag. "It is a red flag for me. While this is standard practice for explicit pictures, especially during the initial stages, when they do this even for random, mundane, everyday things, it shows that they don’t trust me," explains Junaid (26).
While some men we talked to agreed with this, Ruchi Ruuh clarifies that this is a boundary set by the potential partner and should not be seen as a red flag, but as more of a pet peeve. "Comfortability and trust have to be earned and it usually takes time. For some people, it’s forever," Ruuh says, putting some of our feelings into words. Ruuh also provides a few solutions for such situations: "If this behavior is something that bothers you, talk to your partner about it. If they still can’t trust you, it may be their own insecurities."