There's a girl I started seeing a few weeks ago and so far, so good—except for one small thing: She texts me all the time. At first it was cute, but now I find it's interrupting my daily flow and work. I should also say that I rarely text, except to make plans or in emergencies. What's the etiquette here? How do I tell her to calm down without coming off as a jerk? — Texting Neophyte
Calm down, Sandra! Take a Xanax and chillax with the texts! (Alliteration helps soothe manic texters, I've found).
Let's start with the obvious: Have you told her you're not into texting? Because you can totally do that. It's not rude; it's your prerogative.
There's even a song about it, so you know it's true. The next time you see your new ladyfriend, be clear about your preferences. "Hey Sandra [I don't know why I want her to be named Sandra]. You may have noticed I haven't responded to some of your texts. [Insert pause for her to shed a tear or two at your inconsiderateness] I wanted to let you know that it's not personal and I'm not ignoring you. I'm just not a big texter, except to make plans or in emergencies, even though that's weird. ["Your house burned down. Didn't you get my text?"]. Let's grab a mulled wine at the Christkindlmarket and talk like two sentient beings without the impediment of a glowing blue screen, shall we?"
You can even say it "interrupts your flow and work." Most people understand that modern life involves a hundred thousand distractions at any given moment and will respect your wish for a few hours of emoji-free time. She will probably still be a little miffed because she's into you and wanted to convey textually that she was thinking about you, which is sweet, but come on, Sandra, some of us have to work.
You also don't have to respond to every text, or even keep your phone where you can see or hear it pinging. Most employers don't want you texting during work hours, so you can fall back on that as an excuse if need be, but if you're clear about your limited texting habits, hopefully she'll follow suit. Other excuses that may work if you're too cowardly to come out and ask her to cease and desist:
- I got distracted watching the Chicago Gay Hockey Association performing Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" for the past 96 hours and have no intention of stopping.
- I have a genetic disorder that causes me to time-travel unpredictably, like that Audrey Whatshername book, "The Time-Traveler's Wife." Being both from the future and the past makes it hard to text you back, you know? Each time I try, it's like, ziiiip, now it's 1892 and I'm holding a piece of tree bark and Grover Cleveland is asking me to help trim his mustache.
- I'm not actually your boyfriend. I'm just a poofy coat hanging on the door of your closet that looks man-shaped when far away. Hence, I have no thumbs with which to communicate, let alone language, a phone, free will or the desire to validate how delicious your lunch looked in the pic you sent.
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