Men, Stop Talking

Men, Stop Talking

Men, you need to get a clue: stop messaging women who aren’t responding to you.

Even if you’re being polite. Even if you’re being thoughtful and flattering. Even if your messages are about women’s talents and hard work and intelligence, and not just their appearances. If you’re shouting into the void, stop shouting.

Women don’t have a script for saying “thank you for your compliment. Your message isn’t objectively unacceptable, but I’m uncomfortable with the amount of attention you pay me, so please stop contacting me,” so sometimes we just never respond at all. If you send out two or three messages without a response, don’t send any more messages.

It’s related to my rule about texting someone you’ve met, but don’t know well:

Text once. If you don’t get a reply, you can send a follow-up text the next day. If you don’t get a reply to that, you can try again one week later. After that, NO MORE TEXTS.

I know very well that people can forget to respond to a text, or can have too much anxiety or stress to text at any given point. But if you don’t know someone well, and they haven’t explicitly given you permission to repeatedly contact them with no reply (“ I always forget about texts, so just keep pinging me until I respond, lol”), you need to read the probable cause for a lack of response: they don’t want to talk to you.

(another signal to read into is brief messages. If you’re writing a treatise, or are talking about personal things, and in response you get a single emoji? Maybe you need to back down.)

This is all pretty specific for people that you don’t know very well. If you are close with someone, you probably understand their communication styles. I am often clear with my friends that short messages in response to essays doesn’t mean that I don’t like their paragraphs of speech, it just means that I’m busy. But if all you ever get from someone is “thanks” and “ J ”, you have to consider that they don’t want to be talking to you but they don’t want to be rude to what looks like kindness.

(@Czaroline)

This tweet has more than six thousand retweets, and 42 thousand faves.  That’s 42 thousand people who thought that tweet was relatable. Who understand that having someone who isn’t even angling for a date or being gross constantly contact you is unpleasant.

The internet makes it easy to communicate. That’s amazing, like, 90% of the time. But sometimes it makes you feel like you’re closer to someone than you really are, because you read about very personal things that they publish. “I know all about their grandma’s illness, and the sex toys they reviewed, and their exciting romantic relationships. We’re pals!”

Well, no, you’re not. You know things about them that they have chosen to broadcast. That doesn’t mean you’re close friends.

So, what can you do about this?

If you feel like you do have to comment on every single thing someone writes, that’s ok. Maybe you love their photos. Maybe their blog is inspiring. Maybe they make great art, or their make-up game is solid, or they play beautiful music. But don’t comment in a way that expects a response. They don’t owe you their time. Comment on the post, let them ‘like’ your comment if they want to, to acknowledge they’ve read it, and move on.

Don’t keep contacting someone who is ignoring you, or writing one-word responses (even if those one word responses have exclamation points! Women often feel obligated to appear enthusiastic about things they don’t care about, in order to come across “better”). If they never, ever initiate the conversation, think about what it says about their desire to communicate with you.

You get a three [text/message/DM] maximum before you literally never contact that person in a private message again. I’d err towards two, if you’ve never met that human face-to-face.

If a majority of your comments are on photos, and they’re all “sexy” “beautiful” “gorgeous” and you never get a response? Get off the internet.

Unless you REALLY, REALLY know someone well, and trust them to say things to you that you might not like to hear, don’t ask “hey, am I talking to you too much?” because women will say no because we’re trained to be polite and not hurt someone’s feelings, and then because you asked that tough question, we’ll feel like we have to talk to you MORE. When we just don’t want to.

If someone is being engaging and asking you questions and initiating conversations, none of this applies to you. Calm down. If she seems into you, she probably is. But don’t mistake emojis and exclamation points for engagement and actual enthusiasm.

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