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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Texting myths debunked: Girls, guys sound off

Myth: There’s a set of unspoken rules 20-something guys and girls are expected to follow when texting each other. They vary by setting and social circle, but a few guidelines remain pretty consistent.

   1. When physical contact is the ultimate goal, the guy should always be the first to text. If the girl initiates, she seems desperate and ruins that whole “chase” thing guys are so crazy about.

   2. Texting after midnight is inherently more sexual than, say, 10:30 p.m., and texting after bar time (2 a.m.) is an undoubtable booty call.


   3. Exclamation points, emoticons and excessive lols are automatic turn offs. If someone seems too friendly in texts, chances are they’ll come off like a stage-five clinger in real life.

Possible Origins: “He’s Just Not That Into You,” every published copy of Cosmo, Patti Stanger, our own neurotic minds.

A few days ago, I asked a panel of college-aged guys and girls their thoughts about the texting myths I mentioned earlier, and even though the whole experience made me question my life and so-called breadth of knowledge, the end result was a much-needed sigh of relief.

Myth #1: In the early stages of hooking up, the guy should always initiate contact.

Like most of my Pulitzer-worthy research, I performed queries by Facebook chatting 15 random friends. For this question, I asked some dudes, “How do you feel about a girl initiating texting? Is it desperate? Does it ruin the fun of the chase”? and got these responses.

” I think there’s nothing wrong with a girl initiating texting if she’s interested in a guy.

” I love when girls text me first. I don’t think it’s desperate and I never know how to initiate contact, so it always makes it easier if they just text me.

” I think the guy should probably be the first to text, but it doesn’t really matter that much. A girl texting first isn’t desperate, it depends on what it says.

” I think it’s hot.

” If the text sounds needy, it’s desperate. But a normal “Where are you”? isn’t bad at all.

” Why should guys always have the pressure to initiate conversation? Guys like to know if a girl is interested just as much as girls do.

I won’t lie, these answers surprised me. I’ve always wanted to believe it doesn’t matter who initiates texting, but until recently I brushed it off in favor of being “realistic.” It’s cool to know I’ve been overanalyzing all these years, but then again, what else is new?

Key findings: For the most part, guys don’t care if a girl initiates texting. It only seems needy if the text itself comes off that way. (I imagine an example of this would be something like “OMG where are u pls come ovr nowww”)

Myth #2: Texting after midnight means he/she just wants @$$.

For this myth, I asked people to tell me their thoughts on texting at different times, using 10:30 p.m., after bar time (2 a.m.) and any time during daylight hours as reference points. Here’s what they said:

” At 10:30 p.m. you’re usually sober, so it’s less direct and more flirty. Midnight means “I wanna meet up at bars” type thing, and after bar time is a straight booty call.

” I’ve never texted a girl at 2 a.m. not trying to hook up with her. Literally I don’t think I’ve ever had any other intentions.

” 2 a.m. is clearly a booty call or drunk text, but I don’t think there’s a difference between daytime and 10 p.m. really. Some people get at it early, some later.

” I don’t like texting anytime before noon.

” I know a ton of girls who don’t respond to texts after midnight because it’s just a guy looking to get some.

” After midnight is always kinda sexual it seems. And noon to night – ain’t no thing like a chicken wing.

Girls and guys definitely agreed most on this one, which means it’s not quite a myth after all. Good to know.

Key Findings: Texting pre-midnight doesn’t necessarily mean someone’s just looking to hook up, but later on generally does.

Myth #3: Steer clear of emoticons, lols and exclamation points.

I asked, “How flirty are we expected to be in texts? Also, thoughts on emoticons”? and the panelists said:

” There definitely has to be some wittiness to it, but not to the extent that it ruins the flow of the conversation by either: A) trying too hard to be funny/flirty and failing, or B) taking too long to respond.

” Literally anything a girl does to make it seem like she is interested is OK by me.

” You have to know your limitations and strengths. I try to avoid long and hard to spell words.

” There’s nothing worse than a guy who uses emoticons.

” Standoffish texting is definitely a turn off, too much banter is too though.

” I think emoticons are kinda funny, but I would never use one while texting a girl. If a girl texted me one I would think it was kinda weird, not a huge turn off though.

Key Findings: Always be into it. Flirtiness is always a plus. Emoticons? Not a problem for girls to use, but can be a dealbreaker in guys.

Even though my responses are by no means a representative sample, it’s still fascinating to hear people’s thoughts on assumptions I’ve held true since the dawn of SMS. But what I’ve learned through this whole thing, above all else, is there’s no universal “Texting for Dummies” code. When it comes down to it, what works for one person might be totally off-base for the next, and finding your own texting groove is always the best way to go.

Rachel Dickens is a senior majoring in journalism and communication arts. Questions? Comments? Email [email protected].

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