the disappearing act and texts vs calls

Reader K. F. writes:

I hung out with this girl 4 times (twice alone) and was getting a good vibe from her. I texted her (shoulda called….) last weekend to see what she was up to and never heard back. I haven’t contacted her since, and she hasn’t contacted me either. Do I chalk it up as a loss or give it another go?

Dear K.F.:

I cannot reiterate it enough: If someone likes you in a romantic way, they will be in touch and they will have time to spend with you, even if they’re technically really busy. It’ll be obvious. Continually obvious, even if you’ve been on four dates together; even if two of those dates were in a group with friends; even if you texted instead of calling.

So, yeah, you should chalk it up as a loss.

text message

Is this the last shell see of you? Probably should be. Image: Darren Robertson / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You can pretend she was in a serious accident or something (like in the movie Amélie, where she decides her date must be late because he was kidnapped by bandits and shipped to a country far away and he now herds goats with a hat shaped like a tea cozy on his head), but if she hasn’t gotten back to you, she’s just not that into you.

For some reason, the human psyche responds to being ignored by wanting to be with someone even more. This is probably why you’re freaking out about it a little bit — she’s ignoring you, therefore you want to jump up and down and make her notice. The very best thing you can do is forget about her, or at least, pretend to forget about her. Go do something else; date someone else; have a good time without her and move on. Easy enough, right?

Keep in mind that if you see her again, you can casually mention the fact that she never responded to your text, and you were hoping everything was okay. If you call her a few thousand times between now and seeing her again, you’re going to be really embarrassed when she dives behind a table or runs in the other direction upon seeing your stalker face. I’m just saying.

The disappearing act is a passive-aggressive form of rejection. It’s polite, and it usually doesn’t mean that she hates you or can’t stand you. It means she’s just not interested in anything more serious and has found something else to do. You’re not hideous; you’re not awful; you’re not so bad you merit a full-out rejection. So that’s good, right?

However, since I’ve already written about getting over that kind of passive-aggressive rejection, I’d like to address the issue about thinking that calling is better than texting. This just isn’t so. Hardly anybody calls anymore, unless they’re old or don’t have text capabilities, or unless there’s an emergency or you just want to chat. Just ask the New York Times.

I was personally a die-hard anti-texter back in my heyday — phones are for calling, you knuckleheads! But I am a full convert nowadays.

Talking on the phone is loud, takes time, and you can’t do anything else while you’re doing it (or at least you shouldn’t). I get annoyed at sales people who call me at my job. Send me an email, I’ll remember the details; call me and I’ll just think you’re intrusive and awful. I call people who are over 30, definitely — they prefer it, and lord knows my boss would prefer a call to my emails. But people who have been texting for a while tend to prefer it.

Why? Because you can send a text and get information across in about 30 seconds. To do this while talking, it’d take five or ten minutes of preliminaries. Plus, cell phones are often not great for talking on — you can’t interrupt each other, things get lost, bad signal, blah blah. Talking on a cell phone actually stresses me out. If I do call someone (like my parents), I use a land line. Talking on the phone just feels gnarly these days, even though (or perhaps just because) we can do it almost anywhere.

You may feel that calling would have secured her answering you, or given a certain “personal edge” to your contacting her, but honestly, if she’s not going to answer you via text message, she’s not going to answer your phone call, either. Texts are less obtrusive to begin with, and much easier to respond to, as well. If she didn’t have the time (or grace) to respond to your text, a phone call would have failed even more miserably.

Get back on the horse, kiddo — meet someone new and move on. If Murphy’s Law holds any sway in your universe, this girl will fall for you the minute you’ve fallen for someone else, and by then, you won’t care anymore anyway.


2 Responses to “the disappearing act and texts vs calls”

  1. 1 Brian
    April 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Nice article. I particularly enjoyed the shot at your boss.

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