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Reading Between the Texts: The Other Side

The Text
“What are u up to”

The Strategy
K: OK, so in your response, what message do you want to send? Are you trying to play it cool like you don’t really care that much, unless he cares a lot? Or are you like, trying to be sexy and forward?
B: I’m trying to be … sexily uninterested.
K: NICE, okay. So you should make it sound like you’re doing something awesome, but you are potentially free if he begs you.
B: Exactly! So should I be like “nm, at this crazy party, what about u” ?
K: Well that might be weird. It’s like 4 p.m. He’ll think you’re an alcoholic.
B: Well I don’t know what to say then. I never do anything cool at 4 p.m.
K: Be like, “just went for a run. sooo hot out! what about you?” Then he’ll think of you being all athletic and sweaty.
B: I feel like that’s gross.
K: Good-gross.
B: Is that a thing?
K: Are you KIDDING?

The Text
“Just made it home! Thanks for having me over! I had so much fun!!!”

The Strategy
C: I can’t use that many exclamation points back or he’ll think I’m a maniac.
K: For sure. So just, like, have it be short and flirty so that he’s like “OMG I’m a little surprised by this, but also really happy” and then he goes to bed with the phone on his pillow, holding it until he falls asleep, smiling.
C: That’s like, a really specific response.
K: Well just give me a draft.
C: “Thanks for coming! I’m glad you could make it and got home ok! See you soon.”
K: That is the worst thing I have ever heard.
K: Say “I’m glad. I always have fun when you come over.”
C: Whoa. Now I want to sleep with you.
K: Haha, get in line! Hahaha I’m kidding. Ahhhhh there is no line. There is never a line.
C: But wait, periods or exclamation points? Upper-case or lower-case I’s?
K: Periods and upper-case I’s. I don’t even want to think what would happen if you used lower-case I’s.

The Text
“ok cool. have a good night.”

The Strategy
K: What do you think I should say???
R: I don’t think you should say anything. You have to let him be the last person to say something for once in your life.
K: But isn’t it rude to just not respond to things? I don’t want him to be like, “wow she literally has no manners.”
R: Why would he ever think that to himself? If you write back, he won’t respond and then you will never sleep or eat again.
K: Oh come ON, I am not that dramatic about it.
R: You have made me take your phone away from you five times in the last week so that you can’t keep checking it even when there are no vibrations.
K: Barely.
K: I’m just going to say “thanks, you too. Let’s do it again soon.”
R: Absolutely do not say that.
K: I just sent it right now while you were talking.
R: Why do you even ask me for advice? You never listen to me.
K: Because I keep hoping that one day you will tell me I should do what I already know I’m going to do.

The Text
“Want to grab dinner tomorrow or sometime this week?”

The Strategy
R: I can’t believe he keeps asking me to hang out.
K: Really? I can. You have given him no way of knowing you don’t want to.
R: I have said no to hanging out three times!
K: Yes. Because you said you got malaria, that your great-great-grandma died, and that you had to get stitches because a stray dog bit you.
R: He should have realized that that many terrible things can’t happen to a person in three weeks, and that really I was saying “please, I don’t like you, as a person.”
K: Oh my God.
R: I don’t know how to be mean.
K: You don’t need to be MEAN, just be direct.
R: How about “Sorry not this week, I’m super busy! But maybe another time and I’m really glad we’re friends.”
K: WHAT?!?!?
R: Four no’s is a clear sign, and the last part is obviously sarcastic.
K: You’re like that horse that you bring to the water and it won’t drink, or whatever. Drink the mean water.
R: I barely ever know what you’re talking about.
K: Say “Are you sure you want to? My father has kidnapped the last five guys who tried to hang out with me and nobody knows where they are, lol!”
R: Ugh I’ll just say I have to go to church. … all week.
K: You’re going to use GOD as an excuse?
R: I feel like God would understand. God is like “haha, yeah, that guy IS terrible.”

The Text
“Are we ok? I want to know where we stand.”

The Strategy
E: Look, it’s so sweet!
K: But he’s been such an asshole to you!
E: I know, I know. But maybe he will have a complete transformation in personality?
K: That does happen a lot.
E: Fine, what do I say?
K: Say “No we are not ‘ok.’ The only kind of relationship I want to have with you is the kind where I stand at the top of a volcano, laughing maniacally and zapping lightning at you with my trident until you die and then ravens eat your body.”
E: *snarling* *texting*
K: What did you say?
E: I said, “we’re great. I love you so much. xo.” Oh, he just responded!
K: What did he say?
E: “k cool.”

Previously: “Hey I’ve got a free hour, want to go get groceries?”

Katie Heaney lives in Minneapolis and writes the most beautiful goddamn text messages that the world has ever not responded to.


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