Tired of Dating Rules? Here's When You Should Actually Text Back

Photo Credit: Hannah Bernabe | Model: G Cuban
When Should I Text Back?


The question that all millennials on Match.com, Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, Bumble, eHarmony and OkCupid have:

When should I text back?


There are rules upon rules of how many days or
hours you should wait. Most have simply stuck to the rule of wait a little longer than how long it took them to respond. Who came up with these rules anyway? I know what you're thinking.
I don't want to play games! Why can't I text back whenever I want? Why do I have to wait for a certain amount of time to pass before I text him or her?

The simple answer is: You don't.

You can text back whenever you want but there is one catch. You must be absolutely happy with yourself and your life. I know I just got a little philosophical and deep there but stay with me while I lay down some logic.

Let's start simple.


Why would these rules even exist? What do they aim to do?

When someone doesn't text back right away, it shows that they are busy. Busy people, in general, are not needy. They do not have time to be needy. Being busy shows that that person has a life. While not texting back doesn't necessarily indicate if that person is happy with their life or not, it does at least show that they have a life. No one wants to date someone who doesn't have anything going for them.

People who are living their best life are too busy having fun and working on themselves and their goals. They are not glued to their phone waiting for a validation text from some guy or girl they barely even know.


The rule of waiting was created for people who do not have as much going on, to give the illusion that they are busy or important. Being busy or important creates value. You have to be valuable for someone to want you. No one else can give you value but yourself. I'll talk about value in a separate post.

For those that are living their best and happy life, they naturally wouldn't text back right away and nonstop because they are busy. For example, if they are at work, they text back after work. They are busy. By texting after work, they show that their work is important. If they are out with friends, they text after.

Happy, high value people who are busy with fun plans.
Photo Credit: Hannah Bernabe


If you are not out with friends or doing something that makes you happy, you should make that happen. If you are still working on finding happiness by yourself, use the training wheels of waiting a little to text back to give the person on the other end the perception that you are of high value.

If you want a specific metric on how long to wait, wait until at least after you're done with whatever activity you're doing at a minimum.

If you're eating, wait until after you're done eating. If you're just on your phone using a dating app, wait until after you've completed your next planned activity. For example, if you were planning on showering or cleaning once you got off your phone, wait until after you've done those activities to text back.

To be clear, this is at a minimum. You can wait longer if you'd like.

Practicing not texting back until after you're done with your activities forces you to value your activities and to be in the present moment when doing them-- all things that a busy person, with high value, would do.

In the meantime, work on yourself so that you will be of high value and eventually won't need to resort to dating rules in order to get someone.

What do you think about texting rules? How long do you normally wait before texting someone back? Let me know in the comments below!

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