Single life is littered with pitfalls and proverbial hoops to jump through. One of the most irksome being that early stage of communication when dating someone .In many ways the initial interactions are one long interview, or rather, an assessment day where you are both candidate and interviewee trying to present the most desirable version of yourself whilst still trying to ascertain how you feel about your current love interest . In short, it’s exhausting.
It’s not made any easier by the lack of consistency in your experience. Each person has their own quirks and idiosyncrasies which can be endearing, but more often than not result in wasted hours boring yourself and in turn, boring all your friends with your latest hypotheses and theories. Whatsappening group threads are polluted with screenshots of countless, meaningless conversations in order to find some sort of clarity, so in the interest of time and mainly dignity, here is my guide to navigating the murky seas of initial ‘chat’. Consider it a ‘how to’ guide for crappy correspondents.
The aloof hipster type
These are probably the most irritating. They are the type that is an active user of every app going. They have a beautifully curated Instagram, a Facebook wall riddled with ironic 90s football references and are literally always on Whatsapp. They either message back ridiculously quickly or not all. You are on a constant knife edge as these are the types of men who do not do day-to-day chat. It is unlikely that they will send many meaningful messages preferring to send you a link or a picture. Messaging them is draining as you have to be constantly sardonic, cynical and scathing. Eventually, it becomes this weird one upmanship of one liners and edgy cultural references.
The solution: I find with these types it is best to not entertain the aloofness. Don’t reply. No matter how tempting. Otherwise you will find yourself permanently staring at your phone like a perverse look out waiting for crumbs of comfort that never come. They will never contact you with a reassuring message. Honestly, just ignore and wait. Eventually they will call.
These are the types that are quite deceptive as at first the ritual nature of their texting is flattering and their constant questions cultivate a persona of one who is interested and thoughtful. However, eventually they will drain the life from you with the perfunctory nature of their text messages.
They only ever text-never Whatsapp. Each message will take up your full screen and will include at least four questions, and at least two of them will not require an answer. They will ask things like: ‘how’s your morning been?’ seemingly ignoring the fact that it is 9 o’ clock and the day has barely begun. I guarantee that their constant stream of questions will become increasingly nauseating and you will soon begin to resent the need to dedicate so much time to responding.
The solution: I find one word mainly monosyllabic replies tend to do the trick. I try and mix it up with: yup, ok, sure and sometimes the odd ‘ah. I see.’ Feel free to replace these with the odd emoji. Eventually they will wear themselves out or find something of genuine interest to say. If you don’t they will drag you down in the mire with them and you run the risk of becoming as boring as them.
The constant communicator
These are tricky and are unfortunately only enabled further by Whatsapp and Snapchat. You will find you are constantly talking but never actually saying anything. The pair of you will just engage in a digital kiss chase of sorts, but not in a thrilling way, more of an eternal kiss chase where no-one gets caught and you can’t stop playing. The problem with Whatsapp is that unlike its’ far superior predecessor MSN messenger, you can’t actually exit the conversation and instead find yourself on a frankly exhausting marathon of ‘banter’. Your conversations read like a teleprompter for two hosts of a gameshow and if you’re not careful it will soon become a gameshow that no-one wants to watch.
The solution: Save this one for long journeys, slow days at work or Sunday evenings when you are feeling needy. It’s an easy ego boost if nothing else. Just don’t get sucked down the rabbit hole of constant engagement, mainly because it’s long, but also because otherwise you will expect this from everyone you meet. It’s not normal or sustainable.
The fair-weather friend
These are probably the strangest. They are the type that gets in touch every few weeks and are seemingly incapable of keeping up or making conversation. Often just messaging : ‘Hi’ or ‘How’s it going?’ and then disappearing into the ether again for occasionally days, mainly weeks and sometimes months with no contact then reappearing again with no explanation. The worst ones will make really specific arrangements to meet and then scuttle off without a trace.
The solution: Block their number. Seriously. This person is a waste of space and always will be. No-one has the right to keep drifting in and out of your life. They are the human equivalent of herpes. Get rid.
These are of course the most heinous messengers and are not representative of the whole male population, nonetheless I always believe forewarned is forearmed and with the ever growing number of platforms for communication the earlier we spot the warning signs the better Dating is difficult enough as it is, and it is important that we play an active role in shaping our experiences, and not simply wait for others to dictate the process for us.