Overcoming Clingy Tendencies
He’s worried his texts and dating app messages are coming off as needy…Gigi gives it to him straight.
Q. I asked a friend of mine to look at my dating app messages, and he told me I was coming across as “needy” and “desperate.” His reasoning was that I followed up with girls I’d been talking to when they hadn’t responded. I just don’t want to miss out on a chance with a match. I guess my question is, how do I not come across as needy on dating apps and texts?
Jamie, 26, San Francisco, CA
A. Thanks so much for this question. It is always nice to get a letter from a guy who is worried he’s over-communicating. I can speak from experience that guys are often too keen on not texting back at all, which is super rude and will not land you a girlfriend.
The first rule of a good dating experience is to treat someone the way you’d want to be treated. Mutual respect has to happen every single time.
I’m really against texting games. All of that “wait three hours to text back” and “don’t send too many emojis” advice is BS. If you’re feeling the vibe, message her and ask for her phone number soon after you connect. If she’s messaging you back, that’s great.
In this particular instance, it appears you’re not reading the signals that are right in front of your screen. The women who don’t respond are not responding because their interest has likely cooled. If a woman is interested, you will know. She won’t fall off the face of the earth if she wants to keep things going. She will be anxious to meet you and excited about it, too.
The issue here is that while you may think following up with a potential match is casual, it does come across as desperate or overly aggressive. Your friend was correct.
With so many jerks out there, women have to be cautious. I cannot stress enough how often women are bombarded with creepy dudes harassing them on dating apps. I’m talking daily. If it seems like she has her guard up, it’s because she does. I’m not saying that you are a creeper, I’m saying that for a lot of ladies out there, we need a dude to prove he is funny and normal before we are down to keep chatting. We need to know that you’re not going to go nuts on us and start spewing hate speech. Yes, it does happen.
Another issue:, you’re treating her like a potential client, rather than a potential girlfriend. She isn’t a business contact. You shouldn’t have to follow up with her to get something you want. She doesn’t owe you a response. She doesn’t even know you yet. Before you text a woman, “Are you still interested in talking?” (which is frankly annoying), remember that sometimes no answer is an answer.
No answer means she isn’t interested in talking. Wait for her to respond to you if you’re the last one who texted. If she doesn’t, move on. It’s not like there aren’t a ton of other people out there to meet. Trust me, the woman for you is out there somewhere, waiting to text you back.
If you’re speaking with someone and she stops responding, perhaps those sparks were more one-sided than you think. Maybe she got really busy with work. Maybe she started seeing someone recently and stopped talking to other people. Whatever the reason, she isn’t into it anymore.
If she changes her mind, she’ll be back. I promise.
So, here’s my advice. If you’re feeling a woman’s energy and want to meet up, don’t spend too much time texting her. That’s your biggest issue. Arrange to meet in person within three days of matching; get her phone number ASAP — within a day. If you go for a week or two exchanging messages instead of getting in some face time, one or both of you will get over it.
Instead, meet her for a coffee and find out if this has real potential.
If she isn’t interested in meeting up, again you have an answer: She isn’t that interested in you. Pay attention to the way people interact with you. Someone who actually likes you isn’t going to waste your time with radio silence.
*2017 survey of Hinge users
Gigi Engle, aka Ask Auntie Gigi, is a sex writer and educator living in NYC. Her work has appeared on Elle, Teen Vogue, Bustle, Glamour, Allure, and Men’s Journal, Elite Daily and Thrillist. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @GigiEngle. Send questions to Gigi at firstname.lastname@example.org.