Text Anxiety is real, periodt.
One of the most common forms of text anxiety — personally — comes from texting someone new, whether a new romantic crush or a new friend crush. In person, getting to know someone is, usually, an enjoyable experience. Texting someone new first though — why does it feel so weird?
Ever say, “I don’t want to impose…” in a situation where you actually did want to, but didn’t want to be “that person”? Texting someone new can feel a lot like that. Only now with the addition of distance and screens, there’s no way for you to gauge the other person’s initial reaction. Whether on the receiving or sending end, it’s easy to hide behind a phone.
Often, I downplay the first texts I send to new people. Much to my dismay, it’s not uncommon for me to critique my opening texts: “Do I sound cool/chill/nonchalant enough?” I fear my own eagerness worrying that because I want to build a new relationship, I’ll scare off the other party. Usually this results in those post-text stress thoughts: “are they happy to hear from me, or am I just a nuisance?” It’s easy to assume the worst, especially if you don’t get an immediate response.
And yet, one of the most anxiety-inducing parts of texting — response time — is also one of its best features. You can’t assume that someone will respond immediately, nor can anyone expect you to do so. Why? We all have lives beyond our phones. Unless making plans over text, texting is, in essence, trivial.
Actions speak louder than words. Texting is literally just words and now emojis — but pictures (emojis are pictures) are famously worth a 1,000 words, so still words. Taking time out of your day to text someone a “hello” or a funny observation is nice, but maybe that’s all it has to be: a small gesture. Maybe it’s not that much of an imposition after all.
Do you text first?