Spotting The Difference Between A Bad Texter And Someone Who Just Isn’t Interested

The key to any relationship is communication. That shouldn’t come as a surprise; we’ve all heard it before. The problem is that not everyone is good at communication.

When you’re starting a relationship with someone, you’re trying to get to know them, and texting can be an important part of that process. So what are you supposed to do if he’s a terrible texter? And more importantly, is there really such a thing as being a “bad texter,” or is that just code for “I’m not interested”?

Texting Is A Part Of The Modern Dating Era

Unless you’re dating someone who has a Nokia brick of a phone left over from the early 2000s or who lives in a remote cabin in the woods, chances are you’re texting your boyfriend or girlfriend throughout the day.

man in white striped shirt standing outside looking down at phone
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Malte Helmhold
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Malte Helmhold

Texting is one of the main sources of communication in our modern world, whether we like it or not.

We All Know Someone Who’s A Textbook “Bad Texter”

Every friend group has that one person who is just a terrible texter. They take three to five business days to respond to any message, and even if you respond to them 30 seconds after you receive a text, it could still take four hours to get a response.

man in khaki pants and grey shirt leaning against blue bike looking at phone
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Photo Credit: Unsplash

You tolerate it and deal with it because they’re your friend and it’s not that big of a deal, but what about with your romantic partnerships?

Trying To Get To Know Someone Online Is Hard Enough

With so many relationships starting online nowadays, we’ve all had to up our conversational skills via text.

woman leaning head on hand at desk looking at phone
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

Some people stay in that “talking” stage after matching on a dating app for weeks or months, building their relationship through texts and messages and Snapchats before ever meeting. You’re trying to get to know someone, but if they can’t hold a conversation over text, what are you supposed to do?

There’s A Bunch Of Reasons Why That Could Be

Before you resign yourself to the fact that every man who can’t text you back within a reasonable window of time must secretly despise you, I’m going to reassure you that some people just really aren’t good at texting.

woman in silver sparkly dress and black heels seated staring at phone
Photo Credit: Pexels / Inga Seliverstova
Photo Credit: Pexels / Inga Seliverstova

Let’s take a little dive into some of the ways to tell if someone genuinely isn’t interested in you, or if they just can’t properly convey their interest over text.

Does He Give A Legitimate Reason?

Someone taking a long time to respond to a text message does not automatically mean they’re ignoring you or don’t want to talk to you. The entire point of a text message is to send it and then move on with whatever you’re doing, because chances are they’re also out there living their life.

man seated on ground in airport with laptop open laughing at phone
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Bruce Mars
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Bruce Mars

Plenty of people work jobs where they don’t have access to their phones for long spans of time, or they’re better students than the rest of us and genuinely don’t check their texts while they’re in class. A legitimate reason is just that: a legitimate reason for them to not answer you in the moment. It doesn’t mean that they’re about to ghost you.

What If They’re The Type Of Person Who’s Always On Their Phone?

You probably already know the answer to this one, you just don’t want to accept it. If they’re the type of person who is constantly on their phone when you’re together, but then suddenly can’t answer your texts even though they’re posting stories on Instagram or opening your Snapchats, they’re probably not interested. They may say they’re a bad texter, but at that point, it comes down to “if they wanted to, they would.”

couple in bed both on their phones not talking
Photo Credit: Pexels
Photo Credit: Pexels

They’re looking at the phone while scrolling through Twitter, the text message pops up like it does on everyone else’s phone, and they swipe it away, or open it and choose to delay responding.

Don’t Take Offense If They Tell You They Can’t Talk At The Moment

If you send them a text message and they immediately respond with something like “hey sorry I’m in the middle of something, I can’t talk right now,” that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a brush-off.

woman with black hat leaning against doorway looking at phone
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Stephanie Dawn
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Stephanie Dawn

It’s all about the follow-through. Do they come back to you in an hour or two to answer your text? If they respond eventually, you don’t really need to worry. If they tell you they can’t talk and then you don’t hear from them for 12 hours, that’s a different story. It’s about whether they put in the effort to follow up or not.

His Texting Habits Changed, What Does That Mean?

Once again we’re going to circle back to “I think you already know the answer to this question.” In the beginning of your relationship, he always answered your text messages right away, decorated with a slew of emojis and maybe even some exclamation points. You got pictures, you got gifs, you got paragraphs. Your conversations flowed easily and you’d fall asleep dreaming of the “good morning” text you knew he was going to send you.

closeup shot of emojis on phone screen
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Domingo Alvarez
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Domingo Alvarez

But somewhere along the way, it changed, and now you’re left with hours between responses. Not only that, but the responses you do receive are maybe one or two words, with zero emotion. He might even hit with just the “haha” as a response. If there’s a noticeable change in the way he responds to you, there’s a good chance that his feelings have changed too.

Consider The Way That They Contact You The Most

Just because your preferred method of communication is texting does not mean that it’s everyone else’s, too. Everyone communicates differently, and you may like to text them all your random thoughts throughout the day, but how often do they do that to you?

text message and twitter notification on phone screen
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Jamie Street
Photo Credit: Unsplash / Jamie Street

Responding to a text message versus initiating a conversation via text are two different things. When you think about it, you may come to the realization that you’re always the first one to text them, whereas they’d rather pick up the phone to call you or save up all their important thoughts until they see you in person.

Also, Take A Look At When They Respond To You

While the way that someone responds to your text messages can tell you a lot, so can the time that they respond to you. Are they always slow to answer your messages no matter what the subject is, or do they answer your more urgent questions in a reasonable amount of time?

man sending text message at night
Photo Credit: Pexels / Craig Adderley
Photo Credit: Pexels / Craig Adderley

Even more importantly, look at the time that they’re starting the conversation. If he sends you that Saturday night “what’re you doing” text at 1 a.m., that should tell you a heck of a lot about where he intends to take this relationship.