I love the part of dating when you both have text-message fever. At first, you try and play it a little cool, but then, before you know it, you’re texting all day (and sometimes all night) long. It’s flirty, it’s fun, it’s exciting. But you know what I don’t love? When the texting suddenly goes cold, and you’re left wondering if you’ve said something wrong or if you’re just being paranoid and they got really busy. You’re not a mind reader, but you’d really like some definitive signals you can spot from texting that let you know if this is a temporary blip, or if they’re just not into you.
I may not have a magic crystal ball with the answers, but I do have the next best thing: dating experts. To help with this oh-so-frustrating and common problem, I reached out to dating experts to help us figure out the signs you can gather from their texts that they’re not that interested. That way, you don’t waste your time and you’re free to move on and find someone who does appreciate what an amazing person you are — and that they are lucky to get to text with you at all. Here’s what the experts say to keep an eye out for.
1When the word count of their texts is minimal.
One of the most obvious signs that the person you’re texting with isn’t that interested, according to online dating expert Julie Spira, is as simple as the length of their messages.
“When someone isn’t that into you, their responses to your text messages will be short, as in one to three words,” Spira tells Elite Daily, adding, “By sending a reply with a word or two, if it doesn’t include a cute emoji, GIF, or exclamation point, it’s a sign that the person isn’t into you and they’re responding out of obligation. It shouldn’t feel like your boss or parents are writing to you if it’s someone you’re romantically interested in.”
Damona Hoffman, relationship expert and host of the Dates & Mates Podcast agrees. She explains that brief texts show there is something missing in the dynamic, specifically, “a lack of banter and chemistry.” She explains, “Everyone can be cute and clever in a few sentences. If you’re not feeling a vibe over text and not having texting streaks it’s likely that the chemistry isn’t there.”
2The wait between replies gets longer and longer.
If you want to know how into you someone is, pay attention to how quickly they reply, says NYC relationship expert Susan Winter. “When a person isn’t into you, they don’t get back to you right away. Part of that is on purpose, because they want to push you back. But even if unintentional, lag time shows that you’re not a priority and therefore they needn’t bother to respond in a timely fashion,” she says.
I know what you’re thinking: What if they just didn’t see your message? Well, Spira isn’t buying that excuse. “Everyone is attached to their cell phones, and some people even sleep with theirs like it’s their favorite digital teddy bear,” she says. “If the excuse of not seeing your text message becomes a repeated theme, it’s because you’re low on the totem pole.”
So, how long is too long to wait for a reply? Hoffman says no longer than four hours, because, “the average response time to a text from a romantic partner is five minutes.”
3They don’t seem excited to communicate with you.
Judging someone’s enthusiasm to communicate with you over text can be a little tricky, but there are some sure signs that you should look out for. Hoffman says, “never asking questions about you,” is a sign they aren’t putting any effort in getting to know you.
The same goes for how they react when you ask them specific questions. Winter says, “If they’re vague when asked a specific question, the reason for vagueness is to keep you on the outer ring of their life. Only their inner circle is privy to detailed information. The fewer details you know about them, the further your distance from them.”
However, Spira says there is one way to be sure, and that’s how they respond to a message like, “Hey, I’ve got great news that I can’t wait to share with you.” She explains that it’s a clear way to know one way or the other about their interest because, “ If … the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t want to know instantly, then they don’t care about what’s happening in your world. I know that can hurt, but we’re living in an instant gratification world, and texting is an intimate way of sharing your life with someone who you hope cares about you as well.”
4Your texting routine suddenly changes.
The final sign that they are not as interested in you as you deserve is if the texting routine suddenly changes. “If you’ve been waking up to a good morning text message daily, a ‘sweet dreams’ text at night, and suddenly those messages come to a complete halt, it’s a clear message that your relationship status has already changed,” says Spira, adding, “It’s time for you to start looking elsewhere as well.”
She’s not wrong; you should never settle for someone who isn’t just as interested in you, as you are them. It’s all about whether or not they add to the quality of your life, says Winter. She suggests asking yourself if this person adds to your quality of life and if they don’t, well, then it’s time to let them go. Sure, that’s easier said than done, particularly if you’ve caught feelings over text (I totally get it, been there, done that). But it’s worth it. As Winter says, “Getting real with ourselves can be uncomfortable, but it’s key to creating a meaningful and mutually respectful partnership.” Which is the whole point of dating after all, right?
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!