Apr 12, 2023, 05:55AM

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Text

Read this manifesto before you hit the “send” button!

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In this post-pandemic world, striking up a conversation rarely happens, even in those enormous Intro to Psychology undergraduate courses that are now consigned to Zoom purgatory. But perhaps you’ll buttonhole someone at the co-working space or coffee shop long enough to exchange the usual pleasantries, lying about the knee injury that ended your high school sports career if you’re a guy or secretly judging the person if you’re a girl. By the end, it might appear as though you’ve found your next best friend or perhaps even the love of your life.

But wait—where do you go from here?

Fortunately, partings—which once brought such sweet sorrow—can now be delayed indefinitely thanks to the magic of the internet. After you’ve acquainted yourself with this new pal, you can send them a friend request on Facebook, attempt to connect via LinkedIn, or follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Or do all of that right away; it’s healthy to hunt down someone in this premeditated fashion, much as Zaroff hunted Rainsford in Richard Connell’s 1924 short story “The Most Dangerous Game.” Nothing strange or desperate about it, no siree Bob.

From there, though, it can get a bit messy—and that’s where I stand ready to help. Now that you’ve made contact, you’re going to need to engage in some great text if you want to draw this person into your inner circle. Over my two decades as an award-winning “content writer,” I have perfected the art of text, and I’m going to share the tips and tricks that are sure to leave any partner feeling textually satisfied.

Start by getting this person’s attention. Whether you go for the gusto by messaging them on their cellular phone or just wait around for hours on Facebook Messenger until they log on, here’s a great opener:


“Sup” is a very versatile phrase. It’s cool and laid-back, with a hint of mystery behind it. It’s undoubtedly the way a newly-woke, DM-sliding “white knight” James Bond would contact a Bond girl if his laser-shooting wristwatch had a text-messaging feature. Let’s continue the conversation:


Hmm, doesn’t seem like much is happening on your new friend’s end. We’ll try to take it up a notch.


URNEWFRIEND: lol how r u

You’ve got them now! With the deployment of a single incongruous “cool,” they’re already laughing out loud. In response to his query, offer some insights regarding the amazingly chill life into which you’re trying to invite them.

USERNAME1: chillin u


Oh boy, this is escalating fast. Pretty soon you two will be braiding one another’s hair at a slumber party, or using your DeviantArt-designed video game avatars to do the same. But play it coy—there’s no need to give the game away yet.



That big smiley emoticon came at just the right time. It was getting a bit too tense, and the mood needed to be lightened. From here, you’re home free. Time for a great closing line.

USERNAME1: u wanna hang

URNEWFRIEND: yah ok lol

Although most textual encounters will go as smoothly as this one, some might require a bit more awesomeness on your part. Here’s where a storehouse of clever phrases can really save the day. Some particularly helpful ones include “lmao,” if you’d like to push the hilarity to its highest possible level, or “asl pls” in cases where you remain unsure about the age, sex, and location of your new friend (the first of these—age—is exceedingly important in all US jurisdictions, though some advocacy groups are working to change that).

Emoticons are also valuable. While “:)” is good for most of your needs, “:/” can come in handy if you’re trying to seem aloof and thoughtful. “:(“, however, should be saved for special occasions, such as when you’re trying to convey the sort of melancholy found almost exclusively in Romantic poetry or early-2000s, straight-to-radio emo songs.

Occasionally these stock messages won’t suffice, as your textual partner might demand that you actually take the time to type out your opinion about something or someone. This might seem like a daunting task given your myriad other responsibilities, but a simple “sucks” or “rules” can offer closure for even the most textually insatiable. Check out this example:

URNEWFRIEND: u like megan thee stallion

USERNAME1: yah she rules

Many scholarly big shots have claimed that texting has undermined the art of conversation, but I beg to differ. In my humble opinion, texting has refined conversation by reducing it to its barest elements. What better way is there to get at a person’s undeclared state of mind than to type out the three letters that comprise “sup”? What more is there to say about the Megan Thee Stallion beyond the fact that this person “rules?” Man might be able to live without food for weeks, but textual deprivation is another matter entirely.


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