Your stomach free-falls.
No, it's not a text from your mom. It's YOUR CRUSH.
Your heart races and your palms sweat as you read the long-anticipated text. Your screen glows:
You read it back. Playing with different inflections. Trying to figure out what exactly does "hi" really mean?
Does he want to engage in conversation? Is he asking you out? And most importantly: WHAT DO YOU SAY BACK?
There is no way you can figure this out on your own. Sure, you speak conversational Spanish, graduated college, and at one point understood algebra. But decoding a text from a crush? You need backup.
So you do what you always do . . . you take a screenshot, holding the bottom and top button down at the same time, in a hand gesture that can be harder to master than learning basic guitar. You then send that screenshot to three of your closest friends and wait with bated breath, distracting yourself by scrolling through Instagram until the reactions roll in:
Sound familiar? Yeah. Dating is exhausting.
I'm not sure if guys are aware of the team screenshot analysis. On that note, gentlemen, if you send us a picture of your junk, chances are, our three closest friends have seen it, too.
DATING ADVICE: Do not let a guy you're seeing look through the pictures on your phone, especially if one of those pictures is a screenshot of a text message he sent you.
Texting a crush is a team sport, especially in the beginning or crumbling stages of a relationship. During the whole "I like him, does he like me and where do we stand?" phase.
So, here's an in-depth look at what goes into a text message to a crush. Using real text messages. From the texts you get and what you think, to what your friends think, to finally what you text back. Hopefully this will help you, or at least reassure you that you are not alone:
1. HE TEXTS:
YOU THINK: How sweet! He can't sleep because he misses me!
YOUR FRIENDS THINK: This is clearly a booty call. Don't respond, unless you're OK with that.
2. HE TEXTS:
YOU THINK: WHAT IS HE TYPING?! Is he confessing his love for me? Or . . . did he cheat on me? Is he admitting that he has another girl and he chose her over me? I bet it was that girl whose selfie he liked the other day . . .
YOUR FRIENDS THINK: Cool it, Crazy. He's probably typing nothing and just has your text open.
3. HE TEXTS:
YOU THINK: He's mad. He's totally mad at me. Or he's over me. Yep, he's not into this anymore because I said Birdman was just OK, and he loved it.
YOUR FRIENDS THINK: You're insane. There's nothing to text back. The conversation is over. You'll hear from him again.
4. HE TEXTS:
YOU THINK: I'm not camera-ready. He can't see me with my acne cream on! I wonder if I have any old photos in here . . . maybe this one from Halloween? My costume was basically lingerie.
YOUR FRIENDS THINK: Make sure he doesn't just like you for your body. He should like your mind, too. Maybe just send pictures of your face to make sure he has the right intentions? Your face is closer to your brain than your boobs.
Yep, that Halloween selfie. Hopefully he hasn't gone through your Instagram to realize it's a latergram and you're not always casually hanging out with fake lashes and red lipstick on.
5. HE TEXTS:
YOU THINK: Should I get a restraining order?
YOUR FRIENDS THINK: Maybe you should go out with him! Finally, a nice guy that texts you before noon!
Nothing. You block his number. There's a fine line between romantic and stalker.
6. HE TEXTS:
YOU THINK: What does he mean by "not really?"
YOUR FRIENDS THINK: Why are you still taking to this jerk?
7. HE TEXTS:
Nothing since Saturday. And it's Wednesday.
YOU THINK: Is he dead? Maybe he's dead. Or sick. Or he got married. Or he found out something incriminating about me and now doesn't want anything to do with me. Why does he have to text me? I'm a feminist. I can text him! What should I send?
YOUR FRIENDS THINK: He's busy. Calm down. This is supposed to be fun. He'll text.
There you go. Texting is a team sport. I wonder if our crushes put as much time and energy crafting up the perfect "k" or "you up" to send us. In the meantime, be thankful for your best friends for keeping you sane (I know I am), and GO TEAM!