When It Is (and Isn’t) OK to ‘Double Text’ Someone You’re Dating

Photo: Antonio Guillem (Shutterstock)

Dating comes with its fair share of rules (“wait 24 hours until after the date to call”), and so does texting (“never end a text with a period unless you want to be a jerk”). Put them together and it’s no wonder we’re so anxious about sending and receiving texts from our latest crush. Texting etiquette is already a tricky area to navigate within the throats of a new relationship, so how do you handle the double text?

The double text is when you send two or more text messages to someone before they respond to the first, and it’s often considered “cringe” as it can come across as a little needy or desperate if you just started seeing someone. When it comes to texting, patience is everything, says Laura Bilotta, founder of Single in the City and an expert date coach and matchmaker. “If you’re still in the early stages of a relationship with someone new, try showing some restraint. After all, one message may be all that’s needed for your crush to respond back!”

If you’re guilty of sending a double text, don’t worry. Bilotta breaks down when it’s appropriate to send a double text, and when you need to double down and refrain from sending one.

Should you send that double text?

If you’ve just met someone, you’re probably better off not pressing send. “Double-texting someone can come off as desperate or clingy, leaving your conversations feeling less than romantic,” Bilotta says. “Taking the time to give a person space before following up is essential in any meaningful text conversation.”

Instead, Bilotta recommends understanding your motivations behind sending that double text. “Think about what you’re wanting out of this exchange: Is it something meaningful or just an attempt to soothe away those anxious feelings we all experience when communication doesn’t go as planned?” If you’re feeling sad or anxious about not receiving a text back, Bilotta says that’s perfectly normal. Process your emotions rather than texting that person back. “It can be tough waiting for that text back, but if it does happen eventually, the patience will pay off.”

And remember: It’s totally normal not to hear from someone for a day or three or even a week, especially if you’ve just met them.

Is it ever OK to send a double text?

Of course it is. There are no hard fast rules since every situation is nuanced. According to Bilotta, it’s OK to send a follow-up text if you’re wondering about the other person’s feelings or trying to ward off potential hurt, disappointment and rejection, but “try to give them a chance to respond to your first message before you do so. By sending an extra message, you may get that response your heart desires—never let yourself feel like it was something more than just missing notification timing.”

It’s also OK if you send a double text for logistics purposes, like if you’re trying to reach them for something important, like rescheduling or confirming plans. “Sometimes one message doesn’t do the trick, and that second nudge might be exactly what they need to respond quickly so things can move forward,” she says.

Just make sure you’re not relying on the double text to manipulate the other person’s time or get them to share something with you that they’re not ready to express yet.

“It’s important to remember that the person on the receiving end of your messages has a life too,” Bilotta says. “If they aren’t responding, there’s a good chance they’re busy with something else and aren’t able to get to the phone right away—you’re just putting extra pressure on them and showing them that you expect them to respond immediately whenever something comes up.”

What to do instead of sending the double text

If you’re feeling down because someone didn’t respond to your text, don’t feel discouraged. Bilotta says you should process those emotions and take time for yourself while also taking an intentional break from your phone. “It’ll give both of you space while also giving the chance that they might reach out when least expected.”

At the end of the day, Bilotta says the most important thing is to remember your worth. “Everyone deserves to have people in their life who they can count on and appreciate them. If your feelings aren’t reciprocated and you don’t hear back, it’s all right—you could be missing out on a whole world of possibilities. So take this as an opportunity to explore and meet new people.”

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