By far the most frequent question I get about texting is what to do when someone is not being responsive, something I call the Texting Dead Zone.

This usually goes on before a date has even occurred or, at best, you’ve been on one date.

You’re still feeling each other out so anxiety levels are running high. 

“Does she like me?”, you wonder.

You’re very interested but you don’t want to come on too strong.

Things are moving along well enough and suddenly it takes hours for her to respond or, even worse, it’s a day later and you still haven’t heard from her.

What do you do?

Rule #1: Do not get angry.  Women, like us, have all kinds of reasons why they may not be able to respond right away.  They may be traveling, taking care of a sick kid or at a family function. Sure, she’s seen your message – she just may not be in an environment where she can focus on it.

Rule #2: Don’t assume she’s interested just because she’s texting with you.  Women take things much slower than guys in the early stages.  Men tend to know sooner, often based on physical attraction, if they want to pursue someone and often get bent out of shape when the woman doesn’t respond in kind.

Rule #3: Don’t assume you’re the only one she’s talking to.  If you met on a dating app, there’s a good chance other guys are pursuing her too and she’s weighing her options.

Rule #4: Keep it light.  If she hasn’t responded, follow up with a joke. “Pretty woman named Susan missing in action.  Have you seen her?”  Humor can lighten the mood and open the door for her to signal where she’s at.

Rule #5: Manage your mind.  It’s so easy to get pissed off because of a perceived slight.  What are you thinking that’s triggering the anger?  Is it something like, “She’s blowing me off” or “She’s jerking me around”?  Well, that’s going to lead to anger.  How about, “She’s probably doing something” or “She’s taking it slow”.  These will neutralize any reactivity.

Rule #6: Give her space.  She hasn’t responded in a day?  Fine.  Occupy your mind with other things.  You have more important things to do than to obsess about a woman you barely know.  Give her another day and then send another text – “Still interested in chatting?”  You want to give her space, up to a point, and then take care of yourself by seeing what’s going on.

Rule #7:  Know when to move on. After you’ve given her the benefit of the doubt by rolling with some slow replies, you’ll need to decide when you’ve had enough.  If her texts are short and she’s not taking an interest in you (e.g., asking questions), she’s probably not interested but can’t tell you.  Don’t underestimate a woman’s ability to avoid – many perceive telling a guy “no” as a confrontation, so they avoid and hope you figure it out on your own.

The Texting Dead Zone is a tough place to inhabit but if you follow the rules above, you’ll have an easier time navigating this dark space.

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