I Have Texting Anxiety—Here’s What It’s Like

I think about a text for hours before sending it. Conversations sometimes fall apart because I take too long to reply to texts. Sound familiar? Maybe you have what I have—texting anxiety. Here are some other symptoms.

  1. I read texts over and over again. I’m the person who seems to be “typing” a new message when in actual fact I’m always editing texts, leaving the receiver to wait for me to pluck up enough courage to press “send.” Yeah, I know it’s annoying. The guy’s probably thinking, “Can she just send a text already? Is she typing an essay?!”
  2. I overthink things. I will analyze every little word in my text out of fear of choosing the wrong one. It’s not an English lit final, it’s a freaking text message! I wish I could be a casual texter but it’s just not me.
  3. I’m paralyzed by fear of what he’ll think of me. I’m always worried about making the wrong move in the dating game, and this really comes to life when I text a guy. I’m worried that if I go ahead and send him a funny joke I heard or make an error that brings confusion to my text, he’ll see me in a negative light.
  4. I live in uncertainty. I’m never 100% sure about the text I’m sending the guy. Ever. I always doubt it and worry that there’s something I haven’t done correctly. It’s exhausting to live in that state of doubt. Even when I feel good about a text, if the guy (heaven forbid) doesn’t answer right away or doesn’t seem that impressed, I’ll second-guess it. The problem with texting is that there is no rulebook, so it’s impossible to truly know if a text will be seen as good or not.
  5. I blame myself when something goes wrong. If he loses interest, I’ll blame myself. Maybe my texts were too long or maybe I shouldn’t have sent him that bit about my family. Ugh. Meanwhile, maybe the guy was just never that interested to begin with. If a text can derail a romance, then he’s clearly not the right guy for me, but it’s hard to remember that sometimes.
  6. I turn small dramas into big deals. A little glitch along the way, like a guy who takes ages to reply to one of my texts, will be blown out of proportion. In my eyes, it becomes a big drama. I’m always so anxious and stressed out when texting, especially when it’s a new guy to whom I’m chatting. Even if he has a great texting track record, one misstep and I’ll think he’s not interested or he’s over me or whatever. Ugh.
  7. He can sense my energy. This sounds paranoid but it’s true. You can just sense when someone’s texting energy is weird or there’s something else going on. By being so cautious and worried, there’s no doubt my negative energy is seeping into my texts. That can totally put a good guy off. He can probably tell I’m not being natural.
  8. My texts end up seeming staged. When I try to create the perfect text, I end up trying to achieve the impossible. Besides, what’s a perfect text anyway? I create things that I hope are as close to perfection as possible, but this backfires. I end up with staged texts instead of the real deal. The dude might as well be talking to a robot.
  9. I take things way too seriously. Instead of having fun with texting, I turn it into a serious thing that’s worse than going to the dentist for a root canal. At least I don’t overanalyze what happens in the chair. Texting is supposed to be light and fun in the early stages of dating someone new. If I’m bringing that much drama to it so early on, it’s a red flag for the rest of the relationship. How much more stressed out will I be when things become serious with the guy?
  10. I can’t initiate texting and always wait for the guy. The problem with having so much texting anxiety is that I’m afraid of making a move. That means I won’t text the guy first even if I know him and we’re getting along. I end up waiting for him to send that first text, which is crazy and really outdated. Hello, it’s 2019! Plus, if I’m not taking at least some initiative, I’m coming across as lazy. No one wants to text or date someone who’s not making an effort.
  11. He ends up thinking I’m not interested. Not only does my texting cold feet (or thumbs) give him the idea that I’m lazy, it also makes him think that I’m not interested in pursuing anything with him. He’ll probably get tired of trying so hard to win my attention and move on. It sucks, but it happens and all because I’ve turned texting into a monster when it’s supposed to be a friendly unicorn.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.