Take It From a Dry Texter: Short Messages Don’t Mean Someone Isn’t Interested (2024)

I can still remember that June afternoon, long and sticky and sun-heavy as I waited for a text back. When it finally arrived, four hours later, it sparkled across the screen like jewels: “Cool.” The message I’d sent previously read, “Just at the park.” Two hours before then, hers read: “How’s ur day?”

If I’d been on TikTok back then, some girl in a towel headband doing a 10-step skincare routine in the mirror would have probably told me in a New York accent that I should know my worth and cut off this dry texter immediately. Or maybe she’d have toldher that. Maybe one of us would have believed her.

But half a decade later, my partner and I still message each other in this relatively functional way. “Where u at?”“Going shop.” “Cool.” In person, we’re affectionate, the type of couple you’d feel a boiling rage towards for being slow and stuck together on the pavement. But over text we mainly keep it to-the-point, as if it’s the ’90s and we’re on our pagers. When one of us is away, we might send more—photos, updates, I love yous, etc.—but more often than not we’re what are widely referred to as dry texters. Two dry texters, being dry together.

As a phrase, “dry texting” is relatively recent in the grand scheme of things. It refers to people who reply with one word, or don’t carry the conversation and just say things like “lmao” and “wyd” until the receiver wants to tear their hair outin frustration or boredom. The opposite, I suppose, are funny back-and-forths, long paragraphs peppered with in-jokes or feelings or passing thoughts. When someone’s a dry texter, especially during the dating stage, online lore says that they’reprobably not interested, or they’re too busy messaging other people, or they’re simply boring, or some winning combination of all three. “If they wanted to, they would,”people love to say online, and that seems to apply to messaging you at all hours of the day and dropping whatever they’re doing to reply in an appropriately timely manner.

The thing is, I’ve always been a relatively dry texter—not just with partners, obviously, but with friends and family as well. When I was 12 or 13, I used to exchange scrunched-up notes across the classroom. My school best friend once remarked how cold I sounded on paper, and that it made her laugh. I remember feeling taken aback—I didn’t feel cold towards her, I felt warm. She was my favorite person. Was I supposed to write kisses on the notes? “No, but most people say more than just, like, ‘Okay.’”

Take It From a Dry Texter: Short Messages Don’t Mean Someone Isn’t Interested (2024)
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