We’ve all found ourselves playing the complicated, emotional game of texting. It is part of the terrifying mystery that is this sick competition of love, flirtation and “I stopped texting you first therefore I WIN”.

Once upon a time, the message puck was being passed so swiftly, back and forth, forth and back without any penalties being given or blood being shed. Every minute on the minute you received a vibration and knew the sensuous, non-metaphoric balls were now sitting in your court.

But then, suddenly, without any warning, the phone ceased to flutter. It no longer pulsated with the LOLs and the BTWs and the *wink face emoticons* of the past. But, why? Why have you forsaken me, dude I think I like who I slept with twice? And, why have I forsaken you, guy I went on one date with who I’m 100% not sure about?

How did I lose/gain the upper hand of douchebaggery? How did I find myself trapped within this contest of “who cares less”? I don’t know how, but I know I want to win. It could drive me mad trying to take the prize of romantic ambivalence, but it will be worth it in the end when I’m completely alone because of my own stupidity. This may or may not be healthy.

You’re probably wondering how YOU can go about winning round after round of whose ego is more fragile. The magical tips and tricks below will make you triumphant and one day you can be like me, a human filled with regret and sadness.

The delayed response
Minimum waiting time before hitting send: 5 minutes
Desired waiting time before hitting send: 25 minutes
Ultimate waiting time before hitting send: three days

You should strive to be victorious in the battle of “I’m busier than you are so I can’t reply quickly, but I really could if I wanted to, I just don’t”. I want to prove to men who I have kissed that I do in fact have a schedule that is PACKED. And the slower I reply, the stronger he believes that I do not require a penis to fulfill me or satisfy my urges. I will take my sweet-ass time acknowledging that message because I define my own self-worth by my restraint to communicate. Restraint FTW.

The double delayed response (when you double the time the other person waited to respond)
Oh, they took ten minutes to answer your question? Looks like you’re going to up the ante and take twenty minutes to answer THEIR question. OH, THEY TOOK THIRTY MINUTES TO REPLY? Looks like you’re taking a motherfucking hour. If they want to hamper a conversation between two people who enjoy each other’s company and are attempting to make plans then GOOD FOR THEM. You will hamper harder until they surrender to their weak, feeble want to spend time with you and get that drink you’ve been talking about getting for a month. You have conquered their fondness for you. Match point.

The vague answer
Then there is the tournament of the “Hmm… uhh… I don’t know”—and what a tournament it is! Keep it short. Keep it ambiguous. Keep it noncommittal in every sense of the word. You can’t commit to anything serious and you also can’t commit to saying you had a great day at work when they ask you how you are. How am I? “I’m… okay” AND THAT’S ALL YOU ARE, YOU HEAR ME? What are you doing this weekend? “Going to a party”. What kind of party? “I can’t remember”. Are you free to have dinner? “Depends”. What does it depend on? “I CAN’T REMEMBER”. When will you see each other next? “Soon”. When is soon? “Soon is soon”. Does next week work better? “I guess so”. Checkmate.

Do not, under any circumstance, inquire about the other person’s life
They ask you what’s up so you tell ‘em what’s up and you do not return the favour. By asking a single question about their existence you are admitting to being interested in them and that equals failure. You DO NOT pursue booking a hangout session. YOU are pursued. You DO NOT forward funny images that relate to something they told you in order to make them laugh. YOU are the one who laughs. You DO NOT hint that you would like to engage in a phone call so they can share sad family stories with you. YOU witness THEIR hints and you deny, deny, deny resulting in a TOUCHDOWN.

Imply that you are hanging out with someone who is attractive
Nah, nah, nah you can’t chill tonight ‘cause you’re with Chris. Do not provide any information beyond “Chris”. Then you post a photo of you and a good-looking specimen on instagram with a hot filter attached. Then you sit back and wait for the hearts to roll in. Did they heart it? Doesn’t matter. You know they saw it. Homerun.

The strictly emoji message
If you’re a serious player you will whip out an emoji in order to fuel the fire of your perplexity. On occasion, opt for emojis instead of words to maintain secrecy. They say; “What are you up to?” You send nails being painted. They say; “You’re getting your nails done?” You send a dancing man. They say; “What does that mean?” You send a monkey covering their eyes. They send a question mark. You send a 100 points symbol AND a flame AND a bicep. You just hit a hole in one, my friend!

The switching it up to Facebook message message
You’re so non-chalant about this convo that you’re going to change the medium and not inform them. THEN when they send a bunch of texts in a row to which you aren’t responding, they’ll get mad at first but realize later you were continuing the chats via the Fbook and they’ll feel mega-silly and nervous and embarrassed. That is a slam dunk!

The no actual message message
Type in a period and send that. They’ll get it. Not understand it. Leave it for a while. Return it to later. Not understand it again. And wonder “Did he/she send this? Why?” Who knows why? Not you. *wink face emoji*. Goal.

The 4 a.m. text that you know they won’t get until the morning so you don’t have to fear rejection as intensely
You can’t hold back experiencing feelings because your dumb brain is functioning as it was designed to function, so you reach out. Sometimes you gotta do it. BUT it can only be past 3 a.m. on a weekday and it can’t be a direct invitation or compliment of any sort. Your motivation for doing it should be unclear. Example: “I’m eating at that place you like” AKA STRIKE.

The never response
And the gold medal of texting is, of course, not doing it at all. When you can purchase a phone plan that only allows you to receive and not send, you can truly call yourself the MVP of texting.

P.S. Don’t do any of this. It’s all horrible. Just be yourself and say what you want, when you want to. ALWAYS REPLY TO ALL MESSAGES.
P.P.S Minus the emoji tip. That one is genuinely amazing and everyone should it.