How Fast Should You *Actually* Text Someone Back?

I hate playing games, and I don’t have the energy to play “hard to get.” That’s why I always text back my crushes within 1-3 minutes – to let them know from the jump that I’m literally always on my phone a real one. I’m starting to think this habit might be why I’m still single, though. I mean I also have commitment and trust issues, but that’s beside the point. There’s obviously some sort of unwritten texting etiquette, but do people really lose interest if you text back too fast? Ghosting isn’t hot, and neither is seeing the (…) typing bubble pop up within 0.00194 nanoseconds of hitting send, so how long should we wait to reply when we’re interested, but don’t want to seem too available or desperate? I can’t possibly answer these questions by myself, a perpetually single fast texter, so I consulted a sociologist and the masses to decode this riddle once and for all.

How Fast Should You Text Back?

“Timing is everything” has been drilled into our heads, like, a million times, but is it really important when it comes to keeping or losing interest at the start of a romantic relationship? Dr. Jess Carbino, former sociologist for Tinder and Bumble, confirms it is. That’s because we’re biologically and socially motivated to look for signs of investment in others so we can invest our own time and efforts accordingly. We’ve literally been conditioned to believe that people who don’t text us back fast enough aren’t interested in us due to our, as she puts it, “association of responsiveness with the effort to maintain or begin a relationship.”

“In the initial phase of a relationship, the ability to signal and determine investment is limited. However, response time is considered an important measure or proxy of investment and interest, which is why people dedicate a significant amount of time toward considering when to respond to prospective partners,” Dr. Carbino explains. THAT’S why bitches (I) love jumping to conclusions and having their (my) time wasted. It’s only natural for us to overthink about whether or not someone is going to ghost us before we put in the time and energy to put in to fall in love with them within 10 days anyway! I feel seen and validated. 

The Votes Are In….

To conduct my own experiment like the scientist I would have become had I not failed out of my college Bio program during my first semester, I ran a poll on Instagram. I asked the following question: “do you think texting back quickly is a turn ON or turn OFF?” The results? Drum roll, please! Out of 132 people who participated, 89% (118 people) voted that texting back quickly is a TURN-ON and 11% (14 people) voted TURN-OFF. One voter let me know she tapped “off” by accident so these results are slightly skewed, but still — the results are clearly in favor of texting back fast being a turn on. Sooo why the fuck am I still single??? 

Anyway, my loyal, highly educated followers have thoughts. “The game of ‘hard to get’ is all about the psychology of wanting to be wanted. In today’s world, when you’re not texting back ASAP, and we all live on our phones, you’re really going out of your way to try to want to feel desired,” said Rob Cutrone, entrepreneur and owner of my fave coffee shop… anddd this is why I give him my business 5x/week. “It’s not cool to try and look cool by actively just trying not to text back quickly. Communication is sexy,” responded Courtney Brame, founder of “the STD podcast” Something Positive For Positive People. One rando thinks “playing the ‘not texting back too fast to not seem too thirsty’ game is so tedious.” CHEERS. Another told me, “you seem very happy you don’t need a boyfriend.” Guess I’ll start posting sad selfies then maybe my knight in shining armor will finally come to the rescue??

How Fast Is TOO Fast, Though?

There’s obviously no ~magic formula~ for how soon we should reply to someone, so it’s all a matter of balance, personal preference, and finding someone who matches your texting style. According to Dr. Carbino, people messaging on an online dating app should respond within 24 hours, but when switching from app to text, iMessage, or WhatsApp, “the expectations regarding frequency and responsiveness increase.” My ex-boss’ hot son thinks 15-20 minutes is a good time to wait, but 30 seconds is a no-go, especially if you just started texting… so I waited 15 minutes to thank him for his opinion (JK, I immediately replied). Small business owner and sex educator Lauren Hamilton’s motto? “Fuck it! I’ll text when I text, and if they have a huge problem with it, I hope they communicate that with me… or maybe they’re just not a good fit for me.” Love that for us.

So to all my fellow fast responders out there, rest assured that most people think that responding quickly is hot… which means it’s probably not the reason why you’re still single. We just gotta stop overthinking this shit. But if someone is *clearly* ghosting you or being intentionally spotty with their communication (like, they go days without replying then send a “you up?” text at 2 a.m. the following weekend), then they’re just an asshole who you don’t want to date anyway. We need to date people who give us the attention we want and deserve and don’t make us question whether or not they’re even into us. Ain’t nobody got time for unrequited love anymore! One day my Prince Charming’s gotta show up and like my speedy replies, right? I just hope he texts back as fast as I do, because I agree that’s a turn-on. That’s what happened for freelance writer Irina Gonzalez, who refused to date slow texters then married someone who she STILL texts all day every day after 3.5 years. “That’s just my preferred communication style, and I made no apologies for it. If someone is a slow texter, that’s fine, but I knew instantly they weren’t the person for me.” Faith = officially restored. Guess I should start working on those trust and commitment issues now…  

What do YOU think? Is texting back too fast a turn-on or turn-off? How quickly do you usually text back and how does that impact your dating life? Let us know… but make sure not to respond too fast. We might lose interest. 

Morgan Mandriota
Morgan Mandriota
Morgan Mandriota is a New-York based writer and the founder of She writes about sex, relationships, health, travel, and other fun stuff for Betches, Bumble, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, Health, mindbodygreen, Tinder, Well+Good, and your other favorite websites. In her spare time, you can find her hiking, playing video games, chasing sunsets, traveling, or slathering CBD salve all over her aching body. Follow her on Instagram/Twitter @morganmandriota or visit