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Late night text? Next!
June 8, 2012 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Is it rational that I'm turned off about receiving a first text at midnight by someone I have a 1st date coming up with?

I have a 1st date planned for Saturday with a guy from a dating site. He messaged me his phone number via the site, and I sent him mine "in case you are running late." For me, texting is practical--i.e. i only want to text you to make plans and such. I don't like back and forth "chatting" via texting.

Anyhow, the other night he sent me a text at midnight saying "you're up late *wink*" Seems like the dating site showed me as logged in, even though i had signed out about 20 minutes past. When I saw the text I felt insulted that he thought it was OK to send someone whom he's never met a text this late, even if I was showing as awake and online. Especially since the text was borderline flirty.

Texting just feels too intimate for me at this point. If I have online chat open, that's fine because I'm showing I'm available to chat. If you text me, I feel obligated to respond and I don't like that feeling.

I replied "It's not ok to text me this late" and he apologized. I was practising being more assertive rather than my usual doormat self, even if it was at the risk of turning him off. I realize I may be out of touch with "normal" texting behavious and perhaps overreacted. Or, I may have set good boundaries. I'm not sure about things like these!

Anyways, at this point, I'm both a little embarassed and annoyed enough to want to cancel the date. And I know now to let the next guy know I'm not a big texter so this doesn't happen again.

Can I get some feedback about this situation?
posted by oceanview to Human Relations (69 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think you overreacted. This sounds like it could be the kind of thing you look back on in a few years and laugh about.
posted by 4ster at 11:38 AM on June 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


You did a good job. You communicated how you felt and got an apology. You should keep doing stuff like this.
posted by zephyr_words at 11:38 AM on June 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


Sounds quite annoying to me but I think you're off to a good start with the apology. Seems to me a cultural difference. Expect to be texted a fair amount after your date should you proceed with that.
posted by michaelh at 11:38 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sounds like he has a different idea of what texting is than you do. I think you were entirely appropriate, and so was he, in apologizing for his mistake.

Go out on the date with him. One stray text shouldn't determine the course of this encounter, and like you said, you already set a boundary with this guy, which is a good thing.
posted by xingcat at 11:38 AM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


"It's not ok to text me this late"

I think this is unnecessarily harsh; he has different habits from you and telling him it's not ok is over the top, to me. You can just refrain from answering texts when they come at a bad time or there are too many of them and then eventually mention that you don't do a lot of texting.

On the other hand, I would be annoyed at someone commenting on my online presence at whatever hour because why are they keeping track of it? It seems intrusive.

I think you both got off on the wrong foot and I would just meet him and see if you get along better in person. Unless you get a stalker vibe from him or something.
posted by BibiRose at 11:39 AM on June 8, 2012 [53 favorites]


Texting just feels too intimate for me at this point.

This is likely different to many, many people. I think an assumption that you'd be ok with contact from someone who you gave your number to isn't out of line. I think you're way over reacting. It sounds like he's just keen to me.
posted by Brockles at 11:39 AM on June 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


So cancel the date. You don't need permission.

It's not worth being upset and annoyed about a single text message when you said 'don't it again' and he said 'okay, sorry.' The end.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:39 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


You did fine. You have your own boundaries and you set them. Maybe your text was a little harsh out of the gate, but go on the date and see what clicks.
posted by Think_Long at 11:39 AM on June 8, 2012


I had someone do something similar - texted me kind of at random the day before our first date because she "just wanted to chat." It was a massive turn-off for me, too, and I felt it was an early warning sign that this person would want way more contact from me than I was interested in. (And it turned out to be pretty much true, too.)

I think you did the right thing by setting a boundary, and you're in a good place to continue being assertive and wary. I wouldn't cancel the date over it, but you have data you didn't before, and that's useful.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:40 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think it would be an overreaction to cancel the date; you never know how you'll get on in person.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:40 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I saw the text I felt insulted that he thought it was OK to send someone whom he's never met a text this late, even if I was showing as awake and online.

I'm certain he did not mean to insult you.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:40 AM on June 8, 2012 [51 favorites]


Considering he apologized and didn't keep doing it, I'd chalk this up to a social faux pas on his end and would still go on the date. Worst thing that happens is a bad date.

Now, it doesn't matter whether this is "normal" or not; what matters is that you didn't like it. Telling future dates that you're not big on texts is a great idea. At the very least it'll filter out people who don't abide by reasonable requests. However, every single person you will ever date will, eventually, do something you don't like. The guys who are man enough to say "sorry" tend to be the good ones.
posted by griphus at 11:41 AM on June 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


To be honest, I would have felt the same way. For me, texting is something I do with people whom I have already met in person. It feels more intimate than email or IMing. Getting a flirty text at midnight from a random stranger would really throw me off and make me feel creeped out (especially when it indicates that said stranger was keeping an eye on my activity -- ick).

I don't think you overreacted. He doesn't know how you feel about texting, so he misstepped and you corrected him.

It's up to you whether you want to cancel the date or not. If your previous interaction on the site has been positive, I would go for it and explain on the date that you're not a "chatty text" person. See how you feel about him in person. It might just be an awkward mistake. But don't feel bad about wanting to cancel. It's your life to live, after all!
posted by fight or flight at 11:41 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I personally wouldn't be bothered at all if I had met someone online and then gave them my number, and they texted me. Seems perfectly normal and reasonable. I wouldn't see a big difference between texting and chatting online. If you're not a big texter, you should probably make that very clear when you give someone your number.

I think you probably came off as just a little rude to him. I'd have said something more along the lines "Sorry, can't talk now, bed time," and explained my views on texting later, in chat or an email.
posted by catatethebird at 11:42 AM on June 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


Good for you for standing up for yourself! Texting anyone that hour is rude indeed, especially someone you haven't met.

At the same time, he was probably just trying to be playful and cheeky. I wouldn't have thought that a single misstep like that was fatal, but that's your call. And for a lot of people, texting is not formal at all. It's like email ten years ago.

On my second date with my lovely SO, I mispronounced her name--showing that, despite a prior date and several phone calls, I really didn't know what her name is. (In my defense, it's an unusual pronunciation of a common-ish name.) She almost dumped me, but she gave me a pass, despite being annoyed. I was mortified.

And now we're getting married, in oh, three weeks.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:42 AM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think you guys just have very different views on texting. I don't see what he did as inappropriate at all, but that's because my views on texting are probably a lot closer to his than yours. That said, I would have had no problem if you chose to ignore the text until the following day.

You did the right thing by asserting yourself, though I personally would've taken a gentler tone. "It's not ok to text me this late" sounds quite stern in my head... especially since it's hard to convey tone in a text, I would've tried for softer wording.

You're allowed to be turned off and cancel the date... though I don't think that he did anything wrong.
posted by cheemee at 11:47 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Honestly, the cheesy/ creepy *wink* crap is what would turn me off most and especially since it is flirty, in the worst possible way. I could forgive the time if the text wasn't eye roll worthy, but yeah that would just make me go oh god I have to have a drink with this idiot. Don't say anything to future guys to try and prevent such behavior. Most people know better than to be a bit do a lech with someone they've never even met. Just dismiss as a one off and don't worry about the future. You are not out of touch with texting norms.
posted by whoaali at 11:48 AM on June 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is it rational that I'm turned off about receiving a first text at midnight by someone I have a 1st date coming up with?

Yes, it is rational. Better, perhaps, to have simply ignored the incoming text and waited until the guy said something (or not) on that first date. If he did, you could have kindly stated your position. If not, you still could have kindly stated your position.

Texting (or emailing, for that matter) absolutely flattens nuance in communication. Absent body language and other cues, you have no idea whether the guy was truly sorry and worthy of a second chance.
posted by John Borrowman at 11:49 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you don't want to go on the date then don't go, you need no "good reason" for it.

I'd update your dating profile with your communication habits though, may save you alot of trouble. My brother and I communicate opposite... I am on an unlimited text plan, pay for each minute of talk, so I use text for normal conversation, making plans, saying hi, etc. My brother pays for texts and has unlimited talk, and he won't send/respond to texts and will only use his phone for verbal communication.

I wouldn't bother dating you, because it demands a life change right from the get-go (adjust my habits, change my phone plan, put up with talking on the phone.) Likewise you wouldn't want to date me, as you'd be pissed that I didn't enjoy phone conversations and I'd be texting you all the time. I'd say just put a note in your profile and the next guy will know to call you instead of text.

But no need to dig into this too deeply... you're a female on an online dating site, so I'm just going to go with my gut and say you get regular correspondence... if you for any reason don't want to go on this date, don't bother. It'd be very hard to go on a date with someone who irked me before I even met them, even if for a reason that was ridiculous to everyone but me.
posted by el_yucateco at 11:49 AM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


And everyone here is stating their opinions as global facts, either that it was rude or totally acceptable. Obviously people have differing methods of communication and different comfort zones when it comes to talking to strangers. If you and this dude are on different wavelengths already, I say it again, don't bother with the date. Unless you want to go on the date, then go for it. Just do whatever you want to do, you don't need the internet's permission.
posted by el_yucateco at 11:52 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think you overreacted, but I am not super formal, 25 years old, and love to text. If I had gotten that text back from you, I would have felt rejected, scolded, and like you were a bit too uptight. I think it's fine to tell him you don't like texting, esp. late at night, but like some others have said, I would have put it more gently: "I'm about to go to bed, sorry." Then later in person you can explain that texts wake you up or whatever.
posted by queens86 at 11:52 AM on June 8, 2012 [22 favorites]


Here's two rules I try to follow, which bother me when other people don't follow them: Don't answer the phone if the first thing you're going to say is "I can't talk to you right now." Similarly, don't respond to a text message if the first thing you're going to say is "This is the wrong time to text me."

There is nothing wrong with having a preference for keeping texting strictly functional, or only texting during certain hours. But you were obviously paying attention to your phone that night when the text came in.
posted by emelenjr at 11:56 AM on June 8, 2012 [23 favorites]


I consider texting fairly non-intrusive because you can respond at your leisure. (In fact, when I'm feeling stressed I just don't bring my phone to work and simply respond to my texts when I get back.) Likewise, when I text somebody I don't necessarily expect an answer immediately or even that day - if I did, I'd simply call them instead.

Why do you feel obligated to respond to texts? The answer to that seems like it could give some insight into your feelings.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 11:57 AM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


There has been at least one texting AskMe in the past that makes it clear that people do really have different views and behaviors when it comes to texting. Like a few others, I probably would have not responded (but my usual response when I'm not sure what to do is to not do anything) and then if/when it came up on the date I'd mention the way I use texting. I wouldn't cancel the date, I would see if we clicked in person.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:59 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I had gotten that text from you, I'd have cancelled the date myself. If that's your state of mind right now, just go ahead and cancel, you're just going to have a shitty time if you go.
posted by empath at 12:01 PM on June 8, 2012 [15 favorites]


To give the kindest possible interpretation of the dude's actions here:

He was online, and saw you were online (you weren't, of course, but he didn't know that), and assumed you likewise saw that he was online.

You have plans to see each other in two days, and as far as he knows, you're both staring at each other's names online, aware that the other person is also online, in this sort of opaque proto-social standoff, faces bathed in blue light, wondering if you should say something to other person. Quite possibly, he wanted to simply remove any nervousness arising from two screennamed people being online simultaneously without speaking. He did so with a pretty content-free message that requested nothing of you, just a little breaking-of-ice to ameliorate what he may have thought was otherwise a mildly-awkward situation.

It's TOTALLY cool that you don't like that he texted you, and it's great that you asserted your own desires here, but he had no way of knowing what those desires would be in advance. Now he does, and he's apologetic.

Especially since the text was borderline flirty.

It had a flirty wink at the end, but I don't really think that flirtiness is out of line given you two are planning on going on a date tomorrow. There are many many many times that being flirty is inappropriate. The ONE time that it is wholly appropriate to flirt with another person is when they have agreed to go on a date where romance is the goal. If you are trying to date humans, there's like a 95 percent chance that they will probably try to flirt with you.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:10 PM on June 8, 2012 [100 favorites]


Judging by the answers here, it's clear that there is a broad range of opinions on texting etiquette. So to feel insulted, IMO, is an overreaction, since it's highly unlikely he meant to insult you or meant to imply anything untoward about you solely by the act of texting you at a late hour.

I'm not sure why the borderline flirtiness of the text is a problem, especially since you're going on a date (on preview, what GregNog said), but it appears that there's probably also a broad range of opinions on flirtiness. And back when I was single, I was all about the flirt, myself!

There's nothing wrong with not wanting to communicate at that hour, I know I wouldn't either. But an "I'm about to go to bed, catch up later" or some such reply would have accomplished the same thing in a less stern/abrupt way. (And I do feel your response was unnecessarily abrupt.) If I were him, I'd be considering cancelling, myself.

I wouldn't blame you for cancelling, as he's already annoyed you on 2 different fronts. But if you keep the date, it might be good to remember that it's unlikely that he's meaning to insult you, he's just used to communicating in different ways than you.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 12:19 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would have had no problem w/the time because I don't feel compelled to respond to txt immediately or even read them but, the content would have creeped (crept?)me out. Seems more creepy than rude.
posted by Carbolic at 12:19 PM on June 8, 2012


Neither of you did anything wrong. To many people -- most people, I suspect -- there's nothing out of bounds about texting and borderline flirting with someone you met on a dating site and have scheduled a date with. Many (or most) people don't find texting in general to be this intensely too personal, intrusive thing that you seem to.

The midnight thing would make it too late in most circumstances, I think. But as you showed up as online/chatting/etc., that alleviated the primary reasonable concern: that it would be too late and you might be asleep.

But look, you set a boundary that you want. There's nothing wrong with that. You don't want him to text you that late, you told him so, and he apologized. Everything's fine.
posted by J. Wilson at 12:20 PM on June 8, 2012


I realize I may be out of touch with "normal" texting behavious and perhaps overreacted. Or, I may have set good boundaries. I'm not sure about things like these!

It's good to set boundaries, it is probably better to err on the side of over-setting than under-setting them.

On the other hand, if I received a reply text that said "It's not ok to text me this late" I would apologise and then cancel (over email or a text the next day).
posted by atrazine at 12:30 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


For many people, texting is a way to communicate without being intrusive, so that if the other person doesn't respond, it's no big deal. You don't feel that way, so it's a good idea to let people know that.

In the future, if someone texts you when you don't want them to, just don't respond. The next day you can send an email saying that you were asleep, and you don't chat through texts, and that takes care of it.

I think in this situation, the other person didn't really do anything wrong, they just did things differently than you like. I don't see that as a reason not to date them, just an opportunity to get both of you on the same page about how you communicate.
posted by markblasco at 12:38 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


It sounds like your respective expectations for texting were not the same. This isn't the end of the world or anything. Having said that, you can absolutely cancel the date if you want to. If you do, I'd suggest not telling him it's because he texted you at midnight. The thing about differing expectations is that there's no right or wrong answer. It's not that he did anything wrong, it's that he did something that turned you off and/or clashed with your particular values and expectations. That's a longer conversation than you really need to have with someone you haven't met yet.

Something to bear in mind is that texting, unlike a phone call, is an asynchronous medium. Most people consider it less intrusive. I'd have been much more wigged out if he'd called - you know, the phone rings, you have to talk to the person, et cetera. If he just sent a text, then either you were by your phone and would see it, or you weren't and would not. It's entirely possible that he thinks of texting as a method of communication very like e-mail; would it have bugged you if he'd e-mailed you at midnight? And please note that, even if the answer's no, you still have every right to not want to meet the guy.

Here's another question: How much had you been messaging back and forth with the guy before deciding to meet? Had you talked much about your respective selves? I ask because the message is less strange (to my own particular set of eyes) if you've already built a tiny bit of rapport, made each other laugh, whatever.

So anyway, to answer your question:

Is it rational that I'm turned off about receiving a first text at midnight by someone I have a 1st date coming up with?


No, but at this stage of dating, rational has nothing to do with it. It doesn't matter how irrational the turnoff is, you're still turned off and it's okay if you decide to go with that.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:42 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is mega overreacting.

Not everyone has the same utilitarian approach to texting that you do.

Not everyone thinks it's "rude" to text someone late at night.

You've never met the guy, so he probably has no way of knowing your stance on this stuff. He almost certainly did not mean to offend.

In my book, texting is pretty low-intensity communication -- it doesn't necessitate an immediate response, and there's no way for the other person to know whether you saw it or not.

I think your response to him was OK, maybe a touch curt, but you don't know this guy. I think it's silly to cancel the date; you can just shrug the whole thing off and make sure to be extra fun and charming. Maybe a slight apology, like "I feel like I was a little harsh with you the other night with the text thing. Still friends?" But only if he brings it up.
posted by Sara C. at 12:44 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I completely agree with the OP. Texting someone you don't really know at all, at midnight, for no reason, based on a faulty assumption that they're awake, is rude. Period. People can rationalize anything by referring to vague "cultural differences," but I don't believe that there's any "culture" where this makes sense. If you feel like canceling the date, cancel the date.
posted by John Cohen at 12:46 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is it rational that I'm turned off about receiving a first text at midnight by someone I have a 1st date coming up with?

There is not yet an established social etiquette, so while you were correct to explain your own preferences when the issue of different understandings arose, it's perhaps unfair to hold it against him that he sees text-via-phone and text-via-computer as serving similar functions, before you told him otherwise.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:46 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, I like the sentence "I'm not a big texter" as a response in the future. It's a little more casual and less confrontational than "THIS IS NOT OK". Especially since, of course it's OK. You're just not interested in talking right now. Which is fine. But that doesn't mean someone who texts you when you don't feel like talking is breaking some kind of social norm.

I also feel like you're perfectly within your rights to just not respond to those sorts of texts, and possibly follow up at a more appropriate time with something like, "sorry, I didn't see your text. Not a big texter, especially late at night." Or something else that somewhat adequately describes your stance without being aggressive.
posted by Sara C. at 12:47 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Various social networking sites show me as online (and presumably awake) at hours that I am not. Phone calls/texts received from my nearest and dearest at these times are either ignored (if my phone is set to silent) and handled in the morning or answered with "you better be in trouble" if it woke me up.

Being assertive about your boundaries with communication (how and when) with a man you've not met who decided to text you at midnight seems perfectly reasonable to me.
posted by RainyJay at 12:50 PM on June 8, 2012


If I was in the guy's position I would be turned off by someone that says "It's not ok to text me this late" based on the circumstances. He was trying to be friendly and initiate a conversation with you because he enjoys communicating with you and you overreacted.

He respected your decision to set up this boundary. But in my opinion, this isn't something that you set up a boundary over. You should have said "I'm actually just about to go to bed since it's very late. Goodnight and see you on June 10th! -Oceanview" I think, this gets the message across without being harsh.

It's all about how you word something.

If you like the guy though, might as well still go on the date. He showed that he respects your boundaries and texting is such a small part of life that you two should be able to just move past this awkward and uncomfortable experience. If after the first date, you realize that you can't move past it then just move on.
---
In the future, if you don't want these types of text messages make this clear in your dating profile by saying "I prefer in-person communication or talking on the phone more than texting because texting doesn't feel as meaningful."
posted by livinglearning at 1:02 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Being wary and abrupt is a totally understandable response; if I received that text late at night I'd think, 'oh shit he wants late night sex chat before we've even fricking met' and be really spooked.

That said, since plenty of people here say they'd text in those circumstances for legit reasons (e.g. to relieve awkwardness or just check in in a mildly flirty way) it's probably worth dialling down your alarm and giving the guy a chance in person.
posted by pickingupsticks at 1:03 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, kudos for sticking up for yourself, and for knowing and communicating what you will and won't put up with.

However, look at it from the guy's perspective: you gave him your phone number, he knew you were interested enough in him to plan a date with him, and he knew you were awake. All of those signs point to "go ahead and send a flirty text!"

Conversational texting is one of the least urgent forms of communication people use. If it's not time-sensitive, you're under no obligation to return a text immediately, or at all. It would have been a better idea to send him an email the next day saying "hey, I didn't see your text last night. I'm not really into chatty texting, and I don't check my phone that late at night, so that's why I didn't respond, just FYI."

If he'd called instead of texted, the responses here would probably be more skewed towards "he was totally inappropriate" instead of being as mixed as they are. If he'd emailed or sent a message through the dating site, you'd probably find it no big deal at all. Texting is sort of a gray area in between: more immediate and intimate than an email, but far less intrusive than a phone call.

I think it's reasonable not to want people to text "just to say hi" or after a certain time, but I think your response could have been much more diplomatic. If I were on the receiving end of "it's not ok to text me this late" verbatim, even if I were definitely in the wrong I would think "this person clearly doesn't like me, guess I better cancel the date."
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:05 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would be insulted because, in my mind, texts that late are for bootycalls.

But I'm horribly jaded. He probably didn't mean to insult you - go on a date and see what happens.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 1:07 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm on the utilitarian side of texting, like you, with everyone except my partner. So I get where you're coming from in terms of your gut reaction.

That said, the guy apologized and there's really almost no chance he was trying to insult or upset you. Setting boundaries is a great skill to develop. So is assuming the best of other people (until they give you very, very clear reasons to believe otherwise -- which this most certainly is not) and embracing the fact that not everyone shares your point of view about all things.

I think you should go on the date and make further decisions based on how you actually interact as human beings, not on some fairly rigid conclusions you draw from a single 3-word text.
posted by scody at 1:08 PM on June 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's totally rational for you to be turned off by this because you don't like it, and it sounds like you won't want random chatty SMS messages if you start dating him. It's also pretty rational for him to be turned off by your response, because he texts a lot, doesn't mean anything by it and thinks that you sounded uptight. Yay you found out you might not be compatible!
posted by jacalata at 1:10 PM on June 8, 2012


Everyones communications style is different.

On-one-hand I agree with you - for me personally, TXT messages are for important things, urgent emergencies. Otherwise send an email.

However - there is no law that I have to respond to anything, sent during "odd hours".

On-the-other-hand... the truth of the matter was/is - you were up late, he was up late - a communications tool you both used (dating website) showed that - if you do not like that, then perhaps you should "opt-out" of that feature within the dating website. Are you even certain that perhaps he attempted to use the dating website chat feature and it auto-forwarded it to your phone as you were then "offline"? Technology can be a mess of unexpected consequences these days.

... Unfortunately, sending a wink ;-) is something I do all the time - it is not a leer... However - depending on how your phone/chat interface displays that... it could graphically appear to be a leer... Again, is that his fault, or technologies?
posted by jkaczor at 1:14 PM on June 8, 2012


I would feel the same way, FWIW. Too late, too soon, etc. That being said it would be a little red flag and I would move on and give it a shot anyway.
posted by beccaj at 1:17 PM on June 8, 2012


I don't like texts at that hour from anyone except a client willing to pay for the privilege. That said, just don't respond to the text until it's convenient for you to do so. That way, no expectation of immediate response is formed. Being a doormat, in this situation, means you'd feel compelled to respond even when you don't want to. You didn't. Beyond that, you needed to say nothing.

So, yes, I think this was a bit of an overreaction. It's easy enough to correct when you meet--if you do.
posted by Hylas at 1:25 PM on June 8, 2012


Agree with others, massive overreaction. You're thinking of canceling the date? I'm surprised he didn't.
posted by windbox at 1:43 PM on June 8, 2012


Cancelling the date sends a message that buddy made an irrecoverable error. And did he?

He overstepped a boundary because he didn't know that line was there, because he doesn't know you well enough. He now knows where that line is, and has said he'll observe it. And really? That boundary is one of preference, not out-and-out misbehaviour. You have no reason not to believe him at this point.

So I think it's not fair on him to cancel, since he didn't know what he did was wrong (or not even wrong, something you don't like).

That said, if you're annoyed enough with it this much now, perhaps you would do best to cancel, and save everyone the time.

But pin some slight on buddy? No. Sorry. He was excited about you, and trying to be flirty. That is what dating involves.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:45 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the feedback!

My first thought was actually to send a msg along the lines of "yup, but going to bed now--see u saturday!", but then I thought that this was a bit too accommodating for a guy who was, in my view, being too familiar, too soon. Our online relationship at this point was a 1-hour chat.

The things is, I didn't think it was socially acceptable to simply ignore a text when I felt he was expecting an imminent reply back (he knew I was awake and it seemed like he wanted to chat).

I guess this has been a learning opportunity for me to be tactful with someone up until they are unequivocally being a jackass, rather than ever assuming that they are being one.

(And for the record--I had my chat OFF on the dating site that night. Just a data point. If I had my chat off on the site, I was annoyed he thought I'd be up for chatting by text. )
posted by oceanview at 1:45 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


a lot of women have chat off on okcupid so they don't get harassed by random guys every time they log on.

And you gave him your phone number, which is fairly implicit permission to call you or text you. Your first instinct would have been waaaay better, imo. Or just ignoring it.
posted by empath at 1:49 PM on June 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


For what it's worth, I would have been put off a little by the text too. Mostly because "HAY YOU'RE UP LATE TEE HEE" texts from people I've met online have historically, for me, pretty much been thin excuses for booty calls.

Your first instinct was good. It shuts down the conversation while giving him a chance to redeem himself later.
posted by rhythm and booze at 1:54 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The things is, I didn't think it was socially acceptable to simply ignore a text when I felt he was expecting an imminent reply back (he knew I was awake and it seemed like he wanted to chat).

At least in my social circles, the expectation is that a person answers a "just saying hello" text when they have the time to answer a "just saying hello" text. That could mean immediately and that could just as well mean tomorrow.
posted by griphus at 2:03 PM on June 8, 2012


I would have ignored the text but I don't think he was rude to have sent it, and I don't think it's rude to send them late at night- I view them like emails, I guess, because I usually turn the ringer off when I sleep. I think your response was harsher than required but not a deal killer. If I were to get a harsh response at midnight I'd just assume I'd woken them, and when I'm half asleep, my diplomatic skills aren't the greatest.

Interesting to know that other people feel it's rude. ("rude. Period." even!)

Just as a data point, I'm 40, so it's not just a generational thing, I don't think.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:06 PM on June 8, 2012


I would be mildly skeeved by the content of the text, not the fact of texting. Like he was spying on me or something ... And the wink, yuck. Probably your response was overboard (you could have just ignored it) but I think what was really pinging your radar was the incompatible sensibility and slight yuck factor. Don't ignore those signals! Go ahead and refuse dates with anyone who seems a little off to you, no matter what point you figure that out.
posted by yarly at 2:16 PM on June 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Add my voice to the chorus of "not overreacting." It was midnight. You haven't even met him and then the cheesy "wink." Add these all together and I get "tool."
posted by nubianinthedesert at 2:42 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


If I were the guy, I'd cancel and block you.
posted by KogeLiz at 2:44 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well KogeLiz, he's been texting me again just now looking forward to the date, so I guess I didn't bother him too much.
posted by oceanview at 2:51 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess this has been a learning opportunity for me to be tactful with someone up until they are unequivocally being a jackass, rather than ever assuming that they are being one.

By way of encouragement, I've made all sorts of missteps as part of learning how to "do" online dating. One complicating factor is exactly what you ran up against: people have different expectations and assumptions about what is OK behavior.

I'm with you on the no texting (or phone calls) late at night. I've learned that I need to articulate that upfront, in early communications. I also have some jibberjabber in my profile about not being a texter, so that helps, I think.

Don't sweat your response to the guy. I've had to get pretty blunt with dudes who've blown up my phone with texts late at night, and they weren't terribly put off by it. Some guys actually seem to appreciate lines being clearly drawn, and I'd rather see you err on the side of being a hard-ass than a doormat.
posted by quivering_fantods at 4:44 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


It rubs me the wrong way that he was teasing you about being on the site at a late hour, as if it's any of his business one way or the other. "Wink?" Oh so you're getting winked at because he's assuming you're "up late" doing something "naughty". Er, no. It would be different if he actually knew you, but to me this just screams Cheese Wizard. If you do go on the date, get ready for more of the same.

Funny how one person's "flirty" can be someone else's "overfamiliar patronizing douche", isn't it.
posted by doreur at 4:54 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, I would have been put off a little by the text too. Mostly because "HAY YOU'RE UP LATE TEE HEE" texts from people I've met online have historically, for me, pretty much been thin excuses for booty calls.

This is my perception too.

Could be he was checking to see how much he could get away with in terms of boundary pushing — if not going for a booty call right then, then getting a sense of whether you'd be up for that sort of thing in the future. In that case, you did fine by maintaining your boundaries, though ignoring the text and returning it in the morning would also have worked. But either way, good for you for articulating your boundaries — and apparently he's still interested in meeting you, so it looks like he's okay with your boundaries where you drew them. Win/win.

Or it could be he was just excited about the date and being overeager. In which case maybe you were a little harsh, but again, apparently he's still up for it, so win/win.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:32 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


To many, many, many people, texting at midnight is neither "too late" nor "too familiar" to do with someone who you've already chatted with for an hour. Update your OKC profile to indicate that you're not much of a texter, because unless you're offended by the bootycallishness of it, there's nothing really rude about it.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:53 PM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought he was super rude.

I'm surprised everyone seems to think this was OK.

Yes, you did great! And for sure he was testing your boundaries, even if that wasn't calculated.

Good for you.
posted by jbenben at 6:10 PM on June 8, 2012


In terms of how to handle it if/when you meet up with him, I think a little humor will go a long way if the late-night text kerfuffle comes up in conversation. (In my case, when I met the Midnight Texter in person, we joked around about the perils of rousing a sleeping she-beast from her slumbers, and that got rid of any awkwardness licketysplit.)

Laughing together about how dang wacky online dating is makes for excellent bonding conversation.
posted by quivering_fantods at 6:25 PM on June 8, 2012


I don't think the time is an issue, as people have different schedules and texting isn't calling, but the content would bother me, since I think texts assume a certain familiarity that you don't yet have. But your scolding response was probably a bit much. I would have just ignored it and continued to communicate however you were communicating before (unless it was text!).
posted by FlyByDay at 8:18 PM on June 8, 2012


Funny how one person's "flirty" can be someone else's "overfamiliar patronizing douche"

Hahaha, exactly.

I, too, am accustomed to middle-of-the-night texts from almost strangers being booty calls, especially if it's established that we're interacting in a romantic context. I would have been annoyed--not offended, but turned off, and I probably would have cancelled the date. Not because I think that he's objectively the douche king of the universe, but because it's a strong signal to me that he won't feel the same way I do about privacy and that we have divergent communication styles, and I don't want to be dealing with those issues before we even go on a first date.

Sure, it could work out, but I'd already feel like, "yeah, wow, none of your business, dude." I don't like weird teasing before I even know someone, it's just playful in a way that I'm not really down with. Sexualized or antagonistic or something. No need to act like the OP is a stone-cold bitch when she'd just rather not do the sexy kiddie playtime thing.
posted by stoneandstar at 8:37 PM on June 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


The overanalyzing of this guy's Secret Mysterious Text is too much. Sometimes a text is just a text. Just go out with the dude instead of judging his entire value system based on one text message.
posted by girlmightlive at 10:46 AM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm a guy and I think that's weird. Then again, I have space issues and even if a peripheral friend sent me a text that late about nothing in particular I'd get that STOP SMOTHERING ME feeling. But from someone you've never met? Coming on way too strong.

Now that I think about it, "hee hee hee" texts of a non-functional nature, other than from people I feel very close to, are extremely annoying to me. I don't think this means he's an ax murderer but it may very well mean that you're incompatible right off the bat.
posted by threeants at 11:27 AM on June 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


OP, did you go on the date? If so: did texting etiquette come up? Is he dreamy? I am curious for a follow-up!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:43 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just wanted to say that there seems to be a vast range of ideas about texting etiquette out there. Until I read this thread, I would have had absolutely no idea that sending someone a text would make her feel obligated to reply immediately.

I think you're absolutely right to make it clear how you feel about your boundaries for when someone should text you. I think you're completely wrong to assume someone ought to automatically know what your boundaries are without you having to tell them.
posted by straight at 11:20 AM on June 14, 2012


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