With a constant flux of media running our lives, it’s important that we be able to pick up on the digital hints our friends will leave us every now and then. Obviously, by friends, I mean friends of friends, or coworkers, or hot people you meet at barbecues, not actual friends of course. The point is that you should actively draw a line that divides the unavailable from the unwilling. This line would then allow you to keep your behaviour in check so as to avoid those undesired scenarios where you may (a) constantly tell your friends that the other person’s a bitch, (b) maintain some paltry online conversation without ever coming into actual contact with the person, and (c) consistently pretend like you have something else going on when, really, you just end up scarfing down a tub of expired sour cream. With these things in mind, I’ve put together a short list of deal breakers to weed out those unsocial socialites and, hopefully, save us all a little bit of time and dignity.
Disclaimer: the pronoun she is used strictly for convenience sake and does not target any woman in particular but rather women in general. Men do some of these too but are usually far less subtle – usually because they are much, much simpler.
1. SHE ANSWERS TIME-SENSITIVE TEXT MESSAGES NO LESS THAN 48 HOURS LATER.
It’s Wednesday afternoon, you’re bored and tired of work so you begin to text. Your exchange is playful but prompt and hovers mostly around what you’ve got planned for the weekend: Oh, not too much, probably just take it easy, you each say. You add, well, if you’re free, we should go out Friday night, and she enthusiastically accepts! Great, you think. Friday comes around and you check back to confirm the details about the where and when but receive no reply. Maybe she’s in a meeting or has no reception? Give it an hour or so before you nudge. You send off another text after an acceptably unclingy amount of time but – still – nothing. Monday comes around and things go back to the way they were last Wednesday.
2. SHE APPARENTLY DIDN’T RECEIVE YOUR E-MAIL.
It’s true that there was a time when e-mails went undelivered. It happened the same year you bought your pager, the same year you lost the floppy disk that had all your homework on it, and the same year you purchased that first Ja Rule album and thought that yellow Hummers were cool. If you send someone an e-mail that requires an RSVP and they claim to have never received it, then you should probably pull a Gil Pender, check what decade you’re in, and just go with it.
3. SHE DOES NOTHING MORE THAN HIT LIKE AFTER YOU POST ON HER FACEBOOK, EVEN IF IT’S A QUESTION.
Hey it was really nice meeting you, maybe we can chat again sometime? Like. Hey, have you seen the new Paul Rudd romantic-comedy where he’s shy and awkward but turns out to be shy and awkward and a douche? I’ve wanted to see it with someone for a while now! Like. Hey! Long time no see. I’m dying in a month and the only thing that will slow the cancer is if you say something back to me. Like.
4. SHE INSTAGRAMS PICTURES THAT YOU TOOK.
5. AFTER AN EXTENSIVE, WELL WRITTEN, OBVIOUSLY SINCERE, WITTY BUT NOT OVERLY DICKISH TEXT MESSAGE, SHE REPLIES WITH A SMILEY FACE.
You write your text out in full. You spell-check it. Replace a few words here and there to make sure it can’t be misinterpreted. You’re careful about the details and affirm that nothing was left out. You take a deep breath and you send it. You wait ten minutes and reopen your phone to see if it has finally disappeared from your outbox. You wonder if the message was too long and if it was broken up for having exceeded the number of allowed characters. You wonder what she’ll say; you secretly hope that she’ll be just as assiduous in her reply. You wonder what she’s thinking. Your anxiety is cut short by a sudden vibrating beep.
Incoming message, :)
6. SHE REPOSTS EVERY YOUTUBE VIDEO WITHOUT EVER ACKNOWLEDGING THAT YOU POSTED THAT SAME VIDEO TEN MINUTES EARLIER.
It’s one thing to attach the KONY 2012 video after you’ve said something about it. It’s another to re-post an obscure music video, the exact obscure music video you spotted through a friend an hour ago, and add omg I just discovered this artist and loving ittttttttt!
7. SHE IS THE FIRST TO DECLINE YOUR FACEBOOK EVENT – EVERY SINGLE TIME.
When I was putting this list together, I considered outing the folks who never responded to any of my events. But some people just don’t use Facebook as exhaustively as others. These people aren’t trying to push you away; they’re just not paying attention. It’s undivided so there’s really no blame to assign. Do note, however, that when someone consistently turns you down without even so much as a sorry, it’s not her fault – it’s yours.
8. SHE DIRECTLY REFERS TO YOU IN HER STATUS UPDATES WITHOUT EVER MENTIONING YOUR NAME.
e.g. OMG I hate it when Asian guys with big glasses write on their blogs about music I never heard of but omg I just discovered this artist and loving ittttttttt! That’s just annoying.
9. SHE UNFOLLOWS YOU ON PINTEREST.
Pinterest allows you to link your account to Facebook and Twitter. This way, it can suggest and display images that your friends have pinned or believe that you may like. By default, it follows everyone you know. So if you’ve been unfollowed, know that it was very, very voluntary.
10. SHE DOESN’T WISH YOU A HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
Possibly the granddaddy of them all. If she chooses not to wish you a happy birthday in spite of the weeklong Facebook notice, the eighty seven hundred people posting about it on your wall, and the fact that she doesn’t even need to go to your page to do it anymore, it’s because you need to figure it out. Although you’ve been content with these 23 hours of special treatment, you still weed through the red notifications hoping to find that one person who has clearly blocked it from their mind. It’s over, dude. Unless, of course, you forgot to wish her happy birthday first.
BONUS: ALL INVITATIONS VIA TEXT MESSAGE ARE RETURNED WITH AN APPENDED “KEEP ME POSTED.”
This last one’s just for good measure. People would sometimes call me out on broadcasted messages so I’ve become much more diligent about the way I write to my friends. But when I take the time to ask someone out and they tell me to keep them posted, I lose complete faith. I’m the one who invited you. What the fuck does that even mean?
HONORABLE MENTION: SHE OPENS A TWITTER ACCOUNT, BEGINS TO FOLLOW YOU; YOU FOLLOW HER BACK; SHE UNFOLLOWS YOU.
This is not to be confused with the list above. You’re not as compelling as you think, so don’t take it so personally.