Few practices can sabotage a modern-day relationship like annoying texting habits, so today we're talking about "cricketing."
We all know the heart-sinking feeling of a text message that sits too long without a response — when the silence is so awkward and protracted, you can practically hear the figurative chirping crickets.
Have more self-owning words been uttered than, "Did you get my text?" And if your intended recipients have "read" receipts on — confirming that your message was not swallowed into a no-service black hole as you'd hoped, and they consciously let it go unanswered — you may not want to leave the house for a few days.
And yet, most of us are also guilty of cricketing others every now and again, even though we know how soul crushing it is to be on the receiving end. (Who has two thumbs and is the worst at using them to text back her friends, family, and fiancé? 👍 This girl! 👍)
So, why do we do it? And more specifically, why so often to the people we claim to love the most?
"My honest opinion is that most people don't have bad intentions when they cricket," says Bela Gandhi, founder of Smart Dating Academy, a dating expert for Match, and a self-professed cricketer herself. "But whether you're single or married, sometimes we're overwhelmed with the amount of digital communications we have. We might be texting, but we're also getting Instagram DMs, Twitter mentions, Facebook messages, and emails!"
Replying to all those dispatches becomes something we attempt in the midst of day jobs and errands and Netflix episodes. Gandhi advises against "making up a story" that your cricketer doesn't care about you or thinks you're unimportant. "Those just feed our negative self-esteem," she says. "They don't help us, and they hurt our relationships." Everyone gets distracted and forgets to respond sometimes. It's as simple as that.
But intentional or not, being cricketed sucks. And Gandhi points out it's particularly hurtful if we've just asked someone for a favor or invited them to hang out.
So, that begs the question...how do we stop?
Below, Gandhi shares five tips for squashing your cricketing habit, plus what to do if you're being cricketed by someone.
1. Know Thy Cricketing Self
Step one is self-awareness. "If you know that you're a cricketer, own it and tell people," says Gandhi. Acknowledging your problem to those you regularly cricket might afford you some grace from them as you work towards a solution. In the meantime, Gandhi says, "Turn off your read receipts."
2. Give Yourself a 24-Hour Deadline
If you are planning or have just planned a wedding, you will especially appreciate the frustration of waiting for answers from other people before you can move forward with plans to secure a venue, commit to a vendor, or book a bachelorette party. (Similarly, no one wants to be the one bridesmaid not responding to a "hey, ladies!" group text.)
So just as wedding timelines come with cutoff dates to ensure you don't overlook anything, Gandhi says you should "try to get back to everyone who's texted you by the end of the day." (Here's a suggestion/overshare: Take advantage of your last bathroom trip of the night to scroll through your inbox and address any unheeded exchanges.)
3. Suggest Alternative Communication
This will come as a shock in 2018, but "some of us just aren't good texters," says Gandhi. Here, she cites her own husband who didn't even realize he was a cricketer (see Tip 1!) until Gandhi straight-up asked him why never texted her back. "He was like, 'Oh no! I guess I'm just looking at Google hangouts all day,'" she says. "So now I message him on that."
If you're better off-text, specify to your social network what other form of communicating you'd prefer — whether it's an instant messaging service, phone calls, emails, or meeting up IRL.
4. Put the Onus Back on Them
Let's say you honestly don't trust yourself to implement tips one through three; this fourth one's for you. Ask the person who texts you to hold you accountable by sending a friendly follow-up if you haven't responded to them by a certain time. "You say, 'Hey, I can't respond right now, but please ping me if I don't get back to you before tomorrow,'" instructs Ghandi. "Say, 'You're important to me, and I don't want this to slip my mind.'"
5. Remember That Acknowledging The Text is Actually About Acknowledging the Texter
That brings us to our last point: understanding that despite knowing better deep down, the person you're cricketing is probably going to take it personally. Having been called out on my own cricketing vice quite often in social settings, I've tried defending myself with, "I love you guys more than the folks I text back regularly!" I want to craft a response that's more thoughtful and time-consuming for above-mentioned friends, family, and fiancé. Thus, I leave the text to sit, telling myself I'll be back to it...never to return.
Ghandi has a remedy for this: When you don't have time to write somebody the paragraph you want, just quickly text something to affirm how much this person means to you, and promise to get back to them soon. "Something like, 'It's so good to hear from you. I want to respond to you in a more complete way, so let me call you tonight, or let's grab a drink this weekend!'" she suggests. "Then keep your word on that."
And What to Do if You're Being Cricketed?
First, deal with your feelings. As we've said, while you feel ignored and disrespected in the moment, offense usually wasn't intended.
"Give people the benefit of the doubt—especially those in your village," Ghandi says. "When you get upset about being cricketed, think about all the times that you've been the cricketer."
Then, go get your response — and maybe have a sense of humor about it. A good friend (who I cricket often) loves to send me a single-emoji text of "👀" when I haven't gotten back to him in a hot minute.
Ghandi says the trick is reaching out again without sounding passive-aggressive or judgmental, and fun emojis or inside jokes can help with that. "Choose whatever smiling, kissing, or winking face that suits your personality and that particular relationship," she says. "Maybe Apple will create a cricket emoji in response to this article! Then, that can be the universal go-to!"