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Don’t Be a Horrible Low-Energy Texter Like This Guy

Meet Troy. Troy is a 25-year-old DJ from Washington D.C., who, when a woman texted him at 9 a.m. one morning in July to ask if he’d like to go dinner with her — her treat! — responded “Ok.” The woman felt like Troy was not that excited and was bummed about it. Troy does not understand what the big deal was.

Fortunately, the internet understands what the big deal is. The original tweet continues to be virally debated: Is Troy a complete gargoyle, or is this woman a high-maintenance nightmare? And what, if any, obligations are there when texting with someone to, as Buzzfeed put it, match their energy level.

Let’s weigh in!

This one is not complicated: Everyone defending Troy is wrong, and everyone defending the woman is absolutely correct. Here is Troy’s initial tweet:

Hoo boy. Every woman has a Troy. Some women, God bless ’em, are married to Troys. Troy is not a morning person. Worse, Troy is that guy who wakes up pissy and lashes out, but has zero self-awareness about it.

Since he set it up as “this how my morning started,” it’s clear Troy feels that he’s taking shit unfairly and did absolutely nothing wrong. Should we need further confirmation that Troy isn’t getting it, we can look at his interview with Buzzfeed, where he doubled down:

“It was 9 a.m. so I responded with one eye open but I accepted nonetheless,” Troy said.

He wanted to clear up that he fell back asleep for two hours during the time his date followed up her sarcastic “you sound excited” text with a text that read “if you don’t want to its [sic] fine.”

“I told her that if she would’ve called me that conversation would’ve been a lot quicker and easier cause that same ‘ok’ would’ve happened but she would’ve heard the tone,” Troy added.

Ok. Where to start? First off, let’s make super clear that we don’t know their history — how long they’ve been seeing each other, whether it’s serious, how interested either of them really is, if they talk to each other this way all the time. You can read all the texts between a couple and still never know what really goes on between two people.

But looked at in isolation with only Troy’s commentary, it’s pretty clear what’s wrong with this kind of response and dynamic in general. He doesn’t really like her that much. He doesn’t like her enough to make more effort than that. He thinks he’s doing her a favor by responding at all, when he could’ve not responded, or responded later. And her only recourse for getting a more meaningful exchange would’ve been to call him, where, mind you, he’d still say “ok” but at least she could’ve heard his tone. Furthermore, his responses basically blame her for expecting something more, when what she expected was totally normal to anyone with a human head.

Here’s what’s she wanted: reciprocity, and it’s not a text thing, it’s not a millennial thing, it’s not a now thing, it’s not a man thing, and it’s not a woman thing — it’s a human thing. Nothing is more maddening than making an effort with someone who doesn’t make that effort back, yet continues to say SOMETHING and throw out little breadcrumbs of affirmation that actually feel weirder, more confusing, and worse than being either ghosted or outright rejected.

Reciprocity is where you pick up what someone’s putting down, and if you feel the same, you give it back. If you don’t feel the same, don’t force it. But don’t keep going along in some half-assed way, acting oblivious, like you don’t even realize it’s shitty or mismatched, or like someone is supposed to put up with your mismatched bullshit, or is supposed to read the tea leaves of every little weird thing you do because you don’t know how to play it like a person.

No, you don’t have to mirror someone’s every utterance like some kind of batshit mime. If someone sends you a haiku every morning to express their love for you, you don’t have to haiku it up, unless you feel like it. But if you care about them too, you’ll sure as fuck do something that rises to the occasion. At the very least, you’ll show gratitude for that effort.

If someone asks you to hang out to do any activity most of us would consider an attempt to enjoy ourselves, say “no,” or say “yes,” but if you say “yes,” say so in a way befitting the request. Common sense and basic etiquette say to do so enthusiastically.

Woman: “On Friday, let’s go eat if you have a free moment, my treat.”
Man: “Ok, that sounds great, thank you.”

Alternatives:
For sure, sounds lovely.
Yes, dig it.
Totally down.
Word. Into it.

You don’t have to go nuts and be some obsequious motherfucker. Just say “yes” with some basic human decency and understanding of how a conversation goes. No one gives a fuck if you just woke up, or are literally taking the worst shit of your life. Conversations over text, where no one can see if you’re watching Frasier with a butt plug in, are convenient for their ability to convey any sentiment regardless of the actual situation. If you can’t muster this basic level of energy, put the phone down and back the fuck out of proper society.

This person called it hard and correct:

Also, this isn’t even just a romantic relationship thing. It’s a friendship thing too. If your friend is like, “Hey, let’s go see a movie on Friday, my treat!” you’d probably respond, “Sounds great, thanks!” or some fucking such.

This should not even need to be explained. If over time you realize you simply can’t match this person’s enthusiasm (or they tell you as much), you should go elsewhere, leaving them to also go elsewhere and find someone who, bare minimum, is able to convey a modicum of enthusiasm about joining them for dinner that doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel that “ok” does. Don’t we all deserve that? Don’t we all deserve to eat in the company of someone who wants to be there basically as much as we do?

I don’t want to take some “ok” motherfucker to dinner. Neither does Troy! Nobody does. Ok?