Imagine you’ve met someone you really like. You talk to them, you feel there is a connection, you’ve somehow gotten their number and you’ve bravely broken the ice with a text you’ve spent the last hour composing.
It’s a scenario so many of us are painfully familiar with. But what may or may not come next, i.e. a satisfactory reply, is often the cause of much analysis and anxiety.
The staring at your phone, checking to see if said phone works, wondering if your love interest is on holiday somewhere remote or fallen down a man hole – or if they don’t reciprocate your strength of feeling . Waiting for a reply is one of those things we can’t control.
We place a lot of importance on texts, reply times and what we read between the lines of a text. But should we be reading into this?
Giving some insight into this matter is relationship psychologist Dr Max Blumberg, who has spoken to MirrorOnline about what it means when someone takes too long to reply – or replies very quickly.
According to Dr Blumberg, there is indeed a correlation between the time it takes someone to text you, and their strength of feeling.
“Messaging makes the inevitable happen more quickly. If someone fancies you, the chances are they will get back to you quickly”.
The rapidity with which people do reply is more of a modern phenomenon however, as Dr Blumberg explains.
“People get back to you quickly because we’re constantly dealing with incoming stimuli. We’re always ‘on’ and no longer live in age of delayed gratification.”
Unfortunately, the same applies if they do not feel the same way. “On the other hand, if another person does take their time, it does not bode well.”
“The time it takes people to reply to respond to a request for a date; much of it relates to the invitees perceived ‘dating value’ relative to the ‘inviter.’”
The term ‘dating value’ may seem a little calculating, but it’s behaviour intrinsic to us, as Dr Blumberg explains.
“What we do is we subconsciously rate people on metrics like attractiveness, wealth, personality, status, style, IQ, emotional intelligence, kindness and empathy, perceived attitudinal similarities and perceived social liabilities.
“When we first meet someone, we score them on these. Then you compare that score to the score you’ve given yourself.”
So if you score someone highly, and subconsciously feel you’re both a good match, score-wise, this will dictate your response time. The same applies if they subconsciously believe their score is higher than yours.
There are some factors, however, which mean this rule is not an absolute.
A person may have low self-esteem, or overly-inflated self-esteem, meaning there’ll be a disparity between their score and the score others would give them.
“So,” Dr Blumberg continues, “if you see a much older man with a really young wife, you can bet it’s the money.
“It’s also why people with inflated opinions of themselves wind up single in middle and elderly age – no one has been good enough.”