The 3 Message Rule

The soundtrack for this post comes from one of my new favourites, Sunflower Bean:


We all know the feeling of coming across too keen over text; even when I think I’ve been super chill via text before and after a date, there’s always the fear that I’ve given away too much too soon. Somehow it’s become ingrained in our minds that too many messages are bad and will most likely put off the person that we’re interested in, unless we tread carefully. When we don’t get a response as quickly as we’d like, or even no response at all, we’re hit by a feeling that can cut like a knife. But how often should we message back, how quickly and how many times should we cut the other person some slack before it’s time to absolutely give up on the whole thing?

We’ve all been there. That messaging back and forth, the to-ing and fro-ing of texts like a match at Wimbledon, that early on makes you feel so wanted.

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But then suddenly the pace slows, maybe he doesn’t reply so often. Maybe he doesn’t reply at all. I’ve covered the not-so-mythical creature that is the contemporary “ghost” in my previous post “The Ghosts Of My Past“, but what do you do when he isn’t quite a ghost yet? Can you prevent him from vanishing in to thin air and maybe rescue the relationship from entering the depths of your Whatsapp archive list? Or is it simply a hopeless situation that must just be accepted and forgotten? Should we just give up and move on to the next one?

I’ve realised that I have had to cross this bridge not just one too many times – but almost EVERY time I begin a new relationship with a guy. It genuinely confuses me how such good beginnings can lose traction and speed so quickly. How do we end up finding ourselves in this situation? It can’t just be me, can it? It must come from both sides. A lack of interest from his, maybe he felt the date flopped? Was I replying too slow? Did I message back too much? There are simply too many questions that we will never have the answers to and the fact of the matter is that there’s just no way of knowing when eventually someone will stop sending responses back. It just happens. It just ends.

I’m not going to lie and pretend I’ve been the good guy every time; there have definitely been occasions where I probably should have sent a closure text and instead have just let it burn out, simply because I couldn’t be bothered. We’re all guilty of not making an effort at one point or another. But what’s more difficult is when you actually felt like things were going legitimately well. There was real potential and suddenly… he’s just not interested? It’s not even that the spark’s slowly fizzled out, it’s more that it’s simply gone *poof* and fallen off the face of the planet.

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Each time it happens we find ourselves following the same steps and asking the same digital-age old questions:

  • Did the last message send?
  • Has he read it?
  • Are his previous replies monosyllabic?
  • What does it all mean?!

There are so many possible reasons as to why he’s not picking up that phone, using his opposable thumbs and responding. He’s probably just busy… right?

Maybe he never got the text?

Could he have lost his phone on a drunken night out?!


The chances are none of these things have happened (except maybe for the busy thing; but lets be honest, if you really like someone, you’re gonna make the 1 minute and 30 seconds it takes to draft a simple response text happen. You just are.) and even in the case of the epic night out, if your love interest actually likes you he’d probably just find you on Instagram, Facebook or even back on the app you originally met on. Either way, if they really cared they would show that they gave a shit.

So I’m just going to put it out there: unfortunately things are potentially coming to an end. I’m not saying there’s no hope, I’m just saying, dare I quote from Love Island?… yes, yes I do:

Maybe now isn’t the time to put all your eggs in one basket.


HOWEVER, don’t give up just yet. Not all is lost, and while I may suffer from depression and social anxiety, like hell will I let that be the very end of things. If the last date was amazing and he seemed genuinely interested, but you haven’t heard from him, don’t just leave it up to him. Take the power in to your own hands, wear the trousers, it’s time for you to do some of the “wooing”.


The rule of three is a simple one. These messages are the final chances you give them (I am of the opinion that most people deserve a second chance, we’re all human and we can’t be perfect all of the time. Plus that just wouldn’t be interesting now, would it?). Once you’ve used these final texts up, that’s it. The end. Finito.

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  1. One text: He might have missed it.
  2. Two Texts: He could be busy but it’s still safe to potentially expect a reply.
  3. Three Texts: You’ve tried your best but get the fuck outta dodge. Right now. Don’t even question it.

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This is the rule:

Never message more than three times in a row. Unless he replies to that final message. NEVER TEXT THAT BOY AGAIN.


I’m not even talking just texts. This number of 3 covers Whatsapp message, Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM’s, emails, handwritten letters, telegrams and carrier pidgeon notes. It doesn’t matter how you message him, if after three chances he doesn’t reply, then you have your answer.

It’s official.

Just like “fetch”, this relationship isn’t going to happen.

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Some of you will question this, probably saying that I give these men too many chances. However in this age that is practically anti-romance, sometimes people need a bit of convincing that you actually like them. I’m not going to sit here and pretend it works every time, but sometimes the people we like need a little nudge, a reminder so to speak, that someone actually fancies them. Sometimes good things do come to those who wait and let’s be honest, which situation would you rather be in:

The one where you don’t try and nothing ever happens and you regret your lack of effort whilst on your death bed as a wise old lady who died accompanied by only her 56 cats, 3 canaries and a solitary goldfish.


The one where you message him for that third and final time, and maybe something great comes out of it and maybe nothing does, but you die knowing that you tried your best and gave love a chance.

Fuck I’m soppy. Soz.


Yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and stick with option number two. So what if I’m still alone *sob* at least I’m still here, trying (and failing) to meet someone. Sometimes the little connections are worth fighting for.

Let’s not give up so quickly.

Let’s try.



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4 Replies to “The 3 Message Rule”

  1. I loved this post! I love the Gifs especially the end one with Adrian from Brooklyn 99 as he’s my favourite next to Captain Holt (I connect with Holt on so many levels, people are idiots).

    I’d love to pick your brain on a scenario my friend is having at the minute so drop me an email or DM on Twitter. I don’t want to write it on here and risk her seeing it and murdering me, lol.

    Brilliant post! X

    Liked by 1 person

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