Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be anything more annoying than waking up, listening to voicemails, your roommate or refilling the Brita filter, here comes that text message you do not want to deal with. The one where you’d rather throw your phone out the window or pay a cat to lean on the keyboard so that it just types back ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh forever.
But you’re an adult now. You know that it’s good manners to répondez s’il vous plaît whether you’re attending the party or not. You can put that envelope in the mailbox no problem, and you’ve got the stationary. You just need someone to pen the letter, maybe hand you a stamp. So here, I pre-wrote answers to all of those text messages still lingering in your iMessage feed, contributing to your phone’s acne problem by adding one cystic, red To-Do.
Copy/paste/send, or maybe jooj a bit to your liking. The worst part’s already done for you.
Text: The potential second date who you keep “rain-checking” because you feel bad flat-out saying “no” has checked back to reschedule.
Answer: “Hi, I apologize for the back and forth. You seem wonderful but I don’t see this going any further. Have a great weekend and thank you for your kindness.”
Short. To the point. Don’t make up anything about work or friends or a fake boyfriend/girlfriend. Cut the cord, then sign off on a Deepak Chopra note to end with a positive if not bizarre interaction.
Text: You lost someone’s sweater and she is about to send a debt collector after your ass.
Answer: “I lost your sweater. It’s a weird story and involves bears, it was not intentional and I feel terrible. Please send me a Venmo and specify your preferred form of currency, noting that I cannot deal with Swiss banks this year.”
You want to cause just enough sympathy and surround yourself with mystery so that they don’t think you just got drunk and left their knit at a bar.
Text: A close friend wrote you a really long message about her love life and wants you to offer advice.
Answer: “FaceTime me ASAP. Keyboard actign weird, 2 hard 2 type”
Include typos on purpose so that it looks like something really is wrong with your keyboard. Suggest the FaceTime because she’ll either avoid it or be off that call with you in five minutes; no one can stand a double-chin session for longer than five minutes, especially if you pace a lot. That makes people on the other line just seasick enough.
Text: An acquaintance wants to know whether or not you’re free Wednesday night for drinks, and you technically are, but you want a night off.
Answer: “I can’t, but thank you so much! Coffee break tomorrow?”
She doesn’t need to know your life, and you need a coffee break tomorrow no matter what.
Text: Your parents want to know what the hell happened in the garage and they’ve left three voicemails.
Answer: Call them, but read from this script. Do not detract. Agree with whatever they say. Let them get their anger out at the fact that you spray painted the inside of their garage rose gold by accident during a DIY Pinterest project gone wrong. “Mom, dad. I am so sorry. I take full responsibility for what happened in the garage and I apologize for the fact that our garage is now rose gold. It was an accident during a DIY Pinterest project. I was making you a Parents of the Year gift since I know how hard you work, and I saw this really cool trophy that I wanted to give you but it didn’t match the decor, and just this once I wanted to do something really meaningful, you know?”
So it’s a little manipulative. It’s honest in many ways, too. You are sorry!
Text: Someone wants to know the best time for them to call and you don’t want to have the call.
Answer: “Email is the best way to reach me!”
Add that exclamation for friendliness because a period following that shut down is a little scary.
Text: Group chat keeps hounding you for not participating.
Answer: Google the lyrics of your favorite artist or movie and randomly sprinkle throughout the week. One every two/three days should keep you alive.
Text: Someone asked you a simple question and as of this very moment, it’s been about three weeks since you’ve answered. But today’s the day!
Answer: Delete it. If they really need you they’ll ping you again, and then, of course, defer to the above.
Photos by Christian Vierig via Getty Images.