Bateman: How to give great text

By Oliver Bateman

Striking up a conversation with a perfect stranger happens often here on campus, especially in… Striking up a conversation with a perfect stranger happens often here on campus, especially in those enormous Intro to Psychology courses. You’ll exchange the usual pleasantries, lying about your high school sports career if you’re a guy or secretly critiquing the person if you’re a girl. By the end, it might appear as though you’ve found your next best friend or perhaps even the love of your life.

But wait — where do you go from here?

Partings, which once brought such sweet sorrow, can now be delayed indefinitely thanks to the magic of the Internet. After you’ve acquainted yourself with this new pal, you can send him or her a friend request on Facebook. From there, though, it can get a bit messy — and that’s where we stand ready to help. Now that you’ve made contact, you’re going to need to engage in some great text if you want to draw this person into your inner circle. We at the Moustache Column of America have more-or-less perfected the art of text, and we’re going to share the hot tips and tricks that are sure to leave any partner feeling textually satisfied.

Start by getting this person’s attention. Whether you go for the gusto by messaging him on his cellular phone or just wait around for hours on Gmail chat until he logs on, here’s a great opener:


“Sup” is a very versatile phrase. It’s cool and laid-back, with a hint of mystery behind it. It’s undoubtedly the way James Bond would contact a Bond girl if his laser-shooting wristwatch had a text-messaging feature. Let’s continue the conversation:


Hmm, doesn’t seem like much is happening on your new friend’s end. We’ll try to take it up a notch.


URNEWFRIEND: lol how r u

You’ve got him now! With the deployment of a single incongruous “cool,” he’s already laughing out loud. In response to his query, offer some insights regarding the amazing life into which you’re trying to invite him.

USERNAME1: chillin u


Oh man, this is escalating fast. Pretty soon you guys will be braiding one another’s hair at a slumber party. But play it coy —  there’s no need to give the game away yet.



Yep, that big smiley emoticon came at just the right time. It was getting a bit too tense, and the mood needed to be lightened. From here, you’re home free. Time for a great closing line.

USERNAME1: u wanna hang

URNEWFRIEND: yah ok lol

Although most textual encounters will go as smoothly as this one, some might require a bit more awesomeness on your part. Here’s where a storehouse of clever phrases can really save the day. Some particularly helpful ones include “lmao,” if you’d like to push the hilarity to its highest possible level, or “asl plz” in cases where you remain unsure about the age and sex of your new friend.

Emoticons are also valuable. While “:)” is good for most of your needs, “:/” can come in handy if you’re trying to seem as aloof and thoughtful as singer-songwriter Conor Oberst. “:(“, however, should be saved for special occasions, such as when you’re trying to convey the sort of melancholy found almost exclusively in Romantic poetry.

Occasionally these stock messages won’t suffice, as your textual partner might demand that you actually take the time to type out your opinion about something or someone. This might seem like a daunting task given your myriad other responsibilities, but a simple “sux” or “rulz” can offer closure for even the most textually insatiable. Check out this example:

URNEWFRIEND: u like the black eyed peas

USERNAME1: yah peas rulz

Many scholarly big shots have claimed that texting has undermined the art of conversation, but we’d beg to differ. In our humble opinion, texting has refined conversation by simplifying it down to its barest elements. What better way is there to get at a person’s state of mind than to type out the three letters that comprise “sup”? What more is there to say about the Black Eyed Peas beyond the fact that they “rulz”? Man might be able to live without food for weeks, but textual deprivation is another matter entirely.

Oliver Lee Bateman is the head instant messenger at the Moustache Texting Society of America. iF y00 W4n7 70 Ch3CK 0U7 50m3 0f 0uR h077357 73x7S, vI5i7