7 Tips to Avoid Texting Anxiety When You Have An Anxious Attachment Style

When I was anxiously attached, texting was one of my biggest problems.

I was both hooked on it and scared of it.

Whenever I heard that ping sound, my heart accelerated, but when my texts went unanswered or someone’s profile picture suddenly disappeared, indicating they might have blocked me, I panicked.

Dating became extremely difficult. I overthought every text exchange while thinking everything that went wrong was my fault. I felt deeply ashamed of my anxious behaviours, yet trapped by my obsession with texting.

Now that I’m emotionally secure and in a happy committed relationship after a year of therapy, I can see clearly how I could’ve done differently back then to reduce my texting anxiety.

Here are 7 tips to make texting work for you as an anxiously attached person:

1. Make “bad texting” a dealbreaker

Let me be frank: Being bad at texting either means having a low need for communication in general or simply having a low interest in you. Either way, it’s not going to work for you.

It’d save you a lot of pain now and later if you simply avoid dating people with bad texting habits or people who don’t like to keep in touch daily. There are people out there who enjoy closeness as much as you do — don’t settle for less.

2. Mirror your partner’s texting style

A good way to determine whether your date has a compatible need for communication with you without stressing yourself out is to let your date take the lead and observe them.

For example, you wait for your turn to send a message and don’t rush them in between turns, and see how long it takes them to answer your messages. If the wait time is too long for you, you simply move on. If you’ve been in frequent contact and suddenly your date falls off the radar, you know it’s not your fault.

3. Make texting predictable

The early stage of dating is the most anxiety-inducing because you don’t know what to expect.

But you can at least make yourself predictable and form a texting habit, which will help you avoid overthinking and signal to your partner that you don’t play games. The right person will respect and appreciate it.

For example, always reply to a text immediately after you read them; always tell your partner if it’s going to take you long to respond, or don’t reply to texts and pick up calls after 10 pm.

4. Set a hard rule to not send long text paragraphs

Yes, pouring out your heart in an instant text message is exhilarating as you think now your partner will have to do something about your feelings and thoughts. But the reality is, they won’t.

People won’t read your long text in full, or even if they do they won’t interpret it the way you intend it. You might be left staring at your own wall of texts with millions of unanswered questions circling in your head. Or they might react very poorly and it becomes a bigger issue.

Save that essay for Medium, please. And don’t text when you feel emotional.

5. Give them the benefits of the doubt and address the doubt in person

If your partner says something that could be understood either way or if they’re suddenly slow to reply to you, don’t lash out or even bring it up in texts.

Make note of it, act like normal, and wait till you see them next time in person to address it calmly. Tell them how their behaviour makes you feel and ask them to clarify it. This step is very important because it’s how you teach them how to treat you —be serious and don’t gloss over it.

Meanwhile, if you feel too anxious, you can do these 13 things.

6. Use texting for information purposes only

We often forget that texting is just exchanging words. There isn’t any emotional intelligence involved; body language and tone are all lost in the process.

You can text as frequently as you want, but think of texting as information only and avoid reading into it. Assume everything is good unless proven or specified otherwise. Ideally, you should be meeting many times a week and your main method of communication is face-to-face, not texting.

7. Change phone if necessary

If you’ve been hooked on certain texting sounds or animations, it might be a good idea to switch phones. You need to teach your brain to respond neutrally to texts.

For example, I used to use iPhone and get extremely reactive to its notifications — my emotions went ups and downs. After I switched to Android, the associations faded and my anxiety improved significantly.

Parting words

Back then, the thing that weighed me down the most was my shame of anxiety.

It’s important that you work through this shame and make decisions based on your reality and perspective — not judge yourself based on what’s considered normal and cool in society.

Accept yourself and your need for closeness.

If you know you’re anxiously attached, think about what you need to be not anxious anymore, then imbed it into your dating requirements right from the get-go.

It’s the first step to becoming securely attached over time.

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