Split Personality Texting Disorder

Good in person, bad on text


Lara is terrible at texting.

Her response time is fine — better than mine, anyway — but for someone who is one of the most gregarious, kind, funny and physically demonstrative human beings that I know, she texts like angry mom.

A recent, paraphrased sampling between us:

Me: Omg hi!!!

Me: So

Me: Do you know where dinner is tonight?

Me: Because I know that she told us but I can’t remember the address or the time.

Me: Oh crap we should bring something huh. Wine?

Me: Do you think you’ll go right after work?

Lara: Yes. [*texts address*]

End of convo.

This idea of split personality texting disorder (for the sake of brevity let’s call it SPTD) was originally brought up by my friend Heather, positioned as a common thread between a few different guys she’s dated. There’s one who sounds like the male equivalent of Lara: bold in person, icy on text. Then there’s another who’s just the opposite — boy can swap playful banter via balloon bubbles for hours; in person he speaks the vocal equivalent of “K.”

I once dated a guy for a very short period of time who texted, quite honestly, like he was insane. If I hadn’t met him in person first and we’d been introduced in a digital space, I probably would have blocked him immediately for emoji abuse, excessive punctuation, dramatic capitalization and superfluous LOLing.

Speaking of LOLs — never judge a texter by his or her laugh.

My roommate, Lev, has my exact sense of humor and gets all of my jokes. I know this for a fact because I’ve lived with him for the past four years; if he doesn’t crack up immediately at something I say it’s because he didn’t hear me, whereas if he doesn’t laugh at my texts, it’s because I don’t think he knows how. 7 out of 10 gifs I send him are met with the stoic “ha.” Every once in a while I get a stupid, unsatisfying “lol.”

Then there are those, like me, who operate in either one of two texting realms. The first is absolute silence, resulting in frequent messages of “Hello? Amelia? Are you dead?” The second is full blown rapid-fire insanity (I hit the return button with shameless abandon. A new line for every punchline — that’s my unofficial texting motto). Meanwhile in person, I’m fairly even-keeled. Who I am over text hopefully does not define me.

I think everyone has a little bit of SPTD. Consider your own awkwardness during courtship; how simple answers become Rubik’s Cube puzzles of flirtation that result in your shaking a Magic 8 ball for the best response. (“Try again later? Shit. But my read receipts are on.”) You’ve probably wondered at least once why you’re so funny in person but your responses resemble a Gregorian Chant on dating apps or regular texting.

The best we can do is show understanding of our fellow SPTD comrades. Do not call them angry moms, as I recently did with Lara. Maybe they have broken thumbs and “k” was all they could muster. Give them the benefit of the autocorrect doubt when they send an unnecessarily “HAHAHA.” Offer them compassion. Or a Snickers. You’re not you either when you’re texting.

Get more Humor ?
  • Wait, I think I am the exact same in text and IRL. I don’t think I have SPTD, but this was hilarious and I know soO many people who do have it. Emoji abuse is SO creepy. You know what’s creepier? Old school emoji abuse. Please don’t ever do this 😉 to me. The semicolon parentheses combo is for serial killers only.

    • and I started LOLing at that title image before I even opened this. Genius.

    • Yes! I can testify to this b/c I met Courtney IRL once and she was EXACTLY — down to the voice — how I had perceived her over comments, etc.

      • super effing chill and a real good time?

        • Essentially. Remember that one time when you nonchalantly contaminated like 100 pounds of kosher flour at a bagel shop because you stuck an empty cream cheese container (you had licked) into a bucket, thinking the bucket was a trash bin? I was horrified.

          Consider whoever ate those bagels made out of that flour to be kissed by CJKeys2.

          • Quinn Halman


          • Well, what happens in Montreal I guess doesn’t stay in Montreal. EMMA.

          • This is true. That bagel shop is frequented by many tourists, and their online/overnight shipping sector is highly popular.

      • Quinn Halman

        I can vouch

    • Aubrey Green

      I don’t even have emojis – ahahaha, lol, !?!?!

      You can text me at 310.431.2473 just for kicks though. Kidding, that is not my number, I don’t want to have serial killers coming after me with ;).

      For the record, yes, I do have an iPhone 5. I don’t know what my problem is with the emojis.

      Love you!

      • I called that number 5 times. It’s a papa ginos. *confused face emoji*

        • Aubrey Green

          That’s hilarious, totally made the number up. I was a tad worried that was going to be someone else’s number and then they were going to get 🙂 🙂 😉 all the time.

      • Jim m ny

        Setting, general, keyboard, add a key board.emoji. Then u get a new icon by your space bar. Now if u knew that and still have the problem idk sorry……….;)

    • Chloe Johnston

      Two months ago or not, I just want to say — I’m an extremely visual/facial-visual person, and I love the emoji language. It conveys everything I need to in a 2D digital output perfectly. Whereas my words….let’s be honest, we pretty much read comments in your own deciphered voice which could be anything. EMOJI ABUSE IS OKAY!

  • I definitely have this. I’m actually quite a lazy texting partner because I have to remind myself to get back to people. Sometimes I’ll just bury my phone somewhere so that I really don’t have to deal with it at all. My motto is this: Can’t you [person on other end] imply what I would say to your question or you menial statement?

    If I am in the mood though and someone asks a compelling question, I turn to my other role as advice guru. I am sometimes seriously impressed with how wise and metaphorical I can be when giving advice about things I have never experienced. One of my friends texts me for advice here and there about some major creative projects and I wax poetic on web presence and creative dignity and stuff that I really DO NOT have any business speaking about at all. The voice of unqualified reason. It’s pathetic/hilarious.

    • Miranda Babbitt

      Hahahaha I am in the exact same boat on the wisdom front. I’ve been in one relationship, and whenever the topic comes up, it’s like I’m Sigmund Freud just delving deep into their subconscious, hand in hand.
      On another note, my boyfriend changed for me. Boys can change, everyone!!! At least in terms of texting. I straight up said that his texting style can be so damn “angry mom” (brilliant catch phrase) it’s like someone hijacks his phone every time. But then he also does the HAHAHAs. It blew my mind. Solution? I asked for more smiley faces! Now he sends me so many smiley faces it’s like I’m texting a kindergarten teacher and/or psychopath.

  • MilkVelvet

    I hate lol, I mean come on, you’re not really laughing out loud with every message I send you! I’m not that fine ok, we’ve covered that! http://milkandvelvet.com/

    • I’ve found the IRL equivalent of the flat “LOL” is the “Oh, that’s so funny!!” paired with zero laughter and barely a smile. Do you get those from people? An English friend of mine was saying that’s one of the things he’s noticed most about many Americans. When it comes to humor, many tell and not show their reactions. I am definitely a show-er though *cue the heavy breathing*

      • MilkVelvet

        I’ve had people talking to me face to face and say ‘lol’ instead of laughing out loud! So creepy! I then shake my head and move on because if I think too much about it, it depresses me!

        • ugh, i do that. SORRY. lmao

          • Amelia Diamond


          • wut?

          • MilkVelvet

            You are not LMAO at the moment I will bet on it!! What is the world coming to! Haha!

          • see what happens when I don’t LOL? this was from my dad last night. He was seriously offended.

          • MilkVelvet

            You sucked your family in too? huh! If I texted lol to my father he’d be like “huh” and that’s 10 hours after I text because that’s how long it takes him usually to realise he received a text message!

        • Amelia Diamond

          hahahahaha i hate that

      • Amelia Diamond
        • Kandeel


        • Nadia

          I laughed so hard I cried :))))

      • Miranda Babbitt

        Hahahaha! I’ve always felt like the person was straight up angry at me, or they suddenly feel like it’s their god-given duty to tell me the news that I am funny in a really powerful, aggressive way so that I reeeally get the point. Because clearly laughing wouldn’t do that.

      • ALEXs21

        I know right that makes me mad to

    • Lust Local

      There are times when i’m literally laughing out loud.

  • Quinn Halman

    My mom and I send each other”…” when we don’t know the tone in which it was said because there are times where we both really get each other and address each other as “gurl” but there are also times where I can picture the face of anger/disappointment on the other end.

  • mollie blackwood

    My dad responds to all of my funny, hilarious, bizarre, interesting texts with “kewl.” Shoot me.

    • Amelia Diamond


  • Loved this and it cracked me up – at work. I got some weird looks while trying to act like the numbers made me laugh just like that, yes I’m an accountant and there is no reason for me to browse through the Internet or read articles on MR whilst sitting at my work desk.
    Ah well – YOLO. 🙂

    • Amelia Diamond

      just be like, “this financial error is HILARIOUSly wrong!”

  • Candy Sparks

    Texting… I hate it but have to use it since my friends answers to texts then to their cellphone ringing. A call could only take 5 minutes is now taken up by a 30 minute text. I don’t answer my texts as quickly as some woud like me too. I have my cell phone on silent because I don’t want to get that itch to check my phone for some “love” in a text message form. I just am reminded of 1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell when I watch people text instead of drive or trying to text while walking. I sound like an old fart but I am not. I just like to disconnect from this scoial media lifestyle we live.

    • Anita Giddings

      ditto, I have the worst text etiquette.

  • GapToothedGirl
  • My mum has a serious case of SPTD – people need to learn that full stops are totally unacceptable when presented as part of a text. Don’t they know that you’re supposed to use an emoji/exclamation point/question mark/’x’/new message to split sentences? Anything but the deadpan period!

    • Kelsey

      It has to be a mom/generational thing! The “Okay.”?? Don’t you love me mom?! Poorly placed punctuation is a millennial killer.

      Also, signing texts….I know its you mom, I’ve been texting at you for 20 mins! “Okay. -Mom”

      • Amelia Diamond

        SIGNING THE TEXTS!!! parents love a signature.

  • andrea raymer

    I think I text exactly the same way I talk, including the long periods of rambling and all. I often send essays in an attempt to be prompt. I also am incredibly sarcastic, which doesn’t necessarily translate well in text form. I am vehemently against LOLing and HAHAing because I don’t want to just give away the joke. Often in an attempt to avoid hurt feelings I will send another text afterward saying, “that was a joke if you couldn’t tell”.

    One of the funniest things that I notice with one of my best friends is i can tell when she is drunk because of the way she texts. typically she sends me essays in order to tell me things, but when she’s drunk she sends me fifteen tiny text messages in a row:

    How are you?
    I’m good
    i just went to dinner
    And had wine

    I wore my new shirt today
    Did you see my sanpchat of it?
    My cat just scratched me
    I love my cats

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahahahahha that is how i text

  • Abigail

    Thinking about one’s texting personality also brings up the pivotal question: which emoji best represents you??

    • Amelia Diamond

      ooooo cog!!!

  • I text sorta like you! People wonder if I am alive sometimes, but they know I will text back at some point. This is an interesting phenomenon. Yes, I have run into those who are so chatty via text and then they can barely get a word out in person.


  • lavieenliz

    omg this is me on my period when I text…like hahaha then wtf


    • Amelia Diamond


  • Maggie Clancy

    I love this. I am in that limbo stage with a guy and his texting is SO AWKWARD. But he’s great in person, so, I have to realize he is not trying to be a dick when he texts “lol”

  • Elodie

    My parents combat this problem by describing in painstaking detail their emotional & facial response to texts (eg. will literally type ‘insert sheepish /querulous look here’ or ‘insert puke-filled-cheek look here’). But that may also be because they can’t install emojis b/c it makes the space bar too small for their old-timey hands.


    • Amelia Diamond

      hahahah i like this

      • hila

        best thing ever– My mom replied to my facebook post once saying: “I like this”.
        She didn’t realize there’s a “like” button. <3

  • Anita

    soo true!
    love your blog
    x Anita

  • ee_by_cc

    SPTD is so disconcerting (and thanks for putting an acronym to it, this was long overdue). When I engage with someone who has severe SPTD, I find myself thinking “Who are you? Can I trust you? Can you get me a cookie?”

  • liz

    I went to college with a girl that has a similar condition to SPTD, but it is more in regards to her social media personality. For instance, she tweets/instas/facebooks annoying statuses that are all, “I’m a blonde haired, blue eyed, red lipped, southern mess.” and shit like that. But in person she is one of the kindest, most down to earth, and funny individuals. IT IS BIZARRE.

  • Roxy Menhaji

    laughed so hard while reading this in lecture

    • Amelia Diamond

      I love your avatar picture so hard.

  • Kandeel

    I often find myself thinking “god you’re so boring via text/chat” because people in general are so much better irl. Unless you’re an avID CAPS LOCK USER BC THATS ME HA

    • Amelia Diamond


      • Kandeel


  • Bisi Okwuosa

    Everything is MR is so real, but this is the icing on the cake! Now I can call out a few people.

    Tbh though, texting makes everything so impersonal and things get lost in translation so easily. I always sound like a b*tch when I’m busy because I only send one word responses, haha.


  • Abby Gardner

    lol had too much experience with this type…


  • I am such an annoying texter and snapchat-ter sometimes tho. Depends on how well I know the person

  • Oh my gosh! I have a friend who is JUST like your friend Lara. She didn’t even realize she was doing it for the longest time. Finally, guys that she was texting back and forth started to question whether or not she was mad. Nope not at all. She just sucks at texting. She now has a disclaimer when swapping numbers after meeting a new person.



  • hi_itsgabby

    I really just text a ton… when i’m talking about myself.

  • Katie Faller

    80% of the time, I’m texting my mother – a woman who is so in-tune with millennial nonsense and lingo, it’s shocking. Then I’m either texting my best friend obsessing over an artist or I’m texting my boyfriend who, despite his emotion-less digital-life, is actually a very colorful human being. I, obviously, am the world’s best texter *sassy girl emoji*

  • Lucy

    This is why I read this site, Amelia everything you say, do, tell, and are, is so close to the truth that it feels like you are explaining half of my life to me (very elloquntly I might add). My boyfriend refers to my no-response-followed-by-800-half-sentence-texts-with-no-break’ as “Psycho Texting.”

  • I’m the same way too as far as being very short and to the point by text. However, face to face you can’t get me to shut up. And who has time to find the perfect Emoji to go along with the convo? 🙂


  • Rosaly

    I’m so picky when it comes to texting, so half my texts sound so bitchy. I call it the chronic bitch text….and no i don’t have a chronic bitch face.

  • nyc10yrs

    Amazing piece. My mother could not be kinder IRL nor colder via text. Her three most common responses: “Hunh?”
    “Do you know what’s happening with your sister?” and “Okay but that’s not what I wrote”.

  • Literally ME!! If people don’t send me emojis I think that they hate me :/



  • I think i’m a bit like Lara. I see texting as something practical to meet up and arrange things. In the digital world I’m usually not the conversation starter!

    x Karen

  • That is exactly me! haha im rapid fire texter … well and talker or i am not even answering the text

  • Catalina

    i don’t have emojis which i really wish i did… and i’m a terrible texter…. in person – LOTS OF EMOTIONS…. lots of things to say