The Luv Doc: Late-Night Texts


The Luv Doc: Late-Night Texts

Dear Luv Doc,

A few days ago I was up after midnight working on some projects and realized that I had agreed to help a friend with some accounting on the same night as my book club. It's not a big deal to miss book club but it's sort of an unwritten rule that when someone can't make it, they let everyone know in advance. So, I dashed off a quick group text to let everyone know I couldn't make it this month, and a few minutes later I got an angry reply from one of the women in my book club that said, "It's nearly 1am. I have to be at work early tomorrow. Why are you sending this now? Book club isn't til Friday." I very politely texted her back and asked her why she didn't have her phone on silent. She texted back, "OMG! I don't have to explain my f*&%ing life to you! Don't text me again." I didn't, but I still think she was being overly dramatic and she could have texted me privately instead of to the whole group. No one else had a problem with it BECAUSE NORMAL PEOPLE TURN OFF THEIR PHONES WHEN THEY GO TO SLEEP. Now I don't want to go to book club anymore because why would I want to spend my time with someone who would try to shame me in front of the rest of the group? Should I quit, or should I go next month and confront her?

– Testy Texter

You should absolutely go to your book club next month and sincerely apologize to this woman and the group in general for your inconsiderate behavior. It probably wouldn't hurt to bring something as a sign of your contrition – maybe a few bottles of wine … or some flowers … or some pot brownies. Regardless, the important thing is that you let your book club know that you really fucked up and that you won't let it happen again.

Look, I'm a bit of a night owl myself. I find it easier to focus late at night when the rest of the world is sawing Zs. Why? Because I know that NORMAL PEOPLE DON'T CALL OR TEXT AFTER MIDNIGHT UNLESS THEY NEED ME TO POST BAIL OR HELP THEM BURY A CORPSE. People aren't popping by my house to see what's popping at 2am because I am not a meth dealer … and also I don't live on that corner anymore. The point is that I can focus in the wee hours because people leave me alone like they're supposed to … and probably because they're a little bit afraid I will meet them at the doorstep with crazy hair, a saggy pair of tighty-whities, and an aluminum baseball bat. I know your head is probably spinning with a multitude of questions right now, but your fellow book clubber said it best: "I don't have to explain my fucking life to you!"

Nonetheless, because I am a charitable and benevolent co-inhabitant of this disturbingly wet rock hurtling through the cosmic void, I will share with you just a few of my strategies for not being an inconsiderate asshole in the hopes that someday you might share them with others as well – though ideally not via a group text in the middle of the goddamned night. And look, I am not perfect or without sin, which is exactly why I have come up with a communications checklist to help smack down the asshole in me whenever it pops up – like a game of etiquette whack-a-mole, if you will. So, when I am really itching to send a group of people a message in the middle of the night, I ask the following:

1) Does this really need to be said? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, this is a hard no, because most of my thoughts are straight garbage. 2) Does this really need to be said right now? This usually whittles the preceding percentage down to something like a 10th of a percent. And, if I absolutely have to unburden myself of a thought, I go to 3) Can this be an email? Or better yet, a scheduled email. If that term is unfamiliar to you, Google it. And lastly, if I have no choice but to communicate with someone between the hours of 10pm and 10am, I ask 4) Is this person awake and do they have enough cash to post bail or enough strength to shovel 30-odd cubic feet of dirt? If the answer is no, then I schedule that shit. You heard me. Yes, texts can be scheduled. If for some reason you don't know how to do that yourself, learn how to work your goddamned phone. Donuts would be a good gift of contrition as well. For the book club I mean. Everyone loves donuts.

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