Does the following sound familiar to you? "OMG, they just texted me. What should I say back?!" It should, because freaking out about what your crush's texts mean is pretty much the norm.
Since phone calls have gone the way of VHS tapes, what to text a potential hookup, or significant other has become a huge part of the courting process. And since we're all very textually active, your game better be strong if you want it to lead to textual intercourse.
The entire process can be extremely stressful at times.
Enter Nattr: A new app that literally does the work for you. What's more, it's almost a little social network; your own little army of texters just waiting to make you sound more witty, or advise you not even to respond. Some are even professional stand-up comedians or writers for sites like Funny Or Die, BuzzFeed and House of Cards (but you have to pay for those premium peeps, more on that later).
In other words, it's a crowdsourcing tool that's actually a lot of fun and doubles as a support system.
And while I like to consider myself an above average texter, I decided to dive in head first to this community — and even become provide some advice of my own!
How It Works:
If you're on the receiving end, you put your text out there (don't worry, it's totally anonymous!) as a screenshot. Just like you would when panicking for your friends to help you out. Nattr even sends push notifications like "Help A Brother Out" to alert users there's a inquiry in need of attention.
Like Twitter, you can start following the responders you want to; you can request certain people to help with specific responses. The app will also notify you of a Featured Responder you can solicit.
Anyone can respond, but if you want one of these "Featured/Star Responders" there's a small fee associated with this ($1.99). You can tell how big of a heavy-hitter someone is because it lists their credentials underneath their picture in a very Tinder-like way (i.e. NYC Comedian, writer for College Humor, etc.) and includes the amount of "charms" they have earned next to them.
You can earn stars, too! If you think you have one of what it takes to be one of these text stars, you can earn your own charms. But to reach that status, you have to have a pretty serious fan-base that has deemed you worthy of such an honor. And aren't you just here to get your response to that cutie you're chatting with on Bumble, anyway? Exactly.
Here's exactly how it all went down, and what I learned along the way.
It's Really Fun To Read Other People's Texts
Even if they're strangers! And they all very much are in here. Before I even dipped my toe into the helping part, I got sucked into the abyss that was reading other people's texts and the corresponding responses. It's like you all of a sudden have access to thousands of conversations, and it's borderline addicting.
People even screenshot their Tinder chats in this thing — which, let's be honest, is pretty much just cutting out the middle man. Still, reading everyone else's texts is not only beneficial in making you feel better about your own love life — you're not the only one who gets your fill of TMI texters — but amazingly entertaining. It was a book I could not put down.
There Are A LOT of Teenagers On This Thing
Your age is the only other thing about your identity (aside from gender) that isn't anonymous. And as someone in her early 30s, I felt like I could be a lot of these users' mom. There were a lot of teens asking for text help in here. This didn't necessarily turn me off from it, just made me painfully more aware of how much different dating as a teenager is now than it was when I did it. And a little sad, since most of them were concerned of sounding too promiscuous (OK, they mostly say slutty) in their responses. What I really wanted to respond to all of them was, "You have years before you should be worrying about this. Or even saying such words! Now get off this app, put on some Umbros, and go outside." Wait, maybe I am a mom?
The Responders Are Pretty Darn On It
The responses are pretty lightening quick, I must say. Every time I put something out there, there were a slew of people commenting away with their responses. This could be very well be because of the push notifications. Nattr makes sure its arm knows when there's a solider in need. And just like any good pseudo social app, you comment back to responders and "like" the responses that help you the most.
Not All The Responses Are Good, But They're At Least Constructive
There are instances in here in which people are just asking for relationship advice. You have to take it all with a grain of salt. Think of it like a job offer, you will very likely not want to take your first offer — or in this case, text your first response. But I did find everyone is helpful to some extent, not to mention supportive. And that sometimes piecing a few together for your own response was your best bet.
As an online writer, who tends to write about controversial topics, I pretty much just expect comment sections to eviscerate me. Commenters can be mean! On Nattr, not so much. Even if someone doesn't have a response (and they don't always) — they will likely have feedback. For instance, some users may simply say that text doesn't require a response (I'm personally big on the less is more theory when it comes to texting, myself.) Wait it out, and see what comes back, then weigh your options (and there will be plenty) before you just go firing away back to your crush.
Sometimes you just need to see things from a different perspective, and I think that's where this app really nails it. I found it extremely helpful to see what others were texting back in very similar situations that we all come across in dating. And it's always comforting to know there are other people who freak out about these absurd things just like you do.
Not to mention the fact, Nattr is just plain engaging. You can't help but get a little caught up in it. And it really does act as a problem solver. I found it even aided in my friendships as well. Because as fun as it is to get in a group text with your buddies agonizing over what you should respond back to someone, it's a lot less annoying to them — and to you if they don't respond! — to just, well, have an app for that.
Images: Liz Newman