Cell phones didn’t yet exist when Auguste Rodin sculpted and cast the Thinker in bronze, but even so, I like to imagine the guy has been bent over for nearly 150 years, pondering whether he should send That Text. I personally haven’t been alive for that long (yet!) but I can certainly understand mulling the question over for this amount of time. It’s an eternal stumper; there are serious cons on either side.
Conservatively, I’d say about 75 percent of the time, you should not send the text. Here’s an incomplete list of times you *definitely* shouldn’t: drunk and/or otherwise inebriated; miss your ex but really only his dick; miss your ex but really only the way they held you after; “u up” to a platonic friend; righteous rage resulting from an hour of your friends gassing you up; sorrow resulting from an hour of privately gassing yourself down; within 24 hours of watching Call Me By Your Name.
But this doesn’t cover everything, and so I have a solution for all the other scenarios in which you feel compelled to send the text: Type whatever you want—like, really go for it—and send the text to yourself. This works on several levels. You get to absolutely unload in the typing field, you receive the dopamine hit that accompanies the word “Delivered” popping up beneath your blue bubble, the subsequent dopamine hit of your phone buzzing (with the text from yourself), and the ultimate satisfaction that you didn’t blow your emotional wad for no reason at all.
It’s easy to text yourself: You just save your own number as a contact, then send a message to that contact, same as you would any other text. You can use this trick for any sort of situation. Most recently, I used it for a slew of 2 a.m. texts filled with misdirected anger. A friend utilizes this tool for sexts when she’s horny but knows she shouldn’t send unsolicited messages about face-sitting to people she barely knows. You might also employ this technique to exorcise feelings regarding someone whose number you don’t have, like a professor who never curved a grade, or the person you made eye contact with in the grocery store last week. When you’re texting yourself the options are limitless; you can be anyone.
Texting yourself is like singing loudly in the shower when no one’s home: it doesn’t matter how bad you sound because no one else is ever gonna hear it. This is freeing and nice, I think. And if the messages are too painful and vulnerable to look at later on, just do what you do with all other spoiled threads: Delete the fuck out of it, and move on.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.