Aziz Ansari is maybe on your good side right now if you are bingeing his wonderful Netflix show, Master of None. And yet, judging from his appearance this week on NPR’s social-science podcast, "Hidden Brain," Ansari has had it up to here with you — specifically, you and your awful texting instincts.
For his book Modern Romance, which he co-wrote with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg, Ansari and Klinenberg interviewed hundreds of single people, asking them all sorts of questions about dating and romance. Among their findings, as “Hidden Brain” host Shankar Vedantam noted, was that “people turn out to be surprisingly bad about texting. Actually, I should correct that — what you’re saying is that men turn out to be surprisingly bad at texting women.”
When we asked women, “Well, what are the things you like when guys text you, like what are the factors that make a text that you like?” And kind of the consensus that we got was asking them to do a specific thing at a specific time, saying something that maybe recalled an action that they had in the past, to show that you were engaged and this was something that you were into. And the last thing was some sort of humor is also helpful.
To review: Suggest an actual plan, include a nod to a past interaction to show that you were paying attention, and maybe make a joke or two. Their many hours of research, as is the case with disheartening frequency in much of social science, mostly came up with common sense. “And, you know, in the book, we talk about this stuff, and it’s not from the perspective of, ‘This is what you should do,’” Ansari continued. “It’s more like, ‘How the f— do people not know that this is all you have to do?’ Like, the bar is startlingly low.” Get it together.