How to Save a Dying Conversation Over Text: 15 No-Needy Ways

Deciding whether to revive a dead text conversation is a catch-22. You don’t want the other person to assume you’re ignoring them or that you’re uninterested if you stop responding. At the same time, you’re afraid that if you try to maintain the conversation (that’s clearly dying), you’ll come across as annoying or needy.

Not knowing what to say to keep a dry text conversation going, or being unsure of whether to continue it at all, is a common problem. This is true whether you’re communicating with a friend or a crush. If you want to know how to be a better conversationalist over text, including how to come back from a dying conversation, this article is for you.

Tips for saving a dying conversation over text

Text conversations start to die for two main reasons. Either the conversation has reached its natural end, or one or both people are not carrying it well enough. Fortunately, there are ways to remedy a dying conversation. They involve re-engaging the other person and livening things up.

Below are 15 tips for saving a text conversation that’s dying:

1. Revisit an earlier topic

If you sense that your text conversation is coming to an end, dive back into an earlier topic to keep the chat going. Not only will this show you’re a great listener, but it will allow the conversation to continue and develop in a different direction.

Scroll back to earlier message exchanges and see if you can ask a question that you could have asked but didn’t. Avoid asking a closed-ended question—one where the other person can simply answer “yes” or “no.” This will work against your efforts to revive the conversation. Instead, opt for an open-ended question.

Here’s are some examples:

  • “I forgot to ask earlier, what did you think of Turkey?”
  • “You mentioned earlier that you enjoy hiking—what’s your favorite hiking spot?”
  • “I almost forgot to ask—what are you going to be making your family for dinner?”
  • “You said earlier that you’re dying to go on vacation, where are you thinking of going?”

2. Share something interesting

If you were exchanging messages with your crush on Whatsapp and the conversation fizzled out, it can be tempting to send follow-up texts. It’s OK to restart the conversation if you were the last one to reply, but be skillful in how you do it.

Don’t send a boring and needy follow-up, like “hello?” “where’d you go?” or “you there?” Rather, wait a couple of hours, or better yet, a day or two, until you have something interesting to share. When you text them again, create suspense before sharing what you have to say.

A cellphone showing a text conversation with insistent unanswered messages.

Here’s an example:

“I saw the most random thing on campus today!”

[Wait for their acknowledgment]

“A man was walking down the street on stilts! LOL.”

3. Use humor

Sharing an awkward but funny story with your crush can do more than fix the conversation. It can also show them that you’re a fun, down-to-earth person.

Say you were talking about exams, and the conversation started to get a bit dry. You could say:

“Speaking of exams, I have a confession to make. Wanna hear it?” If they agree, share an embarrassing story, such as:

“In one exam, I finished quite early and was feeling restless. I started rocking on my chair, and I guess I rocked back too far. I tried to grab my desk to stop myself from falling, but I ended up on the floor. In fact, I managed to topple over the person sitting behind me, too!”

You can find additional inspiration in this list of fun questions to ask

4. Ask for a recommendation

An easy way to keep a conversation going that little bit longer is to ask the cute guy or girl you’re talking to for a suggestion. Let your crush be your guide when it comes to what movie or series to watch, what book to read, or what podcast to listen to next. Besides keeping the conversation going, their suggestions will tell you a lot about them and whether the two of you have any common ground.

Examples of things to ask about to avoid the conversation dying: books, restaurants, movies, TV series, podcasts, and music.

Here are some examples of how to ask for a suggestion:

  • “I’m about to search Amazon for a new book—any suggestions?”
  • “Are you watching any good series at the moment? I’ve just finished the last season of Game of Thrones and I need to find something new to watch.”
  • “You said you listen to a lot of podcasts, right? What would you say is your go-to podcast at the moment?”
  • “I’m updating my workout playlist, do you have any good song suggestions for me?”

5. Ask for their opinion

When the conversation becomes stale, and you can’t think of things to say, ask your friend for their opinion on something instead. This takes the pressure off you and lets them carry the conversation for a bit.

A person walking with her phone asking someone her opinion on the color of bikes.

Think about something that you’d benefit from having an extra opinion on—perhaps choosing between two books you’d like to buy, what outfit to wear to a party, or what rug to choose for your living room. You could send your friend pictures or web links to different options and ask them what they think.

6. Request a phone call

If you’re texting someone who replies with very curt or vague responses, ask if you can call them. They may just hate texting, in which case, you’d have a much livelier conversation over the phone. Or they may be very busy, and it’s not a convenient time for them to text. Either way, when you ask if you can call them, you’ll have a better idea about whether they want to keep the conversation going or not.

This tip works best when used with a friend or with someone you have been on at least one date with. We wouldn’t recommend you try this with a guy or girl you have never met. Reserve longer conversations for real-life encounters when it comes to Tinder matches!

10. Compliment the other person

A flirty comment can go a long way to spice up a bland conversation with your crush. If your Tinder convo started out strong but then starts to wane, pay a sincere compliment to the guy or girl you’re speaking to.

Do their dimples make you melt? Here’s something you could say: “I’m sure you must hear this all the time, but you have the cutest dimples! Are they from your mom or dad’s side?”

If using compliments to restart a conversation with a friend, tone down the flirt. If there is something of theirs that you like—perhaps some new sneakers they were wearing recently—you could bring these up. Say what you love about them and ask where they got them from.

11. Change the topic

If you’re talking about a boring topic, the conversion can quickly become dry. Don’t be afraid to change the topic. It could be just what’s needed to jazz things up and get the momentum going again.

Here’s an example of how to change topics when the conversation becomes stale:

You: “I also prefer studying in the library—way less distractions!”

Crush: “Yup, definitely.”

You: “Well, summer break is just around the corner…what are your plans?”

12. Respect the other person’s space

If you finally managed to slide into your crush’s DM’s and they replied then stopped, do not send another text or multiple texts in a row. The same goes for friends. Not only is it annoying for the receiver, but it also comes across as super needy.

If the person you’re trying to reach doesn’t reply, then give it a couple of hours to a couple of days before sending a follow-up message, and do not send more than one follow-up text.

Here’s what you could say to a crush:

“So, what did you do today?”

For a close friend, you can be a bit more cheeky:

“Dude, did you get abducted by aliens?”

13. End the conversation yourself

When you sense that a conversation is fizzling out, end it yourself. Making it clear that the conversation is over removes ambiguity on both sides and makes it easier to restart the conversation later on.

There are many ways you can make it clear that you’re ending a text conversation. Here are some examples:

  • “I’ve got to run, but I’ll chat to you again soon. Bye!”
  • “It’s been great chatting, but I really need to get back to work. Chat soon.”
  • “Nice chatting to you. Have a great day, and I’ll catch up with you soon.”

14. Ask the person out

If you were texting your crush and they stopped responding, when you follow up in a few days, it should be to ask them out. It may seem very direct, but this way you will know for sure whether they are interested in you or are stringing you along. You have nothing to lose except—potentially—a little pride!

Here are some examples of texts you could send:

  • “I really enjoyed our last conversation. Do you want to continue it over coffee this week? I know an awesome spot!”
  • “Hey, I’m not a big fan of texting but I really liked talking to you the other day. What do you say we move our conversation offline?”
  • “So there’s a new brunch spot that’s opened in town and you mentioned that you love mimosas. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

15. Know when to let the conversation fizzle out

Sometimes a conversation reaches its natural end, and trying to fix it or keep it going isn’t worth it. Text conversations can end for multiple reasons: boredom, being busy, and disliking texting are a few. In these cases, it’s usually possible to save a dying conversation. But if the reason for a conversation ending is a lack of interest, then it’s best to move on.

When your crush stops responding, that’s usually a pretty good indication that they’re no longer interested in you or were never that interested to begin with. If you were the last one to reply and you’ve sent a follow-up message with no response, even a few days later, then let it be. Someone who is truly interested in you will come back.

Kirsty Britz has a Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of New York in Prague, Training in Person-Centered Counselling, and a Career Coaching Certification. Read more.

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