The Best Way to Reply to Text Messages


This is where “HA HA” stands alone. This perfect little blue pill solves a problem that has always plagued my relationships with comedians or anyone who tries to tell me jokes – my reluctance to “give up” enough on my part. It’s no exaggeration to say that this Tapback has saved many of my friendships.

I love comedy, but to my detriment, I react to jokes the way my 6-year-old son appreciates his toys – by taking them apart and trying to figure out what works for them. Also, I’ve never been a “LOL” person, especially over text. He gives a disturbing performance, “Ah!” like writing. when you accidentally sit on your car keys. Even though I have a deep need attached to every joke I try, I still worry when people use “LOL” too generously. The reason sounds suspicious, like transactional praise. When someone sends more than one “LOL” in a string of text, I can’t help but think that that person is about to offer me a ride to the airport.

I preferred a simple “Ha” for a while, until I learned to switch to a more emotional “Ha!” thanks to some negative feedback. It felt like a proportional response to a textual joke, until the well was poisoned by that misshapen “HA” string. You’ve seen it and probably done: “HAHAHAHAHAHA.” It looks great on paper, feels great in a string of text, but is anarchic. Just “Ha!” It doesn’t. he suddenly appears patronizing, he sets a terrible new standard, because there are no standards. How many “HAs” are enough? In any group thread, the string “HA” quickly leads to nightmare scenarios like:



[A fine response; all is well.]


[Wow, I guess Person B hates jokes!]

When you improvise those “HAs” like jazz music, it’s harder to follow your work and it’s easier to hurt feelings. Set the bar too high by a dozen or more, and at any point in the future, even one less “HA” may suggest cutting your support.

That’s the joy of the ‘HA HA’ Tapback’s neat, appealing uniformity: just a large ‘HA’ and a shrunken size below it, suggesting it’s probably no more where it comes from. Gone are the long, competing “HA” sequences of varying lengths. Also gone are the overkill “LOL” and “tears of laughter” emoji, so let’s face it, it’s a bit too much. Tapback changes the entire joke rating system to “pass/fail”, and any professor tasked with grading that way knows that more people will pass, perhaps even a few undeserving ones. “HA HA” Tapback’s special magic is the way it meets while lowering your expectations.

I once saw a comedian present his entire play to an audience that perfectly responded to the audience with a dense wall of silence. At one point, after another loose joke was picked up by nothing but the room voice, one of the audience members, probably fascinated by the absurdity of all this, burst out into a tickling laugh. The comedian on stage tilted his head slightly like a cat hearing a can opener three rooms away and said: “I heard a laugh. I’ll take it.” “HA HA” Tapback organizes a vast network of complex and grueling needs for just one: I saw a smile. I’ll take it.


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