Nowadays you can look good, have a great sense of humor, be intelligent, fun and adventurous but…let’s be honest, you’re going no where in a relationship if you can’t text.
The world of dating was forever changed with the invention of the text message. The ability to be in constant communication with a lover was revolutionary but paved the way for an entirely new set of confusing relationship rules and games. It’s sad but true, most women my age get turned off by awkward, too forward or just poor texting skills.
My generation has been socialized to use this technology in their dating lives but the rules that come along with this socialization are confusing and most of the time unspoken, leaving us unsure of the proper way to go about texting. Watching my friends question their actions, experience misery and frustration with the results of a text (or lack there of) and ultimately feel just confused, I decided to explore the mysterious world of texting and dating.
Here are a few thoughts I have on how to text if you want a date with someone like me…
1. Don’t over think it.
How often do I hear my friends stressfully question, “how long should I wait to text him/her back?” Cell phone usage in the beginning of a relationship is tricky and forces one into over thinking the entire situation. No good ever comes from over thinking a relationship.
So, stop constantly analyzing what you say, how long it takes me to respond and eventually what I say back. It just does not seem healthy to me to worry or put such a heavy weight on a typed out message that is just a few lines. Why can’t you just say what you want to, when you feel like it?
Easier said than done, I know, but I hate the uncertainty of the waiting game. If I receive a response instantly after I send a text, I become standoffish and assume that the sender is obsessed with me.
On the other hand, I find myself and my friends constantly touching our phones to check if we have received a response to our message, sleeping with phones right next to our pillows and keeping them on our person at all times, so we can view the response instantly, it just doesn’t seem healthy. We anxiously and obsessively wait and wait and wait for responses, but if we never get a response, we get down on ourselves for sending a message in the first place.
Why do we have to delay our responses, is stalling the new playing hard to get? If so, I’m over it.
To put a time amount on it, if you met me over the weekend, we hit it off and I gave you my number, text me the next day. Don’t be timid, I gave you my number for a reason. If I don’t respond, for whatever reason, text me again in a few days. If I don’t respond again, don’t text me again until I text you.
In terms of responding to a message, I would say waiting 10-20 minutes after receiving a text is plenty of time to show that you aren’t too hard to get but not too obsessive. If you get into a day long conversation this time span should shrink down.
That being said, in my opinion, it is best to let this over analysis fade away and text when you feel like it, if the person you are texting doesn’t take well to how often/little you text, they aren’t worth it.
2. Don’t be rude, respond.
I’m not sure when it became okay to read a message or see a phone call and simply not respond (I admit, I am guilty of this) but it is just plain rude. If you don’t want to talk to me, please just tell me and don’t lead me on.
I am a pro at kindly responding to text messages with a guy friend until he asks me out over text (which is lame, ask someone out in person) and then just never responding.
After seeing how a similar scenario negatively affected my friend, I decided it is better to honest in the beginning (though its harder) than that bitch who didn’t respond in the end.
So if I text you, don’t act too cool, respond. I’ll work to hold myself to the same standard.
3. Be confident in yourself and be real.
Another question I hear constantly is, “What should I say? Does this sound okay?” Personal relationships are no longer personal, we seek out our friends help in most every case, which can be nice if your game needs some work but also bizarre because nothing seems private any longer.
Relying on your friend’s advice is fine but if it makes you act less like yourself in the digital realm, when we meet in person it can make the situation awkward if you are acting differently than they way you do over text.
What should you say to me? If you are texting me for the first time be sure to include your name and where you met me, so as to avoid confusion. From there, I can’t tell you how to start up a conversation because every relationship is context specific.
Starting off with a, “I had a great time meeting/hanging out with you” never hurts. Include a reference to something we did together or talked about or a joke. Try not to put me in an awkward conversation by talking about an uncomfortable or controversial subject. I had a blind date text my friend if they could change the restaurant they were supposed to meet at because it was over priced, then continued to ask what she was wearing to the date. Both of these texts were inappropriate, the first showed he was cheap (it is completely fine if you don’t want to spend money on a date, but say that up front rather than agreeing to go to dinner) and the second showed he could not really think for himself, girls like someone who is confident.
Overall, text me what you feel like telling me. Don’t lie or be too forward, just be yourself (easier said than done, I know) but I’m serious, keep it casual. If you are weird or funny or intelligent, use those qualities to your advantage and text in as unique a voice you can. As our relationship develops the occasional compliment is nice, but keep it casual.
4. Use proper grammar and spell things correctly.
I cannot tell you how big of a turn off it is when I get an overly shortened text message where words are misspelled.
As texting takes over the communication sphere, it seems that attention to grammar, spelling and detail go out the window. I must say it is quite unattractive but god forbid you send a text that is longer than a few lines, that may come off as far too needy or obsessive.
Why do we put this pressure on shortening down messages, making them almost un-decodable? Is it because we fear that we will come off poorly if our messages are paragraphs long? Idk bout u but I wuld rather get a msg that is spelled out properly than shortened.
In the beginning, do not send paragraph long messages, it does come off weird, if you have that much to say call me. Shortening and abbreviating is fine in certain situations but keep it limited (For example, idk for I don’t know is perfectly acceptable, culd for could is not).
Pay attention to punctuation as well. In general, I would avoid using exclamation points unless you find it completely necessary. It is better to be simple than come off as over the top excited. The same goes for emoticons, unless the person you are texting uses them constantly, I would avoid them :).
5. Don’t Dread the Phone call.
Young people are increasingly avoiding the use of phone calls to communicate. We would rather draw out text conversations than be forced to respond on the spot and perhaps reveal too much.
Pick up the phone and dial my number if you have a lot to say or want to ask me out (and can’t do so in person) it shows confidence and takes up less time than analyzing a typed out coversation.
If people continue to avoid making phone calls because they are nervous or don’t have the time, what is going to happen when we are forced to talk to someone in real time? If this trend continues it seems that generations will grow to be increasingly socially awkward.
A few things to caution: Beware of autocorrect and look over your text before you press send, don’t want to get into an awkward situation if you can avoid it. Also, use sarcasm sparingly as it may not come across as sarcastic in a text message. Texts from last night are funny and entertaining but I do not want to be the one to receive them.
My “texting knight in shining armor.“
Someone who takes initiative. He knows we had a good time together and feels like texting me so he doesn’t hesitate to do so. He is real in his conversation. He doesn’t try to impress me or pretend to be something he is not. He is just himself and doesn’t take himself or his texts too seriously. He keeps messages short and sweet with proper spelling. He asks me out in person or over the phone, not via text message. Most importantly, he doesn’t stress over it and does not play games. Everything just falls into place.
The best advice I received about texting is that if you find yourself playing games, the person is just not worth it.
It is weird and difficult to discuss such a current subject when the playing field is constantly adapting; my ideas may not even be relevant soon. It seems almost impossible to give advice because every relationship is so different; no two people are compatible in the same way. The way I text a guy I am interested in now is very different from the way I texted previous prospects.
Though, at times it may seem that women are masters at this sport, they question their moves just as frequently as anyone else. I am by no means am an expert in the field, I am just a 22-year-old woman, using years of texting experience to question the technological love-lives we lead. I think that once you find someone compatible with you texting should just come naturally.
In the end, I find texting useful in maintaining my relationships but I think we need to be careful of the ways we go about using it and how often we rely on it. The instant gratification associated with text messaging can lead us to take romance and personal interaction for granted. We need to be wary of the power of a single texted message and acknowledge the weird ways we go about using this form of communication.
Text messaging can leave us isolated, socially awkward and overly reliant on our phones. We should take the time to develop the more personal and face to face aspects of our relationships. Using–not relying on–texting to enhance the personal aspects of our love lives.
I’m not claiming to be the master of texting, most of the time I have no idea what I am doing. If you have ideas about something I left out, please share; I know I could use advice as well.
Image: Mike Licht/Flickr ~
Hayley studied journalism, politics and international media at the University of Colorado—Boulder. In between juggling school and various jobs, she makes time to snowboard, travel, write and craft. She surrounds herself with people that motivate and embrace her as she strives to make a difference in anyway she can. Follow her on twitter.