Dating Text Etiquette
Advice on When It's OK to Text Message a Date and When You Should Pick Up the Phone
Dear April Masini,
Technology and dating are giving me a headache. I cannot read guys anymore --and how should I be able to-- they don't even call--They text! I wouldn't mind it, but I can't tell whether a guy who texts me often and barely ever calls is interested and shy, or just lazy. I don't want to date a lazy guy, and I definitely don't want to date a guy who's not interested in me. Do you have any texting and dating tips?"
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Call Me!,
Lazy dating will ruin your relationship -- sometimes before it even starts, and the laziest way to date is to use texting when you should really pick up the phone or put it down and turn it off. For instance:
- Texting during a date is a giant FAIL! Could you tell him or her that you like them any less than you are by texting instead of attending to the date? Nope!
- Texting in bed before, during or after sex -- seriously?? Yes. It happens, and if you're smart, it won't happen twice. If you find you're texting in bed, using your laptop in bed and can put your hands on more electronic items than naked body parts, you're heading for addiction to technology, my friend. Your relationship with your electronic devices is more important than those with your date or significant others.
- Reckless texting where you accidentally send texts before you've thought through the consequences of sending them -- or worse, you send them to the wrong people…. en masse. You might as well have had a head on collision in a car because recovery from reckless texting will take as long.
Here's some basic text etiquette:
- Don't break up via text. You think I'm kidding. I'm not. I have a free relationship forum on my site, www.AskApril.com, and I hear from people (both men and women) who have been broken up with by text. Inevitably this is because the person doing the breaking up doesn't want to face the rejected one, either because he or she is afraid to hurt them or because they're trying to avoid a scene. Regardless of the reason, if you've been dating someone long enough that a break up is warranted, doing it by text is very bad manners. In person is the way to break up. Text is just rude.
- Don't make invitations via text. You're having a dinner party or a Thanksgiving Dinner. Don't invite your guests via text. It's easy to miss the text. It denigrates the invitation and the event. Always take the time to make your guests feel special by sending them a paper invitation, a personal phone invitation (not left on the answering machine or voice mail) or possibly, a beautiful evite.
- Do use punctuation and proper grammar. It's okay to use LOL and OMG, but use them with proper punctuation to show that you're educated, sophisticated and that you care about the reader's experience.
- Don't conduct your entire relationship on text. You'd be surprised how often I hear from my readers asking me how to resolve a texting discrepancy in their relationships. One person in the relationship texts the other several times a day, every day -- and expects an acknowledgement and/or response to each text. If they don't get it, they create drama in the relationship. Know that texting is personal -- and you're not going to want to eat the same thing that your partner does every day; you're not going to want to see the same movie as your partner and you're probably not going to want to talk on the phone or text with the same frequency your partner does. Less is more when there is a discrepancy, and too much texting telegraphs insecurity and neediness that is not attractive in a relationship.
- Don't last minute text and assume the new plan is on without confirmation. The joy of texting is the speed and brevity, but just because you change the venue or the information at the last minute and press send, doesn't mean that the receiver has gotten the text and if he or she has, it doesn't mean they got it when you sent it (phones do get turned off now and then). "Please confirm" are the magic words that make a necessary last minute change viable -- with confirmation.
- Don't assume familiarity. Texts are terse and casual by nature of their brevity. They lend themselves to shortened language. But if you're texting someone new -- from work, a friend of a friend or a new romantic interest -- don't be too casual. It's better to err on the side of using their name instead of honey or cutie.
- Don't text and drive. Distraction is as bad, if not worse than drinking while driving. If the text can't wait, pull over to the side of the road and park before texting.
"Faster, faster, faster!" -- No, it's not a command that one bed partner gives another -- it's the rate of love with text messaging as the medium! Text messaging makes feelings of the heart fly at lightning speed, and makes there be NO EXCUSE for not keeping in touch. It also makes wannabe polygamists good to go because they can send their love flying in 10 different directions with the flick of a fingertip. So just because you get a love message from your IM honey, doesn't mean you're the only one seeing hearts.
April's text message etiquette:
- Keep it light and simple. No one wants to read long messages on a text device. The medium is meant for short and sweet, so keep it that way.
- Impulsive check! Don't have three espressos and then start sending messages like crazy. Think before you hit send. Not only will you possibly send the wrong feeling to someone -- you may send it to the wrong person, altogether!
- Don't rely on text messaging. It's a great medium for infusing relationships with sparks of delight, but it's not hardcore enough to sustain a relationship. Don't rely on text messaging for your day's communication. Follow up with a phone call.
- Beware the text message cad. If all you get from him is text messages and sex -- you may be victim of a text message dog. Text messages and sex are not a real relationship, folks.