For those of you who use text messaging as a form of communication with someone you're dating, whether you have a BlackBerry or an Apple iPhone, text messaging is the most abused and misinterpreted form of communication out there.
There are some things for which text messaging is great. It's great for confirming things ("See you tonight at 7:00 at Joe's Restaurant.") It's great as a good night kiss ("Did you get home safely?") It's great to reconfirm things ("What time are we meeting on Sunday? Let me know.") It's great for when you want to lob in a quick message to someone when they can't talk on the phone ("Can't wait to see you tonight.")
Texting is all about short conversations, and can be useful and fun in the dating context. Texting used in certain other ways, however, gets ugly within the dating context -- and can really get you into trouble. Some of these uses should be avoided because they can cause unintended misunderstandings, while others are simply bad manners or outright rude!
So, here are 7 of the biggest misuses of texting that you should avoid in the dating context:
- Save The Jokes. One drawback of texting (as with any written form of communication) is that it is sometimes difficult to convey the tone of what you write. Words are often misinterpreted. You can text somebody something that you think is a joke, and they don't read it that way. This will get you into trouble, because they may never call you back and give you the opportunity to straighten out the misunderstanding. So if you want to tell someone you're dating a joke, it's best to save it and tell it to them in person.
- Texting Is NOT Intended To Cancel A Date. If you don't want to see somebody again, you need to call them and cancel the plans. Texting is the chicken way to blow someone off, whether you ever intended to see them again or not. Texting is not an excuse to be rude. Be a grown-up and pick up the phone.
- Don't Ask Someone Out Via Text Message. Women especially can't stand when a guy asks them out via text messaging. Every woman I've spoken to thinks that when a guy asks them out via text message, that he really is not that interested in them. They all wish a guy would just pick up the phone. Guys, if you're interested then be a man and just pick up the phone! Granted, some women will say yes to a text date, but they will always prefer if you call them.
- Avoid The 'Morning After' Text. If you had a great date with someone the night before, don't text the person the minute you get up the next morning. Wait a few hours. Let the post-date recap settle down on both sides. Give someone a little time to think about you. There's no harm in waiting a few hours, especially after a first date. You don't want to look overanxious.
- Keep The Texting To A Minimum. Once you've texted back and forth a few times, and unless one of you is in a Turkish prison being tortured by a not-so-friendly cell mate, you need to pick up the phone and have a real conversation. You will not discover whether you share a true connection with someone by conversing with them via text message. Also, as two adults, you need to have an actual voice-to-voice conversation. So go ahead and exchange a few texts, but then get yourself on the phone!
- You May Not Get An Answer. Just because you texted someone, doesn't mean they're going to respond. This is another issue with using text messaging as your main communication method - especially in the dating context. You're texting back and forth with someone, then you send something to them and they don't respond. They may have gotten on the phone. They may have fallen asleep. They may have gone into a meeting. Because texting is so impersonal, though, you don't know what happened to them.
- You Are Left Wondering. Let's say you texted someone on a Tuesday, they responded to your text, you texted them again and... now it's Friday and they still haven't texted back. What does someone do in that situation? They may not be keeping a text count like you are. They may have forgotten to text you back because they got on a long phone call or got caught up in some work, and your text may have gotten lost. Let me ask you a question? Do you answer every email that comes in... or does one sometimes get buried and go unanswered? If you haven't heard from someone in a few days, pick up the phone and call them. The old AT&T commercial said it best - "Reach out and touch someone." You never know what they're response is going to be. Most of the time you're going to be pleasantly surprised, but all of the time you're going to get your answer. That's what dating is all about... getting answers. Plus, you won't drive yourself and your friends crazy wondering.
There's a lot of misinterpretation that can happen via text messaging. Understanding all of the 7 reasons above will help you navigate the fun side of texting in dating, while helping you avoid the bad side of texting in dating.
Texting is a great way have a little verbal flirting to stay connected in someone's life. It's not a replacement for a phone conversation. So if you're hoarding your cell phone minutes, I suggest you contact your provider and get some more minutes. Start having conversations again instead of hiding behind text messaging!
By the way, if you have any other text do's and don'ts, I'll be sitting by my Blackberry... so feel free to text me.