The way we date today has changed dramatically with the advent of texting. While any type of communication medium including texting can have a positive impact on human relationships, some can have a drastic impact in just the opposite way. Even eHarmony.com, one of the top online dating sites in the world, noticed the impact of texting enough to provide advice on it.
After digging deeper by chatting with a group of 20 somethings, one might say the positives are being overcome by the challenges that have come about with the advent of "dating via text." Texting adds confusion to the basic principles of dating. Young adult daters are already nervous, self-conscious, sensitive and shy during the initial dating phase. Texting adds to the challenge. He (or she) failed to respond to a text within 10 minutes or even instantly. What is going on? Did he lose interest? If an entire day passes, we wonder what happened -- is he still alive? If so what could possibly prevent him from spending seconds to type a text?
Here are some of the learnings revealed from an unofficial chat with 20 somethings who date via text:
1. How many girls do you think he's talking to? Texting has provided a seemingly unlimited amount of people we can contact in just a matter of minutes. Unlike phone calls, where we can make only so many phone calls during the day before we have to get back to work, school and our daily lives, texting allows us to keep 'chatting' all day if we want to in the office, during class, at the movies or at the dinner table. People would think you're insane if you stayed on the phone all day talking to someone you just met or your significant other, but texting for hours is more acceptable and often goes undetected. Unfortunately, in the dating world, everyone knows how easy it is to text and not to text. So when he decides to let a text go until later, she will question the relationship, and so it goes.
2. He ended things over a text! We all sit in a pool of worry over whether or not he's going to respond or she's going to think your comment or emoji was funny. And sometimes that response might be meaningless, but you can't tell. And so the battle begins -- what do you mean by that? Why are you sending a smiley face, it wasn't funny? Are you mad at me? What's wrong with you? Why are you being weird? Silence... I don't think this is going to work out. To avoid all this, other than the practical where do you want to meet texts, most texting ought to stay light-hearted and harmless. Face-to-face and even phone calls can save a relationship -- seeing the spark in the eye, hearing the warmth of the voice can instantly kill the 'is he mad at me' thought process and everything else that usually follows.
3. Texting provides a safe, distant environment to communicate in. Whether the two of you just met or unforeseen attraction interrupted a friendship, texting becomes an easier way to talk until you both feel more comfortable. Interestingly, this can complicate dating in the real world by creating an in person awkwardness that comes from the digital and physical world selves having different personas. There are some common habits you should completely avoid. Learn to not think twice before sending a text. Just talk, and your 'real' self is more likely to show through. Just like in the real world, when your partner says something, you respond almost immediately. In fact, when you don't, a spur of questions follow -- what's wrong? Did I just say something wrong? Are you mad at me?
4. Some people latch onto texting, some people don't. Sometimes you get those who claim not to be 'big texters.' They might have an old phone they hardly pay attention to, or their phone is always dead because of a consistently lost charger. How can you tell if these statements are true? What if this person is just saying that they aren't avid texters, so they don't have to text you! Addressing the subject head on can be awkward but it's difficult to tell otherwise. In these instances, texting can be a great source of confusion and a poor source of communication. In addition, research shows that too much texting can have a negative impact on couples. So if you find yourself with a non-texter, see this as a 'less is more' kind of blessing and focus on your real selves together.
5. The length of each text, and the time between them defines the level of affection. We have let texting determine much more than it should, yet rightfully so. The way we use language is a part of who we are. And though it may seem trivial, the time someone takes to write out a thoughtful response as opposed to two words does make a difference. If his texts are frequent and substantive, she'll take that to mean he is interested. If his texts are single words and infrequent, she'll assume she is falling to the bottom of his priority list. Unfortunately, texting can be a trap since it was created for the purpose of getting back to someone quickly using just a few short words. But, fortunately, what's developed is texting etiquette that is especially important in the dating atmosphere.
Texting is present daily in dating conversations and has created a whirlwind of change about how people communicate. Men and women treat texting differently, but, for both, confusion, paranoia, irritation and anxiety reign in the kingdom of digital dating. While she waits for his text, he stares at the dot, dot, dot of the iMessage, wondering what she's going to say next.
Is it time to take a deep breath and