To Text or Not To Text…

Sunday, October 18, 2009
That is (just one of) the (many, many dating) question(s).

I happen to prefer phone or in-person communication to email and text messaging in early dating. When you’re just getting to know someone, it’s hard enough to gauge their tone in-person, let alone in emails and increasingly cryptic text messages.

I also happen to think email and text are lazier forms of communication. They have their purpose, yes, but reaching out to someone in written format is one-way, and therefore much safer than opening up to a two-way conversation which could take any number of unexpected turns.

As in all dating, it’s different with every person, but I wrote up a few guidelines that are probably going to apply to most daters.

First and foremost, don’t text when you’re drunk. It’s usually obviously if not by the time of the message, then by the spelling and/or content that you’re wasted. More importantly, the content is usually inappropriate given the short time you’ve been dating that person. Don’t do it.

Assuming you’re sober, there are still a few things you shouldn’t communicate via text:
  • Date Cancellations. You’re likely not going to take the time to explain yourself over text, just that you need to cancel. Not taking the time to give a reason makes it seem like you don’t care about the date (whether you do or not).
  • Anything Related to Emotions or your Dating Status. It’s a slippery slope into confusion at best and irritation at worst. If you have something to say that means something, say it in person or on the phone.
It’s not all bad, though. Some great uses of text messages, even in early dating, include:
  • Thoughtful notes that let someone know you‘re thinking of them. Wishing someone good luck on an important meeting, for example, can bring a smile to their face without interrupting their busy work day.
  • Time or location updates when you’re in an environment not conducive to phone conversations, like when you’re on the el heading to meet up or in a sports bar letting him know where you found seats.
Marathon Guy is walking a thin line with text messages. On the good end, he’s sent me cute check-in messages, like not to get scared when I went to see CATS (the commercials were freaking me out). He also sent some slippery slope messages, texting “hope everything is ok” after we talked on Saturday and decided to not to meet up, followed by two “OK” messages when I replied (a) that things were fine, we just changed plans (with smiley face!) and (b) that I was sorry his night was a bust but that he should call me later this week to make new plans.

After the second OK I went ahead and picked up the phone - turns out he was paranoid about something that I think he should blame on liquor and his liquored up friends - but I was able to get us back to a good place pretty quickly.

We’re set to have dinner tomorrow, but I don’t think I’ve seen the end of these out of line texts just yet. Around 1:30a this morning I got a final text about our earlier conversation. At least I know he likes me.


jo said...

i have to admit that i'm a huge texter. i text for everything. not that i'm opposed to phone conversations, those are lovely. but i prefer that for when i've already known someone a bit longer.

marathon guy sounds promising :)

Nicole said...

Awww, his inappropriate texting is cute... sounds like he's just that into you!

Dater at Large said...

Jo - you ARE a big texter, it's definitely personal preference.

N - you did not just say that!

Don't worry, I'm giving Marathon Guy leeway on texting. Mostly because I like him in person. And the texting is sort of cute.

Nicole said...

Didn't just say what? That the texting is cute and means he likes you? Or was it just the fact that I modified the phrase of that silly book/movie?

Dater at Large said...

The silly book/movie. But I have to agree, he clearly is into me :-)