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As I sit down to write this I realize I am about to pen a discourse with a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude. I'm just as guilty as the next guy or gal in what I am about to say.
There is a new dating curse out there, and it is called “text dating.” It happens when two people meet, and instead of picking up the phone, or seeing each other often in person, they send each other dozens of texts daily to communicate. The couple just thinks they are getting to know each other. They think they know every little thing the other person is doing and what they are thinking about. But the truth is, they have built a “relationship” on nothing solid, nothing real, and possibly never built anything but an active imagination.
Texting kills relationships.
The plain and simple fact is that texting is killing communication. And communication is the basis for all relationships. Especially if that relationship is a romantic (or potentially romantic) relationship.
You cannot glean context from a text.
You cannot discern real meaning from a text.
You cannot sense true nuance and tone from a text.
You cannot fully describe anything in a 160 character text.
Nobody sounds smart using abbreviations in a text.
Sure, texting is convenient. I admit that as I write this I am in the middle of several texting conversations, a few of which are about whether or not I am a complete hypocrite for writing about this subject. (And yes, I probably am. But at least I own up to that fact!) The plain and simple truth is that a real, honest-to-goodness, deep, lasting relationship cannot be built on texting.
Here's the deal. Women will always read too much into what is said, especially if it is said in a text, email, and/or instant message. Men will hide behind their tiny screens where it is easy to have courage (instead of having to do it in person while they quake in their boots) and say whatever it takes to get what they want. It is a dangerous combination. The only way to ever truly understand what one person is saying to another person is to do it with face-to-face direct communication. You NEED the human element. Do you think you are in love with the person on the other side of the gravatar? How do you picture yourself married to the person? Texting each other from opposite sides of a king-sized bed? (Not what I envision for my future marriage!)
Texting leads to nothing. Nothing real, nothing lasting, nothing sincere.
Rules for Texting and Dating
Let's set a few relationship rules regarding texting, shall we?
- Never, ever ask a member of the opposite sex out on a date via text. (I'm somewhat lenient and understanding about the possible need to do so via email on occasion, but only in very strict scenarios, such as laryngitis.) All date requests should be done on the phone or in person.
I won't lie to you. I've been asked out via text, and I said yes. It disappointed me immediately, and lowered my expectations and opinions of the man before we even got on the date. Really, men, is that something you want to have happen before you even pick her up?
Texting is so impersonal that it also muddies the waters as to intent. Are you asking for a real date? Or a hang out? Or to join a group? There is no context, understanding, or intent in a text. If you plan to send enough detail in the text as to cover all of those bases, you could (and should) have just picked up the phone and done it quicker and easier.
- Never, ever have a fight and/or meaningful discussion about your relationship through text messaging. Again, the lack of context, tone, intent, and meaning is detrimental to beneficial and healthy communication.
- Never, ever read too much into a text, or the timing of a text. Let's be adults about this, okay? You have no idea what is happening on the other end of the line. Is the person in a business meeting? Did s/he leave the phone in the car? Is the phone on mute? Are they in an area with poor cell service? The length of time it takes for a person to respond to a text means nothing (until it means something). If you chose to send an important message by way of the most insincere form of communication possible, you get what you deserve as you wait for a reply.
- Never, ever declare your love for the other person for the first time through a text. Talk about impersonal, worthless, and cheap. Be a wo/man and do it in person! At the very least, do so on the phone, if you are on a long distance relationship and unable to see the person often enough, in which case you have my sympathy. Good luck with that. (Sidenote: If you have both said “I love you” in person, it is okay to send the occasional, quick “Love you” text, when you are thinking of your significant other during the day. In fact, this behavior is encouraged.)
- Texting is a good way to reach out and follow up with someone you’ve just met. It is a non-threatening, minimum investment required way to express your interest in the other person. Sure, send a “It was nice meeting you. Thanks for giving me your number. I'll call you soon!” message. Then (and this is the hard part) actually use your phone for a phone call. Remember back in the day when we all had numbers memorized and knew how to use them? Use them!
- Please, whatever you do, do not be an over-texter! This is a good way to get branded as clingy, crazy, and/or a stalker. This is the best way I know of to get yourself deleted and blocked for life.
- There is never a good reason to text on a date, especially to another potential date! If someone does this to you while on a date, it is justifiable grounds for getting up, walking away, and never speaking to said person again. Have some class, turn off your phone, and pay attention to your date! I guarantee nothing in that text will be as important as the person you are with, unless someone just died, and in that case, you should flog the person who sent a death announcement via text message.
- Never, ever make a lewd, sexual, or otherwise uncomely comment in a text message. It will backfire on you sooner or later. Not to mention, it's a stupid and uncomely thing to do. Would you say it in person? Then don’t say it in any other forum.
- If you don't want to be known as the “booty call” type, don't send text messages late at night.
- If you must text, please, be an adult about it, and do not use the popular abbreviations teenagers have invented.