If what came to your mind first was “don’t text and drive”, don’t text while dining or don’t text while walking hand-in-hand, then no and duh. That’s not what I had in mind. Once a friend wanting to be funny, sarcastically said to me “Wayne. You have such a knack for the obvious!” Why yes and thanks for noticing! This blog is however, to add some insight to the practice and even help some proactively plan their next text to the opposite sex.
So, on a serious note here, there are some points and principles from relationship experts that many of us overlook or fail to practice that are important to building and maintaining the relationship in a meaningful way.
There are exceptions to these rules-every one of them! We must start somewhere, however, so I’ll start at the beginning-my beginning.
- Reach out right away to contact and ask out the person you have recently met (1). Waiting days or weeks makes one feel low priority or as an after-thought. Initial excitement and momentum experienced at your first meeting can be lost and hard to recreate.
- Do not just say Hi or hello (1). and leave it hanging as if you are totally baffled.
- Ask open-ended questions (not a yes or no type question which is the closed ended type). Example: how did your day go today? Or, you have been on my mind, so I called to see how you are doing.
- Show interest, not neediness. A compliment followed by a gesture to have coffee, drink or hang out together is appropriate, but explanations of why you choose or do not chose to do something are not.
- Be brief with early texts. The initial text is often your test of their interest and yours. Until a relationship is established, you do not wish to appear desperate, pushy, needy or too talkative.
- Focus early on making plans (1).so that your intentions are clear.
- Stay calm, relaxed (1).and pace the conversation. Do not push too hard for your plan.
- Check your grammar and spelling (1). Your sense of class as well as your educational level may shine through more than you realize. Auto spell can change a word or phrase entirely and the message as well.
- Be conscious of your tone (1). of the texting voice. Do you sound pushy or too wishy-washy? Be confident but not demanding. Sometimes the tone, like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. That is the reader is simply interpreting the tone he/she feels and perceives based upon past experience.
- Do not assume that the text means the same to you as it does the other person. Texting has different meanings to each of us. Some believe that it is preferred due to it being quick, easy, convenient, and you can answer later and think about your answer. It permits you to think about how to be funny, serious, evasive or just carefully plan an answer. It also is looked by those who prefer to do other things between their texting such as cook, clean, watch TV, listen to music or 100 other things (2).
- Tell the other your preference of texting or calling if it is important to you (2).
- Do not be upset or complaining even to yourself (2) if you do not wish to be receiving late text invites because it makes you feel like an afterthought or second best. Ignore the text or say you need more notice and not be available so as to reward this type of planning.
- Sexting is not acceptable for any relationship. It is a solicitation. Though there are a minority of persons who respond to it, the persons who start a relationship by hooking up generally realize that the sexual initiator seldom pursues the intimacy of building a partnership and long-term union (2).
- Caution should be exercised when getting to know someone by such an impersonal means as texting (2). How much can you learn without hearing the voice inflections or ever seeing facial reactions and expressions? How can you get a feel for the wittiness, spontaneity, judgement, ability to think fast on their feet by a virtual reality of only texting? Calling and speaking can cover so much detail and so many subjects in a much shorter space of time. The temptation to lean on common abbreviations and text sentences with as little space as possible seems almost a contest to some. I often 2 or 3 meanings in the same text which leads to longer follow-up texts or assumptions and confusion.
- Frequency of texting must “be proportional to where you are in the relationship” (2). If either person feels the other is texting too little or too often without explanation the message conveyed will be negative. Texting too often, too quickly or too lengthy can give the impression that you are too needy or desperate. On the other hand, texting too little, too short, or too much later can convey the other person is not important, second to others or just a lower priority. We all want to be valued and perhaps more so with women.
- Night time is generally preferred for the man to text most woman (3). It is generally more romantic, sexy, shows her your thinking about her most at night when two persons should be together. If you are texting her at night, your thoughts are not with another even if another is with you.
- Text when you believe she is available (3). Texting too early. too late, when she is with children or has other obligations will only minimize your time or importance.
- Pick a specific time each night (3) as that will condition her/him to expect your text. It will become something to look forward to each day. You may become a stress reducer as you listen well.
- Timing in-between texts is important and means different things to different people and to different generations. The “Baby-boomer” generation (Currently about 55-75 in age) did not grow up texting. Cell phones became affordable to most families when they were raising families and deep into their careers. Their patterns of communications and attitudes were generally set habitually. While many picked up the technology and even embraced it, calling is often preferred for its more personal contact and emailing is often preferred to be better understood.
There are many unwritten rules to many younger generation texters on when and how to reply to a person flirting and seeking a relationship with you by text. The rules are generally more important to females because they have more often created them to test a man’s strength of interest, his availability etc. Some persons are self-conscious about responding too quickly to the other’s texts. Not wishing to act too eager or available, they carefully time themselves and space their replies to a set number of hours or minutes until the relationship is established and expectations become formed.
- Games Playing. A more important noticeable difference in the texting at the Baby-Boomer age is that they are not into the social game playing (that is playing “mind games” testing each other’s personal strengths and weaknesses with regard to their own attractiveness) even with the dating texts. While I have no stats on this, my observations are that the older baby boomer generation tend to say what they mean and mean what they say just as they were taught in proverbs of their time. Some will even say, at my age I don’t have time for games and why should I or anyone?
On the other hand, the younger dating crowd often referred to as the “millennials” and the “generation X”, thrive on games playing to test each other’s response patterns, loyalty, sense of interest, sense of neediness, patience, knowledge of the abbreviations and on and on and on…
The impatient (usually the male) will often short circuit the games with sexting or self-serving demands. Given the ongoing debate of equal rights, a woman’s right to choose (in any situation), the power of having one’s own income and freedom, and the desire to avoid being controlled etc. a growing number of females are taking the lead in texting, showing their interest, and making the advances in the relationships.
Lastly, it is noteworthy to call rather than text when the issue is an emergency or urgent, a complex issue should be discussed/resolved, a voice is needed to measure intent or a specific emotion or the consequence of misinterpretation can be disastrous.
By Wayne R. Faust, MA, SPE, HSP
Author of 300 Billion to One, Available at Amazon.com
(2) Francesca Hogi (Huffingtonpost.com)
(3) Texting Tips by Keith Brown