Technological advancements in the past decade or so have hugely improved the frequency and speed at which we are able to communicate. While overall this is a huge benefit, it has introduced a rather large hurdle in the dating world.
Texting is a casual way to bond with someone you’ve just started seeing in between dates, but it also complicates the already-intricate dating formula with myriad conundrums and interactions to analyze. Below I’ve outlined a few tips to help you navigate this technological enigma and understand the real rules of texting etiquette.
1. Don’t Initiate (At First)
Of course if your gentleman of interest texts you, by all means respond. But especially in the first few weeks of a potential relationship, it’s important to wait for him to initiate the conversation. This will filter out the guys who are interested in nothing more than a casual hookup and allow you to devote your attention to those who are interested in getting to know you and potentially pursue a relationship.
2. Time Your Response Realistically
When he DOES strike up a conversation, be realistic when deciding when to respond. Most people these days think of their smartphones as another appendage, so intentionally waiting six hours to write back may be a little obvious (unless you have a legitimate excuse.) If you must delay, don’t wait more than 10 minutes to respond. (Relationship-ready men report that they will only resort to playing games a la the “3-day rule” if you set the stage for it by being unavailable or appearing aloof.)
Not sure how to respond? Imagine what you would say or how and when you would respond in terms of how you would treat a text from a nonromantic acquaintance!
3. Punctuation, Punctuation, Punctuation!
Time to dust off your old grammar textbook, because punctuation is key when text messaging! Just the tiniest difference in punctuation can change the meaning of even the simplest text message almost completely. Use exclamation points and smiley faces (in moderation) to convey interest, and keep in mind that periods and ellipses tend to convey frustration or complacency.
Moreover, make sure you keep the length of your text messages is no more than half the length of your thumb. If it takes more than that to convey a message, we encourage you to pick up the phone, save it for in person, or as a last resort send an email.
4. Start Off Slowly
Again, especially at the very beginning of the relationship, you’ll want to limit the frequency of your texts until you’ve gotten a good gauge on his interest. If he’s constantly initiating and the relationship seems to be heading in a solid, exclusive direction, it’s okay to slowly increase the amount you’re reaching out. In almost any situation, double texting is a BIG no-no (especially if your second text is to ask him why he hasn’t responded to your first one!).
While texting presents a whole slew of additional issues to consider when dating, I’m certain that if you follow these four simple rules you’ll see it as a helpful tool to filter out the duds and get that much closer to finding your perfect mate!