Open communication is one of the most integral parts of a relationship, but in the early stages it can also be the most cumbersome. How many times have you been thrilled about the prospect of a new love interest before quickly getting caught up in fretting over when to text, when not to text,or when he last texted before—you even figure out what to say?
Everything from movies and TV shows to our own mothers have made us feel as though we have to play hard to get for as long as possible. But that nagging voice in the back of your head that “one little text won’t hurt” still sometimes wins out, making the mature choice not such an obvious one. That casual coolness you hope to create at all costs known as “the game” should be stuff of the past, but there’s still that crucial factor that exists early on in helping to determine whether this new relationship is something to invest your time and heart in.
To help you know when to drop a line without desperation, here are three simple guidelines to follow:
Give Him Room to Initiate
The first couple months or so into a relationship are so crucial when it comes to communication because it allows you to filter out the guys who are just looking for something physical from those who want to pursue something deeper. If you’re bombarding him with messages every which way, not only are you taking away his opportunity to work for your affection, but you may even be presenting him the opportunity to break your heart on a silver platter. Unless he’s fallen off the face of the earth (literally), a guy who is into you won’t leave room for any doubt about his feelings. On the flip side, someone who will only make half-hearted plans after you’ve consistently nudged them is likely struggling with something deeper.
Reach Out When It’s Relevant
Sending a cute text or making plans with someone you’ve just started seeing is by no means forbidden, but it should be considered carefully. When you get the urge to reach out, take a beat and think about why you want to make contact. If he’s initiated the past couple dates, and you found out your mutual favorite band is coming to town, there’s nothing wrong with suggesting you check it out together. Or if he’d been worried about a big presentation at work and you’re genuinely wondering how it went, a short and sweet check-in note will show you care. But if you’re looking for that quick rush of validation from getting any response whatsoever from him, it’s time to play the waiting game.
Trust Your Gut
As with most issues of the heart, you can never go wrong with trusting your gut. The real challenge lies in knowing how to interpret what your gut is telling you, and that starts with having a solid idea about the things you require in a relationship to feel fulfilled, happy and loved. Someone who is making you feel insecure by his lack of communication, especially in the earliest and most carefree part of the relationship, is the sneakiest kind of red flag. You may feel reckless for cutting ties with someone over texting, but somewhere out there is someone who will never leave a shred of doubt.
Learning the subtleties of how and when to text can make a big difference in the early stages of a relationship. So make sure to (i) give him room to initiate, (ii) reach out when it’s relevant, and (iii) trust your gut. And to learn how to avoid other common mistakes that kill your chances with high-quality, relationship ready men, make sure to check out The 3 Deadly Dating Mistakes All Women Make (and How You Can Avoid Them!).