There’s no denying that somewhere in the last decade we’ve transitioned from a society of talkers to a society of texters.
For many things it’s great. It’s more discreet; you don’t feel like you’re interrupting someone if you text them; you can send a text about something silly that wouldn’t normally warrant a phone call.
But for other things it’s been accompanied by it’s own culture of anxiety. People take too long to respond; maybe the joke you made was misinterpreted; maybe you used too many smileys.
And these anxieties are compounded when you realize that often men and women (I’m broadly generalizing here) text for different reasons.
Yes, we all text to make plans, to say we’re going to be late, to take the temperature on a potential booty call, or for other practical purposes. But while men tend to limit themselves to this kind of utilitarian texting, women often use texting as a surrogate for conversation.
I can’t say I’ve ever stalked a guy’s text history with his guy friends, but I doubt it would cover the same totally random grounds that my texts to my girlfriends do. I text them photos of shoes I’m trying on, if I’m judging the ridiculous outfit of someone on the street, if I’m nervous about a date I’m on my way to, even cute sentimental stuff, like if I’m having coffee at a café where I used to often go with a friend who moved away and I want to tell her that I miss her.
In short, we’re accustomed to a certain level of text intimacy that substitutes face to face conversation when we’re not physically with the people we want to communicate with. And if we’re accustomed to this communicative intimacy from our girlfriends, imagine how much we expect it from guys we’re actually being intimate with (or at least would like to be).
I’m not saying guys need to text girls their every random thought. In fact, it’s probably better that they don’t, especially during the early blossoming of a relationship (I’m not advocating playing games, but I am advocating being strategic). I’m saying that guys should make the effort to see and use texting as more than just as way to say you’ll be downstairs in five.
If a girl is texting you to be cute or flirty, answer in kind. And if she’s not? Maybe take the initiative.
It’s almost like guys don’t realize the incredible tool of seduction they have at their disposal.
(And no, I’m not talking about your penis.)
You have the power to convey your sense of humor, your desirability, your playfulness, and your flirting. By texting a girl, you’re getting her to think of you. If you do it right, you can get her to respond, and enter into a dialogue. By managing your timing (but again, no games), you’re planting yourself in the back of her mind, subconsciously making her want a response from you.
Texting isn’t just for asking a girl out and planning the date. It’s for making her look forward to seeing you the first time. It’s for following up after the date to make her want to see you again.
That said, it’s not a tool to be used for manipulation and mind games, so here are some ground rules.
Tried and True Tips for Texting as a Tool
1. Do use proper grammar and punctuation. Nothing, and I mean nothing, turns me on less than getting “Wat u up 2 2nite?” You’re an adult. Talk like one. Ugh.
2. Do Not be creepy and cheesy. No one likes to get “Hey sexy” texts from a guy she hasn’t even gone out with yet.
3. Do answer text messages in a timely fashion. This is critical. You don’t have to answer immediately, but for anything that warrants a timely answer (questions, plan-making, etc.), answer within a couple of minutes. If it’s non-urgent, up to an hour is fine, especially if you’re at work, but anything longer and you’re being a jerk. In this day and age, it’s impossible for someone not to look at their phone—and therefore see your text—less than once an hour. Waiting a day or more? Fuck you. If you don’t have time to answer my text message, I don’t have time to date you.
4. Do Not wait three days to text a girl after a date. I don’t know what moron invented this stupid and arbitrary rule, but it’s dumb. If you had a good time, don’t you want to see her again? Let her know! If she had a good time, too, she wants to hear from you! And if either of you didn’t enjoy your date, the sooner you mutually figure it out, the better; no point in putting it off and potentially hurting someone’s feelings. Seeming “too eager” only backfires if she’s not that into you in the first place, in which case you probably didn’t have a chance anyway, even after waiting three days.
5. Do text her something cute if you’re thinking of her. For example, if you’re jogging in the park and you think how fun it would be to spend an afternoon there throwing around a frisbee with her, let her know by saying something like, “Out for a run in the park. We should come back here together on a sunny afternoon.” Or it doesn’t even have to be to suggest making plans. Something like, “Hey, I’m in the [insert neighborhood] grabbing lunch with a coworker but we’re not sure where to go. Any suggestions?” makes it clear that you value her opinion and you’re thinking of her even when you’re out with friends.
6. Do Not send totally pointless texts like, “Hi” or “What’s up?” If you have something to say, say it. If not, wait until you do. If you want to see her, say so, and take initiative. Nothing is worse than a guy who wants to see you and then puts the impetus of making plans on you. If you’re too lazy to plan something, I’m too lazy to do it for you.
7. Do send her flirty/naughty/innuendo texts at semi-inappropriate times. Obviously don’t distract her if you know she has a job interview or an important meeting, but getting a salacious text from you at work or with friends about what you want to do to her that night is exciting, and it plants the idea in the back of her mind.
8. Do Not send flirty/naughty/innuendo text messages to someone you aren’t sleeping with yet. The above is reserved for people with whom you’ve already crossed a certain intimacy threshold. Flirty is ok, as long as you’re not overstepping any lines. Nothing kills a nascent romance faster than a guy who acts like sex is the only thing on his mind (see point two). And as a continuation of this, which however warrants it’s own point:
9. Do Not send unsolicited dick pics! What is it with guys thinking that we’re all dying to see a close up of your erect penises totally out of context at random times of the day? We’re not usually. And if we want it, we’ll ask for it for it. Not to mention the risk of the text arriving at an inopportune moment, or accidentally being seen by someone whose eyes it wasn’t meant for. Aside from our general lack of desire to see digital renditions of your throbbing members, there’s just too much room for error.
Keep all these in mind, and you’ll be golden.
What texting rules do you live by?
Originally published on Date Daily. Republished with permission.
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