Recently, I read a study by International Telecommunication Union that estimated mobile phone subscriptions increased from 4.6 billion to 5.3 billion from 2009 to 2010, which means about 77 percent of the world’s population has a mobile phone now. With the staggering increase of people who have mobile phones, our world is more connected than ever. Phones give us the ability to keep in touch with loved ones who are around the world, or even across the street. Distance between you and a loved one is no longer a problem; and with mobile phones, you can be on the move and still keep in contact with your friends and family. Along with calls on your mobile phone, text messaging (also known as short messages service, or SMS) allows people to keep in constant contact, which can create a new form of connectedness with your social network. But with the increase of the use of these newer forms of communication, what kinds of things can you expect in the dating world?
Imagine you meet someone new, and you think there’s a possibility for something more there, so you exchange numbers. Who should make the first move in calling the other and starting the adventure of getting to know one another – the man or the woman? And how should it be done – with a phone call or a text? A study by Byrne & Findlay (2004) compared how men and women prefer to make a first move. They found that men were overall more likely to make the first move, and would do so more often by calling than texting, whereas women were more likely to make the first move by sending a text. However, they also showed that when they did make the first move, women were just as likely as men to send a text message. This can be seen as men and women both still following the traditional roles in dating, where men should be the pursuers of the women. In women, the reason they may prefer texting to calling could be just to send a flirtatious message to suggest interest, and reveal that they want to be called.
When it comes to asking the other out on a first date, similar patterns of preference were seen. Overall, men were more likely to ask women out on a first date, and would more often call than text. Both men and women were equally unlikely to use a text message as a way of asking someone out. Again, both men and women seem to hold these traditional roles in dating, where men are pursuing women in asking them out on a date. However, the fact that men are not more likely to ask women out via text message may suggest that a text may not signify as much formality or desire. With a telephone call, a man would be risking more and putting himself out there by having that immediate response and having a live dialogue with the woman.
What happens if you start dating a “texter”?