It’s like a science fiction movie — a technology meant to help mankind gone mad. You meet online. You exchange emails. You have a call, and often before you even have your first date, your relationship gets stuck in the text lane. Random and short messages that seem to promise a connection or at least a face-to-face meeting…never…seem…to…work…out.
How did it come to this? Texts are perfect for a certain type of communication — sharing directions, asking questions that require short answers and spreading the news to a group. But getting to know someone? And worse still, it’s easy to get the feeling that a serial texter is running interference and holding you off while they balance a half-dozen other things (or people).
If You Are a Serial Texter:
We’re sure you’re a nice person, but texting is not the most flattering manner of communication. It seems to connote a certain, “I really don’t have time to talk to you. What’s up?” With your friends that’s fine, because you already have a relationship. In addition, you’re usually relaying some information to a friend that doesn’t have any impact on how they feel about you. “Want to go to the movie tonight?”
But a new love interest isn’t looking for the most efficient form of communication. He/she is looking to learn about you, sit down and have a meaningful human exchange. Texting is the opposite of that. It doesn’t even have the quaint letter writing potential of an email. It’s all business in 160 characters (for SMS users).
Let us propose an alternative communication strategy for our texting friends. After the online introduction is solid, after an email has been exchanged, if interest is still high, pick up the telephone. Yes, this can be awkward. Especially if your phone skills have atrophied as your texting skills have grown. But the benefits are immense.
1. You probably know within three minutes if you even want to have a date. How’s that for efficiency?
2. The chances that your partner will be impressed are greatly increased.
3. You’ll get to the actual date much quicker, which is the reason you’re doing all of this online matching in the first place.
4. You’re going to eventually need to talk to this person. A phone conversation gives you the opportunity to ask some detailed questions and get material for your face-to-face.
If You are “Dating” a Texter:
Perhaps you’ve never had a real date with this person. Or maybe you got some face-to-face interaction before the texting flurry began. Either way, if you’ve started to feel like you’re getting little text messages on your phone instead of valuable time together, you’ve got to take a stand.
The best first line of defense is to stop responding to the messages, or what behavior specialists called “tactical ignoring.” You try to positively recognize the behavior you want to encourage and completely ignore the behavior you want to go away. Or as an alternative, you could send one simple text as a reply, “When you get a chance, give me a call.” This lets the person know how you’d like the communication to flow.
Eventually, you may be forced to make a choice between enduring a six-texts-for-every-call communication pattern or letting a promising potential suitor go. Of course, if a person likes to communicate primarily via text and you hate it, you’re probably not a very good long-term match.
If it feels difficult to cut loose a possible romantic candidate because of annoying text habits, just fast forward mentally into a life where you’re living with the habit. Every day. A person who can’t respectfully communicate with you in the manner you prefer is probably going to be pretty bad at the kind of compromise that is vital for a relationship to grow and thrive.