Ooh, Texting. Why do you have to be so complicated?

The modern dating world  is constantly changing, and it is getting easier to meet new people and learn about them than ever before.  We are in constant communication with one another, whether it is by phone, texting,  G-Chat, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr (and other blogs), LinkedIn, etc.  More and more people are connecting through dating websites such as OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Match, J-Date, eHarmony, and Grouper.  Our generation grew up talking to their middle and high school crushes on AIM until way past their bedtimes, chatting about everything from school, music, movies, to even admitting romantic feelings.  I remember my heart would always skip a beat when my boy friend’s AIM log-in sound would come on (pretty sure it was Get Busy by Sean Paul…)  Growing up chatting on AIM has caused our generation to rely heavily on technology for communicating with friends, family, and even romantic interests/ partners.  Take a second to think about how often you talk to your friends or partners through technology vs. in person/ face-to-face.  It is no wonder why people our age text ALL. THE. TIME.   Thank the lord for unlimited text plans!  I do not know what we would do without texting.  However, how has this affected our dating life?  Are we replacing talking on the phone or talking in person with texting?  Do we have to establish a texting persona in order to keep the interest of our romantic interest?  Where’s the happy medium between being too standoffish or too flirty? This post is dedicated to my advice on texting at the beginning of dating someone new.

I have already established in a prior post that once you are “dating” someone on a regular basis, you should call rather than text.  However, I do agree and understand that if you’d rather stick to texting in the beginning (first couple of dates in), that is completely appropriate.  More likely than not, the person you are going on a date with is from our generation who understands our reliance on technology for communication.   I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat around in circle with my girl friends analyzing a text message, and then spending an inappropriate amount of time crafting the perfect response.   Do you use an emoticon?  How do I come across as being sarcastic or joking without using a winky-face or “lol”?  I want everyone to stop reading this for one moment and think about how much time you’ve spent doing this with your friends.  I’ll answer it for you all, TOO MUCH!

About a month ago, I was in a similar situation with some of my friends.  My girl friends and I were sitting around my living room getting ready to go out.  One of my best friends, let’s call her Katherine, was texting back and forth with a boy she had gone on a date with earlier in the week who she had met on OkCupid.   She decided that she liked him enough to want to see him again, and thought it’d be fun to have him meet up with our group that night.  You bring your friends, I’ll bring mine, kind of situation.  Katherine, who lives in a different neighborhood, was a trouper and wanted to go out with us in our neighborhood (about a 15 minute cab ride away).  Katherine’s boy in question wanted to see her, but was worried about making the “trek” to the bar we would be at (he lives in the same neighborhood as she does).  Katherine sat and pondered.  How would she respond?  She said she wanted him to come but didn’t want to come across as needy or whiny.  She also did not want to seem like she didn’t care and blow him off.  How could she send him a happy medium kind of text?  We all analyzed and gave her different options.  Fed up at our silly antics, I just told her my advice.  Text him as if you’re texting with one of your good guy friends.  It takes the pressure off, makes you seem like a normal human being, and most importantly, YOU ARE BEING YOURSELF, not some weird contrived texty version of yourself playing hard to get or overly flirtatious.  I said, well if it were me, and I was texting with a friend of mine, I’d just say something along the lines of, “You should come, it’ll be a great time.  Plus, we can always split a cab back together.”  It was honest, to the point, and he could even read into it if he wanted by splitting a cab together.  Huzzah!  Genius!  She texted him that, and low and behold, he turned up!  I think they even did split a cab together later in the night…

Anyway, my point is that texting should not be a huge deal.  It does not have to be a love letter or even a cover letter!  Say what you gotta say, and don’t worry about tone or levels of being flirty.  Being yourself is SO much more important than any of that.  Also, I hate it when people have rules about how long they will wait to respond to a text.  If you’ve been waiting for a text, you’re allowed to respond to it if you’re free!  I do not think it comes across as being overly excited, it means you’re near your phone (which let’s face it, we are ALWAYS near our phones).  If you’re busy, you’re busy!  Not a big deal.

If you get anything out of this post, it is that we all need to calm down on texting etiquette and personas.  Do you want to go back to 8th grade when you and your crush would talk on AIM all night long about your dreams and Algebra, and then ignore each other in the cafeteria?  Text for a reason, such as making plans or saying hello.  You do not need to be an altered version of yourself via texting to keep someone interested in you. Stop over-thinking it.  Be yourself, and if that’s not good enough, then they don’t deserve you!