As a woman, I feel like I unfairly discriminate against guys when it comes to texting. I am not an English major, but I do find it attractive when a guy can use proper grammar and sentence structure. Contrary to popular belief, (and based on that last sentence), I am a fun date. That said, what is acceptable when it comes to texting? I use the word “texting” to generically mean sending a message. Whether you’re using WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook Messenger or Instagram. It’s all a text in my brain.
There are words that I can’t handle people using in terms of a response. If you’re going to use one of those, please don’t respond at all. For example, I absolutely hate when someone says “indeed” after I’ve told them something. That’s all you’ve got? That’s the most intelligent thing that you can come up with? If that’s the case, you’re definitely not the man for me. While I am kind of a proper sentence structure snob, I do find that I will put up with a lot. I have also given guys the benefit of the doubt when it comes to spelling, but only when English might not be their first language. Yes – I’ve dated more than one French gentleman.
So the first thing I want to say when it comes to text etiquette is don’t send messages when you’re drunk. This definitely seems obvious, but I think we’ve all done it. I mean, who hasn’t? But here’s the problem – you won’t remember sending it until the next day. At which point, it will be too late. Not to mention, who wants to get 50 messages on their phone in the middle of the night? If you’re newly dating someone, this is definitely something you don’t want to do. What kind of impression will they get of you? Lay off the texting when you’re drunk, but you might also want to consider not drinking as much if you’re worried about texting in the first place.
Keep your text messages brief. I learned a ton about how to communicate effectively in an adult relationship over the last year or so, but this was a hard one to achieve. When you want to communicate with someone keep it two or three lines long and make sure your point is clear. We live in a busy time. Don’t burden people with having to read through your long-winded text messages. Shorter messages are also more clear in terms of getting your point across or asking a question.
Avoid being passive-aggressive. This is also a difficult one for me as my body oozes sarcasm and passive aggression is second nature to me. But it’s not attractive in a relationship. It’s extremely easy to be passive aggressive via text because, well, it just is. You would likely never say something to someone’s face that you would send in a text message. Maybe think about it that way. If you wouldn’t soberly call someone up and read them the riot act about spending time with their ailing grandmother when they said they would take you out for dinner, don’t do it via text. But that’s just my thoughts and opinions on this one.
You’re probably thinking – that’s all fine and well, but what else? Well, you shouldn’t text when you’re angry. Again, this is something that I know all too well. I’ve received plenty of messages from partners (I’m talking current as well as exes. I do not have multiple partners right now. Or do I?) where I would want to throw my phone across the room. If that’s how you’re feeling, certainly don’t respond. Even if you think you’re being straight with your response, it will come across in a passive-aggressive manner. It always does.
The big question that everyone seems to want to know the answer to is how long after you receive a message should you respond to it? I mean, honestly, this is a weird one for me. On one hand, there’s this idea that you don’t’ want to look too thirsty, but at the same time, you should also want to let them know that you’re interested. I remember when I first started talking to my current boyfriend, he wasn’t the only one on deck. If I’m being honest, I was entertaining multiple offers and trying to figure out which one (if any) I wanted to actively pursue. But in doing so, I found myself putting off responding to his messages for hours.
Let me take a step back for a moment to give you some context. I found dating to be like a part-time job. Not a day went by that I wasn’t fielding messages from a handful of guys. Maybe that makes me sound [insert adjective here]. But I don’t think we’re honest enough about this because we think it’s hurtful. Dating in a digital age means that your options are far greater. You’re not going to the bar and having guys line up to talk to you. But that’s how it translates online. The difference is – you can keep those things to yourself.
Maybe I’m oversharing with this one, but I think it’s important to understand how digital dating works in general. So in the beginning (at least when we were chatting on a dating app) it was easy to play it cool. Then we moved over to a messaging app, and things slowly started to change for us in terms of responding to messages more quickly. You’re probably thinking that I haven’t given you much information on this one. But it’s a hard one to dissect. If I waited too long to respond, maybe he would have thought I wasn’t interested? And I was. I had to be patient and let everything play out.
There is a saying “he who hesitates is lost”. Which essentially means that if you delay making a decision, it may have unfortunate consequences. What’s interesting is that if a guy waits we just assume he’s busy. But if a girl waits, suddenly she’s not interested. Part of digital dating means that we have to keep these stereotypes in mind. Waiting a short period of time to respond is ok, but I also feel like everyone knows about this rule so what does it matter? Not only that, but everyone has their phone on them 24/7 so in what planet can you not respond within an hour or two?
Texting might be one of the hardest parts of dating in a digital age. There are so many “rules” that its easy to get caught up and make a mistake. Dating should be fun. It shouldn’t be about what you can and can’t do. So my final piece of advice to you is to be yourself (and be honest). If you respond too quickly, and he thinks that’s too thirsty, then find yourself a new man. Sorry guys. The world is changing – make sure you keep up.