A Dummy’s Guide to Modern Dating & Texting Etiquette


Text messaging did an interesting thing to relationships in the early 2000s. It took a lot of the guess work – and terror – out of pre-dating conversation and strapped it with training wheels. But before that?

In the good ole’ days – the ’90s – people actually had to dial the phone and – gasp – carry on a conversation in the midst of their dating journey. Sound awful? It was worse in the ’80s. Back then, they used rotary phones and had to spin their fingers to dial an entire number. The horror! What if they forgot what they were going to say after their fingers started bleeding?

Nevertheless, a solution came in the 2000s with the advent of text messaging. Finally, a method of communication that would give us adequate time to say what we wanted, the way we wanted to say it. Was it good?

Sure it was; it was beautiful. Like seeing a unicorn wipe away a baby’s tears on top of a rainbow.

That is until you consider that for several years, these folks lived in an era where there was no such thing as emoticons. No. Emo. Ti. Con. S.

Well, it’s 2012 and guess what? Text messaging is at it’s absolute peak. We do have emoticons, picture messaging, video messaging, and plenty of acronyms to fill in for the things we’re too lazy to spell out. But questions remain:

How soon should I text after a date? How soon should I text after I get her number? How quickly should I respond to a text after I receive a reply? After all, you want to seem interested, not desperate. If she thinks you’re desperate, then she might not even respond to your next text. Yikes! And which emoticon should I use – wait, are we far enough along to use emoticons? Should I ever use an emoticon? How about an exclamation point – I want to show her that I’m excited. But what if she thinks I’m yelling and reads it as “I HAD A GREAT TIME!” She’ll think I’m being sarcastic. Won’t she? I’m think I’m gonna pass out.

Not to worry! Here are five tips for texting and dating.

1. There’s no ‘right time’ to text. If you’re freaking out over what may or may not be the appropriate time to text someone, then you need a Xanax and a trip to the therapist. It’s a text message; not a marriage proposal. If you like the girl and she likes you back, she’ll just be happy that you texted. And if she doesn’t? Well, the timing of your text won’t change that, either. She won’t be interested in you one moment, then receive a text message at the wrong time and say “On second thought, I guess we won’t be getting married.”

2. Text at your convenience. If you can respond to a text as soon as you receive it, then go for it. And if you can’t? Then don’t. Earth-shattering news, right? Again, pretending to do something just for the sake of playing it cool isn’t a cool move at all. She might not know that you waited, but if your ego needs to be stroked by your self-granted sense of control over your ‘texting relationship,’ then you might want to evaluate what it is that you’re actually looking for in a relationship.

3. Avoid exclamation overkill. Enthusiasm is a beautiful thing, and an occasional exclamation point will carry that sentiment home. But if you’re putting an exclamation point at the end of every line of text, you’ll come across as insincere – or creepily happy. The lesson? Don’t overdo it.

4. Emoticons and manliness. Every guy is different. Some of us are the stereotypically gruff, reserved characters portrayed on Brawny paper towel packages. Others are more communicative and outwardly amiable – like Mario Lopez, or Ryan Gosling with the soul of a Saint Bernard. What’s my point? Some guys can get away with emoticons, and some can’t. Not because they’ll be judged one way or the other, but because it’s inconsistent with their personality. In short, if you’re being insincere with someone who knows you, they might pick up on changes in your behavior. If the suit – err, emoticon – fits, wear it. If not? Keep it classic.

5. Spell out as many words as possible. You’re not 13; you can take the time necessary to write out your words. Get your grown man on and complete a sentence now and then without ‘wut up’ or ‘u2’ in it. When your parents were dating, your father had to call your mom on a rotary phone. In the time it took him to dial the number, you could complete an entire text message with all of the words spelled out. You can even make sure they’re spelled correctly.

So there you have it; five tips for texting while dating. Am I aware that I just broke down the minutaie of text messaging etiquette? Yes. I’m horribly self-aware and I’ll now enter a temporary period of self-loathing.

Sue me.

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David Berry is a Miami-based copywriter who has delivered writing solutions for a wide set of clients with a diverse range of needs. From books (fiction and non-fiction) to blogs, feature stories and everything else in between, he’s written for restaurants and retail clients, hotel chains, cosmetics companies, universities and more, as well as magazines, Fortune 500 companies and numerous entrepreneurs.

Berry has an MBA from Florida International University and draws passion for his craft from a wide base of interests, as he’s also a NASM certified personal trainer, former stand-up comedian, and volunteer, having won Miami Children’s Hospital’s 2011 Volunteer of the Year award while raising more than $100,000 for the hospital’s Radio Lollipop program.

Get in touch with him on Facebook and Twitter, or email him at iamdavidberry@yahoo.com.

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