10 Simple Rules about Text Messaging and Online Dating

While text messaging is generally seen as pretty unromantic, it can actually be a very useful dating tool. A self-identified text message addict, I believe that, when done right, text messages are actually useful in the beginning stages of building a relationship. Think about it, texting allows you to have a constant stream of communication with an individual that you are seeing—not as an alternative, but rather an addition, to calling—an added-value to traditional phone conversation.

Specifically, I love getting text messages from people just to say good morning or good night. A basic How are you or a How is your day text message is a nice, welcome interruption in the middle of a day. Sometimes, the simplest text message can seem the most romantic. Something as seemingly mundane as an I’m thinking about you text message can be an incredibly sweet gesture, and when used correctly, a well-crafted text message can put butterflies in your sweetie’s stomach and stars in their eyes.

So what are some basic rules to follow by, when exchanging text messages with someone you meet online? Here’s some guidelines about text messaging and online dating:

Consider texting to be second base.
Don’t run to second base until you’ve passed first. What’s first base? First base is the first phone call. Don’t let your first phone interaction with someone be based on texting. That’s just lazy. Texts are great in addition to calling, but not as a replacement for calling. There’s no substitute for hearing someone’s voice for the first time, or for having a real, substantial phone interaction.

Whoa, slow those thumbs down.
One of the worst things you can do when texting is to send a string of messages in succession, before getting a response.

Hey what’s up?


Where are you?

What’s up?


You there?

Um, slow down crazy! She was just at the gym, and she gets back to the locker room, opens her phone to check her messages, and sees 15 messages from you in the span of an hour asking what she’s up to? Yeah. That’s no good.

Don’t be aggressive.
Guys and gals, do not be super aggressive when texting, particularly if it’s sexual aggression. It’s not OK to send explicit texts unless you’ve spoken clearly about this before with the person and have established the parameters.

Drunk + Texting = FAIL
HJey, arf youu awkae? is not an appropriate text to send someone at 3:00 a.m. after you’ve had a few too many vodka sodas. You can ruin a good thing by drunk texting, so the best option is to simply give a trusted friend your phone and tell said friend to, at any cost, keep that phone out of your hands.

Wot RU up 2 UR HOT!! xoxo = Vomit
You might have a personal dictionary, inside which language is subjected to the abuses of your imagination, but there really is a proper way to spell things, and abbreviated emoticons are not it. Texting is not that difficult. You aren’t asked to compose a dissertation on metaphysics. 

:) 😉 :/ ^_^ = Use in moderation.
I like emoticons. But I start to question people when every single text they send me ends in a smiley face. C’mon. Emoticons are all well and good in moderation, but it can be really easy to go overboard with them. Coming across like a 12 year old is not an attractive quality in adults.

Texts are short. Please check your spelling. It’s not that hard.
The least you can do, in a text message that probably spans the course of three sentences, is check your spelling. It’s not like you’re being asked to proofread someone’s novel. If it takes 20 seconds to make sure you spelled the conjunction of you are as you’re and not your then I’d say it’s worth it.

DO wait in between texts.
I know it’s tempting but play hard to get, at least a little! Wait 20 or 30 minutes before firing off a response text message. Remember, you are busy and important.

DO give people plenty of time to respond.
Give people time to respond before shooting off a text piggybacking off your first text. Who knows? Maybe this person is somewhere they can’t get reception, or they’re at the gym, or they’re in a submarine at the bottom of the ocean for a day. In any case, you need to be patient and wait for them to respond. Why? Because adults have patience. And you are an adult.

DO send flirty texts.
Text flirting is great! But in text flirting, try to keep the subject PG, at least at first. If you’re into “sexting” make sure you establish with your date that they are okay with dirty texts before you start sending them stuff that might send them running for the hills. Keep banter light, friendly, and strictly safe for work at first. 

DO send text pictures.
I love getting sent pictures via text. I often send my friends random photos—of food I’ve ordered at restaurants, funny signs, cute clothes in a window display, or whatever I happen to be passing by at the moment that might be of interest. These are great pictures to send via text, especially to someone you’re dating to instigate a heavy flirt session. 

Texting can be a great way to flirt, get to know someone better, and feel intimate even though you’re busy going about your day. Take advantage of the benefits texting has to offer. You never know where your next text could lead!