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Some simple rules you should know about text messaging and online dating

by Juliet O

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 states 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 messages 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 on Zoosk? Here’s some textiquette guidelines, tailored from an online dating perspective.

We 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 initial 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, and are NO substitute for hearing someone’s voice for the first time, or for having a real, substantial phone interaction.

Whoa, slow your thumbs quick draw, and wait patiently for a response.

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?” “Hello?” “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 what we call “textorrhea”. Plus stalking.

Don’t be a Textasaurus Rex — aggression isn’t appreciated!

Guys and gals, do not be super aggressive when texting, particularly if its sexual aggression. It’s not okay to send explicit texts UNLESS you’ve spoken clearly about this before with the person that you are seeing and have established the parameters. Your date is not a poor defenseless prey that you can pounce upon like some scary fanged predator armed with a phone.

Drunk + Texting = FAIL.

“HJey, arf youu awkae?” is not an appropriate text to send someone at 3AM after you’ve had a few too many vodka sodas. You can ruin a good thing by drunk texting, so the best option, if you turn into a crazy texting machine after you’ve input too much booze, 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 is NOT it. Texting is not that difficult. You aren’t asked to compose a dissertation on metaphysics. Use grammar. Please. And proper sentence structure. At least try to speak the Queen’s English.

:) :P :/ ^_^ = 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 good and well in moderation, but it can be really easy to go overboard with them, and 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 3 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.

If you’re going to booty call, at least have the consideration to CALL.

Booty calls are bad enough, but when you start booty texting “hi sexy, wanna come over?” you know you’ve REALLY reached a low point in your life. Just don’t do it. If you still refuse to listen to me, and absolutely cannot abstain from the loathsome habit of booty calling, at least have the decency to booty CALL, not booty TEXT. As gross as an actual 2AM call with the intent of hooking up is, a 2AM text is even worse.

Stalking via texting is a no no.

I don’t really need to get into this. Stalking is gross, and it is also illegal. Don’t stalk via text. “Where are you?” and “Why aren’t you responding?” sent 20 times in succession can lead to a restraining order.

DO wait in between texts.

Come on. Play hard to get, at least a little! Wait 20 or 30 minutes before firing off a response text message. You are busy and important. Now, repeat after me, “I am 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 SFW (safe for work) at first. Feel around and get a sense of where your partner stands, before treading into kinkier waters.

DO send text pictures. Just DON’T expose your body parts in them.

Depending on your cellular plan, you might be able to send and receive 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. However, do NOT send people pictures of your body parts. 1) You can’t trust people not to upload that stuff onto the internet, not in this day and age. And 2) even if the person doesn’t upload your nude photos online, they will certainly, at the very least, show all their friends. Unless you want your exposed nether region shown to a room full of laughing people, keep what’s in your pants, in your pants, and away from flashing cameras.

photo credit: magic_quote

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