Of all of the dating dilemmas people come to me with, texting is at the top of the list. I have no doubt that texting etiquette and texting interpretation faux pas have tanked more budding relationships than anyone could actually count!
Here are a few rules of the road to help you navigate this minefield of modern dating:
1. Texting means different things to different people. Don’t assume.
I hear a lot of women complain about men who text instead of call. The argument goes: If he really liked me, he’d call me, not text.
The truth is: you don’t have any idea what it means to him (or her) to text you in the early stages of getting to know each other. Release your assumptions – maybe texting is something you reserve for people who are a low priority for you, but that isn’t the case for everyone.
If you’ve only been on between zero to five dates with someone, you probably don’t know them well enough to know the emotional significance of texting to them.
I text my mother way more often than I call her, and that doesn’t mean I don’t love my mom, a lot. To me, it means I prefer texting as a mode of quick and easy communication. I generally assume that other people would prefer text as well. When I’m wrong, I’m happy to adjust accordingly!
If you prefer talking on the phone to texting, that’s cool. Just be sure to communicate that to your love interest. Which brings me to my second tip.
2. State your preferences, gently.
If you really hate texting, or perhaps you spend a lot of time driving in your car and therefore you (rightly) aren’t able to text, say so!
Half of the art of relationships is communicating your wants and needs. Treat this as an exercise in learning each other’s preferences and communication styles.
To discourage someone from texting you, simply respond: “I’m not much of a texter/I’m not able to text now. But feel free to call me or I can call you later.”
If someone really wants to communicate with you, they will find a way to do that effectively. And for those who are just looking for a text buddy (these people exist!), they will disappear, which might sting in the short term, but in the long run will free you up to connect with those who have the same relationship goals as you.
Just be sure to remember that relationships require compromise. The person texting you might have a good reason for needing to do so – or they might simply have a strong preference for that mode of communication. It can’t be your way or the highway all of the time, so be prepared to meet him or her halfway.
3. If you’re complaining, stop condoning.
A common complaint I hear is from singles who hate receiving last minute texts asking to hang out. I get it – I am a fan of spontaneity, but if you’re always being treated like an afterthought or a Plan B, you just might be.
If you are making yourself available to someone who only contacts you at the last minute, you are condoning their behavior, no matter how much you complain about it!
If you want to be asked out on a real, planned-in-advance date, then hold out for the people who will do just that.
Also remember that this scenario is another opportunity to communicate your needs. You could always respond to a last-minute text invite with “I can’t tonight, but I’d love to see you with more advance planning. I’m free next ______.”
Teach others how you want to be treated. The ones who rise to the occasion are the ones worth holding on to.
4. Sexting is not for strangers unless you only want sex.
No, you’re not being a prude if you’re uncomfortable when a virtual stranger (no matter how attractive) begins getting frisky via text. It amazes me how many single women who are hoping for serious relationships get drawn into sexting with guys they’ve only just met. And these same women seem genuinely perplexed and frustrated when things never advance past the hookup phase.
If a guy likes you, yes he will want to have sex with you. If he likes you enough to potentially have a relationship with you, he won’t sext you prior to the beginning of that relationship.
The ease of texting invites a definite casualness that can lead people who would never flash their body parts to someone they barely know to taking photos of those same body parts and sending them via text. Same goes for engaging in sex talk. If you want more than a hookup and are seeking an actual relationship, cut it out!
If he (or she – I’m sure there are women out there who are guilty of this as well) does, do not respond in kind. Do not engage! If they persist, block them. You two are not on the same page and are better off parting ways.
5. The less you know someone, the more caution you should use.
This might sound like it goes without saying. But as I mentioned, I see a lot of relationship-seeking people throw caution to the wind when it comes to texting.
As you’re getting to know someone, the bulk of your communication should happen face-to-face if at all possible.
By relying on text communications with someone you are just getting to know, you are tempting gross misinterpretations. There’s the “What does he mean by ‘K’??” panic, or the “Why did she take so long to respond??” panic or the “I heard from him twice yesterday but not at all today – does that mean he doesn’t like me??” panic, to name a few.
And then there’s the “I’m so into this person who I barely know because he/she texts me 10x a day! We’re definitely almost in a relationship” delusion.
Having instant access to a person at nearly all times creates a false sense of intimacy before that intimacy is earned in the relationship. And that can take an emotional toll if and when the actual relationship never happens, or fizzles out quickly.
This becomes particularly hazardous with people you’ve connected with online but not yet met in person, or people you’ve been out with only once or twice. I hear women say things like “We were texting all day everyday until we went out Saturday and now I haven’t heard from him.” Then they feel disappointed and rejected, like they blew it somehow with someone they had already bonded with.
The only way to protect against this potentially harsh letdown is not to indulge in it in the first place. As tempting as it might be and as flattering as it feels to have someone constantly reaching out to you (and therefore thinking about you), let the relationship unfold at an emotionally safe pace.
The frequency of the communication should be proportional to where you are in getting to know each other, not 24/7 right off the bat. Where is there to go from there?
Texting can be tricky, but following these guidelines will definitely help you to minimize a good deal of the drama! Good luck and happy dating!
It’s the little things that make a big difference in a woman’s eyes. Learn these 13 rules of etiquette and transform yourself into a real gentleman.
What makes some men charming and attractive in a woman’s eyes?
He calls only when he needs something. He replies to a lady’s texts after more than a day. He doesn’t bother with getting the door for her, letting her sit first or listening to what she has to say. And to top it all off, he makes her pay for dinner on the first date and sends her off on a cab ride home.
If this is the description of how the modern man dates women, then chivalry must really be dead!
Now, some men can’t be blamed for behaving like this. It’s entirely possible that they have no idea how to be a gentleman. With so many rom-coms and TV shows depicting men in this light, there are some young men out there who don’t have the slightest idea how to treat a lady.
13 rules of etiquette for a real gentleman
Are you one of these men who don’t know what it takes to be a real gentleman? And are you looking to change up your game so you can transform from the guy a woman would never date to a modern gentleman? If the answer is yes, read on and learn how you can turn into the gentleman that women would be clamoring to go out with.
#1 Open the door for her. It simply never gets old. Yes, you’re aware that a woman is just as capable as you of opening doors. But the gesture itself is a sign that you’re willing to do this little thing for her. Not only does it show that you’re a proper gentleman, but it may also be admired for being such a polite and chivalrous guy. [Read: Is chivalry dead because men are getting lazy?]
#2 Let her sit first. Much like getting the door for her, assisting her in settling down onto a chair isn’t something you do because she needs help. It just shows that you care about her comfort and that you would put it before your own. In addition, it also gives you an excuse to be a little bit closer to her without being a creep.
#3 Take off your headgear indoors. Hats, caps and other forms of headgear were made to protect you from the elements. But what elements do you need protection from when you’re inside a house, a restaurant or a cinema? We know that fedoras, caps and do rags complete your overall look, but it’s simply not polite to keep them on when you’re indoors. No matter how bad you think your hair looks, it can’t possibly look worse than being deemed an uncouth oaf. [Read: The difference between nice guys and chivalrous guys, and why nice guys lose all the time!]
#4 Mind your basic table manners. If you don’t practice this at home when you’re eating takeout in front of the TV, make it a point to at least read about it online. The basics include not resting your elbows on the table, chewing with your mouth closed and not slurping the soup. Manners are what differentiate a gentleman from an uncivilized slob.
#5 Don’t touch other people’s things. This is pretty much a no-brainer, but so many men *and some women* seem to forget this. Let’s consider a scenario, shall we? You’re out on a date with a girl and you notice that her bag is on the table. It’s keeping you from settling your glass down onto the proper place.
Moving the bag and pushing it towards her would not only be rude, but it also shows you that you have no respect for her things. What you should do instead, is request her to please put her bag on the chair or to hang it up on those bag hooks beneath the table. Remember, you never ever have permission to touch other people’s stuff, so do what’s right and ask first. [Read: The 12 important dating rules for classy men and women]
#6 Control how many drinks you’ll have or don’t drink at all. Manners, chivalry and politeness can easily fly right out the window once you’ve had a couple of pints in you. So unless you know how to hold your alcohol well, avoid ordering that fourth beer. It will help you curb the urge to burp uncontrollably too.
In addition to this, getting drunk on a date is in very bad form. You might say or suggest things that are downright vulgar, while in your mind you’re thinking they’d make for perfectly proper date conversation. Watch what you drink and what you say or else you might get a slap in the face.
#7 Listen to what she has to say. Nothing is ruder than blatantly paying attention to other things when someone is clearly trying to talk to you. Even if your date is talking about something you find absolutely boring, make it a point to try and listen to her. If you can, try to steer the conversation towards something you would both find interesting.
This is one of the many reasons men should not ask a woman out on a date based on her looks alone. You have to have some common ground between the both of you so that you’d actually have something to bond over. [Read: The 25 biggest dating deal breakers for women]
#8 Avoid crass or vulgar humor. No one likes a person who’s socially insensitive. If you’re on a date with someone you really like, the last thing you’d want to do is offend her. So before you whip out your dick jokes *no pun intended*, try to instead make her laugh with something wittier. And don’t think for a moment that insulting other people will immediately get you a laugh from her!
#9 Keep your phone off limits while you’re on a date. Just imagine really hitting it off and having a great conversation with your date, and suddenly your phone starts ringing. Before you even enter the restaurant, you should already keep your phone on silent. Not only will its ringing disrupt your conversation, but it may also disturb other diners.
Also, resist the urge to check your phone every couple of minutes while you’re out. Even if your date is incredibly boring, what could possibly be on your phone that can’t wait until after the date? [Read: 14 charming ways to impress every kind of girl on a date!]
#10 When asking a lady out, give her a few days’ notice. Asking her out on the spot may be spontaneous, sure, and some women dig that. But if you’re looking for propriety, ask her out a few days before the intended date. Do this so that she won’t be caught off guard and so that she won’t have to cancel her plans for your sake.
#11 Call more, text less. The problem with texting is that it can sometimes feel so impersonal. There’s no tone and there are no nonverbal cues to get out of them. Whenever you need to say something important to a lady, make it a point to call her up. Not only does this convey your sincerity better, but it also shows her that you’re willing to make some time to call her.
#12 Be clear with what you want, but don’t be tactless. The coquetry of modern dating can sometimes be a problem for both men and women. Going out for lunch or coffee may be misinterpreted as a date or just “hanging out.” The woman you’re dating may find this confusing, so it’s best to tell her your intentions outright. [Read: 12 signs to know whether it’s a date or both of you just hanging out]
Don’t go around saying, “I want to sleep with you and maybe be in a relationship with you” because no one in their right mind would say that. For starters, you can say something like, “I really like your company. I’d like to ask you out on a date.” This would instantly eliminate the ambiguity of why you’re always asking for her company. It shows her what your intentions are, and allows her to make decisions based on what you just said. [Read: 12 Prince Charming traits that leave girls swooning!]
#13 Break up with her in person. If things don’t work out between you and your date, the least you can do is tell her in person. A text, a phone call, an email or even a post-it on her refrigerator is never ever acceptable unless it’s in the direst of circumstances.
She deserves to hear it straight from you so that she has the chance to respond. Ignoring her simply because you’re not into her anymore is not only completely rude, but it can be very hurtful, especially if she has already developed feelings for you.
There are many rules to being a refined gentleman, but if you can master these 13 rules of etiquette for the modern gentleman, you’ll inch your way closer to being an ideal chivalrous man in a world of ill-mannered brats!
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