Friday, December 17, 2010
Relationship Rules: Text Messaging
At first, we scoffed at this “short message service,” famously known as SMS. This new fad of text messaging was too impersonal, too informal, too slow, and not long after, too popular to ignore any longer. What was once a quick way to pass on short messages (remember our old, boxy Nokia phones with selectable options like “Lunch later?” or “Be home after work”?) has now become a forum for the infinite: Formal communication with our bosses, daring late-night messaging with that girl we met at spin class or even a quick hello to grandma, who also somehow has learned what “predictive text” is.
Especially concerning has been the role of SMS within the wide, wide walls of dating. Sure, we can make plans with our buddies or even avoid meetings with our coworkers, but when text messaging begins to dictate the finicky boundaries of love and lust, certain rules apply. A new sort of dialogue is beginning to emerge, so get it right before a text to her phone becomes a slap in the face.
The First Date
She completes your sentences and you open up about your fear of flying. Things begin to spark, and your first night together is a success. If you were lucky enough to pass the first relationship test -- the dreaded first date -- then congratulations. Now, don’t mess it up.
After parting ways from your first date, we once advised to give some time before calling her back and to be patient in making your second move. With the advent of text messaging this protocol has blurred, but don’t be fooled.
The best usage of the post-first-date text is its perceived innocence. Acceptable messages would be: “Hey, I had a great night with you. I can’t wait to do it again,” or, “Just heard someone laugh exactly like that woman we sat next to the other night, except this time she was 60 and had a German accent.” Little tidbits are reminders that you haven’t lost sight of the time you spent together, but avoid formalities that should be settled in person.
Under no circumstances should a man plan his second date with a woman through text. Things like, “Hey, can I pick you up at eight o'clock on Tuesday for a follow-up?” can be detrimental to an early couple’s dynamic. Leave second date plans, or any follow-up plans for that matter, for the traditional phone conversations we all know and love though increasingly try to avoid.
The Follow-Up Date(s)
You've made it this far, so now it's time to focus. The worst downfalls in text communication come with people that you know well enough to speak with but not well enough to pick up the phone and chat with. This dangerous median between comfort and the unknown seems to be the best opportunity for text messaging -- to get that message across without seeming too intrusive. However, even when you’re in the first stages of dating, certain rules still apply.
True-Feeling Texting: Maybe you had one too many at happy hour or just want to get your point across, but we all have a tendency to grab our phones and start thumbing at our keyboard when we want her to know exactly how we feel -- maybe we’re head over heels in love and never felt like this before, or maybe you can’t deal with the way she talks about her ex boyfriends.
No matter the quarrel, never reduce yourself to typing out the darkest of your relationship fears in a text message. Save this for face-to-face time and you’ll thank yourself for the effort since you’ll either smooth the problem over correctly or discover the unfixable flaw. If you want to tell her how much you like being with her or -- gasp -- that it might even be love, leave the written sonnets to Shakespeare and chat over dinner instead. Extremes of happiness or apprehension should be treated the same with regards to communication, so be cautious before you create more problems.
She left for Vegas with her girlfriends, but you found out her ex will be there too. Accuse her of deceiving you or be a cool new boyfriend? Problems like this are all too common in new love bonds. No matter the answer, don’t let your plan of attack be guided by your SMS inbox.
These are the sorts of fights that become too intricate to battle within the 140-character limit that diminishes genuine feelings, no matter how right or wrong you are. Even if she provokes something, just send her a simple message back. “Don’t worry, we’ll talk later” will suffice until you dig into the problem’s root face to face.
The Breakup and Beyond
Perhaps what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas, and your girlfriend’s two-day fling with an Argentinean fire breather from Circus Circus didn’t fly with you when she got back. Times are hard and this flame must be put out. Be classy about your approach.
Any breakup initiated by any text is classless. No e-mail, Facebook message or Twitter reply can adequately end ties with any woman under any circumstances. Text messages fall under the same category -- it may have been the worst relationship fathomable, but to break up with a woman through fickle means reflects poorly upon you and any future relationship you plan to have.
After you’ve mustered the courage to “just be friends,” don’t let the easy accessibility of text messaging ease you back into the relationship or even a casual fling. The familiarity of an ex is always alluring in the post-breakup state, especially when we haven’t completely moved on, but beware -- post-breakup romps initiated with a “what r u doin?” sent at 3 a.m. on a Saturday night often breed clinginess, inconvenience and awkward damage control soon after. If there is one lesson learned it’s that the convenience of a text message in the present can lead to more complications in the future.
Do the Write Thing
The message is clear: Texting is the new wave of communication whether we like it or not. We used to drunk dial and now we drunk message. We used to conference call and now we mass text. The booty call has been replaced by the booty text(s), and we are more apt to trash-talk during fantasy football with our typing fingers rather than our big mouths. Showing off our literacy has never been so popular, but don’t flush your love life down the toilet by showing that you’re uneducated within the realm of texting.
This article was taken from askmen.com.