In this day and age you maybe wondering why I would recommend limiting text messages during the early stages of dating someone. To give you some context, in my professional life I have a significant amount of experience providing psychotherapy to patients and many of whom were having relational or dating difficulties as one of the main reasons they were seeing me. I cannot count how many times I would hear from patients about arguments or assumptions being made causing friction in relationships due to texting. In my own personal life, I’ve also experienced this dynamic when I’ve dated people and wondered why they didn’t get back to me regarding a text I sent for several hours or get stressed out because I misinterpreted something that they wrote to me and it was simply not helpful. There is definitely a time and a place for texting however I will go over a few reasons why it would be wise to use texting in a more effective manner when dating.
1. Texting leaves a lot of room for assumptions. Imagine going on a first date with the woman that you’re quickly developing a strong crush on. You go ahead and text her a flirty text message and telling her you want to see her again and you don’t hear from her the rest of the day. Now, imagine what starts going through your head. Your thoughts may range from ,”why isn’t she texting me?,” or,”she must not be interested in me.” Now depending on what direction your thought process goes you can end up being sad, angry, or disappointed but what do you actually know at this point? All you really know is that you sent this person a text and you have absolutely no idea why that other person is not responding. I’ve seen this happen so many times, and in a lapse of anger or insecurity you may end up sending a rude follow-up text that really isn’t helpful. All the while, this other person may simply be busy at work, out with friends, or not big on texting and it has nothing to do with you unless you’re able to get more information. I used to recommend to patients to try to catch themselves when they’re making assumptions versus going off of what they actually know. Unfortunately, in my opinion texting as a form of communication leaves the most room for misinterpretation and assumptions.
2. To follow up on misinterpretations, ever have somebody respond to a joke you made poorly? This simply didn’t get it or they didn’t know you meant it to be funny and got offended? Well, texting because there is no face-to-face or voice involved, leaves a greater chance for something that you text to be misinterpreted and that is the last thing you want to happen during the beginning phase of dating.
3. In my opinion the best form of communication is face-to-face because you can read body language, you can talk things out and there is less room for misinterpretation or assumptions. Talking on the phone is better than texting and not as good as face-to-face due to not being able to read another person’s body language. However, for a more serious conversation I would definitely recommend face-to-face or phone versus having a lengthy text message conversation about something of significance.
4. There is a time and place for texting in dating life. If you meet somebody off of a dating site/app of course you will be texting and screening each other out before agreeing to a date. I would recommend going through the general screening out questions then get to the point and set up an in-person date quickly and from that point just wait until you two meet in person. Also, texting simple things like wishing someone a good day or telling them that you’re thinking about them without expecting an immediate response and confirming times to meet or a place to meet are pretty simple things where texting is very convenient and useful.
I would strongly recommend not getting into serious discussions over texting especially in the early stages of dating. Once you two are in a committed relationship it’s really up to you and your significant other on how you want to use texting. Just remember, I used to have plenty of people end up in my office for psychotherapy due to relational issues that were intensified due to arguments that started off as text conversations which would’ve been much more easily handled if they simply talked about more significant things in person instead of through text. So take that for what it’s worth. Until next time, Best of luck.