A few years ago, I set up a couple of friends. They seemed like a good fit, and there was chemistry on their first date. But there was never a second date.
Why? Because after the first date, they started texting.
Miscommunications abounded, they read into what each had written, and things said nonchalantly became incredibly serious. All of a sudden, when I spoke to each of them, I realized that when things began to fall apart they had never made the effort to pick up the phone and clarify where it had all gone wrong.
Texting is poison for relationships. As someone who dated my husband long distance, I know how tempting it is to want to feel connected at all times, especially when you're far apart. But funnily enough, our texting usually centered on making plans to talk on the phone or to meet up in person. When texting is used as your main medium of communication, especially at the beginning, about a billion things can go wrong.
It’s Easy To Misread Everything
When you've first met someone, and even after you've been in a relationship for a while, you don't always know what the subtext of a text is. Take this example: "I don't know what you mean." How did you hear that in your head? Was it a genuine question, or was it laced with sarcasm? It’s easy to read whole worlds of meaning into something that was completely innocuous.
You're lacking all of the major components of a conversation: facial expression, tone of voice, and body language.
If you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you can ask your partner to clarify. But miscommunications are so easy when you barely know a person and all you have to go on are the words in front of you. You're lacking all of the major components of a conversation: facial expression, tone of voice, and body language. These visual and auditory clues give us a context in which to understand the other person’s words, but with texting, you’re left without that context. And all of a sudden, that cute conversation that started off flirtatiously becomes something you hold over someone's head for no reason at all.
The Amount of Time between Answers Is a Huge Issue
1. It's unsocial and impolite.
If you were in the middle of a conversation in real life and your friend were to walk away with no warning and return two hours later to pick up where you left off, how would you respond? Probably not well. But that’s perfectly acceptable in the world of texting.
2. It can breed bad feelings.
Imagine that you’re having a fun conversation with someone via text when all of a sudden he signs off. Two hours later, you get a response. You're excited that the flirtation is picking up where you left off, but you've been waiting for two hours, checking your phone every two minutes to see if he wrote back. So you sort of resent him. Then you calculate when you'll do the same to him. "He didn't text back for two hours? I won't respond for two hours and 20 minutes!" In what way is that natural, or kind? And now you've built up resentment toward a person who you've barely gotten the chance to know.
You've built up resentment toward a person who you've barely gotten the chance to know.
3. You have too much time to think of your responses.
You said something funny, and he wants to respond with witty banter. Well, now he has thirty minutes to think of something. Would he have that time in real life? Of course not. You’re communicating with the edited version of a person when he has time to think of the best response. It's not real, and yet we've decided it's perfectly normal.
Being Charming over Text Is So Easy
It’s SO easy to be charming over text. All your crush has to do is end a text with a little heart, and you think he's fallen head over heels for you. It’s so much easier to write something cute in a text than it is to say it to someone's face.
And if he can't say it your face, when you can see his facial expression and body language and hear his tone of voice, then you don't have any clear idea what he's really feeling. He has all this time to craft the perfect response to you, and he has a million emojis to make his words come across as more meaningful than they really are.
He Should Want To Meet You in Person
Let’s say you’ve been texting a guy on a dating app for a while, but he still hasn’t asked you out. You’re waiting for him to take you to dinner or a movie or even to go bowling, but nada. Instead, you’re continuing your flirtatious texting with no strings attached.
Don’t allow yourself to invest in a relationship that never had any potential because you never saw each other face-to-face.
If a guy isn’t moving from texting to an in-person meeting, you have to ask yourself – why? Is he just using texting to get out his flirtatious energy? Does he have something to hide? Don’t allow yourself to be led on and get invested in a relationship that never had any actual potential. Texting isn’t a relationship, but it’s so easy to get drawn in and create an emotional connection with no basis for a future.
But all of this is now taken for granted. Texting is just a part of the fun, and it's nice to have someone always on the other end of the phone, like two paper cups connected with a string. So here's my suggestion: Don't fall into the trap of texting. Meet your date in person and get to know him for real.
Abby Roth is the creator of Classically Abby, a commentary, opera, beauty, and lifestyle brand dedicated to looking at the world from a classic perspective. Abby is an opera singer with three degrees in operatic performance from USC and Manhattan School of Music. You can find her website at www.classicallyabby.com and follow her on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest at @ClassicallyAbby.