Texting used to be seen as a form of quick communication, often used to establish a meeting point, or in my case, to tell my friend there is traffic, while I sit on my bed naked. However, with the rise of dating sites like Tinder and Bumble, texting has become the primary communication of dating, and I’m not so sure it’s a good thing. Ok, fine, it’s a fucking horrible thing, and I’ll tell you why: Texting is a very problematic way to get to know a person. First of all, there is a ton of pressure to be funny, smart and relatable. You have to try to fit your best attributes in a sentence or two. Well not two, because you can only type one line at a time. You have to keep the ratio of 1:1; otherwise, even if you think your texts are hilarious, you still risk looking too eager.
Texts have the potential to be easily misinterpreted. Your idea of sarcasm can be seen as rude, and can come off hurtful. Intonation and body language clearly indicate how a person feels, but without it, your witty comment can make you seem ignorant, arrogant, and/or both. Personally, I lessen the potential aspect of this by ending everything I say in a text with a “lol”. Lol, It may be annoying AF to the reader but it permits me to have the “it was a joke” get of jail card at any time, just in case.
And then there is the stress of the “appropriate” time to respond. Answer too quickly and you risk seeming tragic, take too long to respond and you seem like a dick. With most people taking the standard approach of waiting to answer, one may naturally wonder the legitimacy of the delay. Is he/she busy? Deliberately taking the time to not answer? Or simply not interested. Being the "late texter" also poses numerous problems. Believe me, I know. I read most texts out loud, answer in my head and then get distracted. So when I finally get around to answer, I usually don't lol. But, if I happen to run into you, I quickly compose the "I'm really sorry blablabla" reply and hope you forgive me.
There is also no beginning or end when it comes to texting. How do you decide when a conversation begins or ends, when it doesn’t start with a clear hello or a goodbye? When do you change topics? If responding two days later, can you resume the topic of conversation or do you just start over? How late in the day can you text someone before they assume you are drinking? Is “drunk texting” flattering or annoying? How early in the relationship can you text someone the old “this reminded me of you?” text (These questions spilled out of me way too easily, which is quite worrisome, but also proves my point.)
As demonstrated above, texting leads to validation and confusion all at once. As our dating culture becomes dependent on dating websites, so does our need for instant gratification, and development of relationships through our phone. Most of us text potential interests because we want to get to know them, but, with the easy accessibility to multiple people at once, we do it for plenty of other reasons as well. Self-esteem seems to be at the top of the reasons list. We flirt via text to feel good about ourselves, because let's face it, receiving validation from various strangers is an ultimate ego-boost. Forget self- help literature, sign up for a dating account and you are bound to hear someone tell you how great you (and you’ll receive an unsolicited dick pic or two).
This behavior is something men are more guilty of than women ( and I don't just mean the pictures of genitals, although that goes without saying). Women tend to text to bond, meanwhile men often text just to elevate their ego. I have now met multiple boys (boys is a “deliberate” choice of word here) who claim to have multiple women who they “talk to” but have never met up with. And what’s even more unsettling? They have little interest in doing so. This phenomenon is completely mind-boggling to me. Why on earth would you want to know what Susie is doing, when you have zero interest of inviting Susie out? Why send Susie pictures of your pupper sleeping on you arm? Why???
The answer is simple: it’s a confidence boost. That person just wants to feel better about their shitty mundane day, and you have become their regular “pick me-up”. There is also the case of the guy that you went on a few dates with, who has never asked you out again, but proceeds to text you anyway. Apparently that fella has decided “you’re not the one” but that you will do, in the meantime. After all, you offer emotional support, flirtation, and you make the time go by a little quicker. You are basically an emotional hand job.
Women, however, make up a large percentage of the “bored” (sometimes drunk) texter. (Guilty!). We do it for excitement! We text when we need some stimulation, and dog memes no longer make the cut. This texting stems from monotony and can lead to a feeling of adoration or anxiety. You probably wouldn't bother texting this person when you are out or busy, but after that second glass of wine (you know you shouldn’t have had), you start thinking “why the hell not?”
Which leads me the discussion of power. It’s all about that power, about that power, no treble. Ok fine, I’ll stick to the matter at hand, but I hope you at least sang along. Texting is vulnerable act. When you reach out to someone you risk being ignored, and with that sensibility you lose some leverage. Texting is an ultimate power struggle; and at this point, all men and women are privy to that information. Seeing the name of the person you’ve been waiting for a reply from (or the number, because you’ve deleted his contact numerous times, because he is a piece of shit) leaves you feeling like you are on top of the world; conversely, not hearing back leads to a lot of anxiety and unanswered questions. And that shitty feeling blows! There is nothing worse than the notion of uncertainty and yet, the social norm of texting forces us to come to terms with not knowing why.
A lot of times we find ourselves caring about a person more than we thought, simply because the relationship is built from control and power. I can’t imagine being “ghosted” (mostly because I’m crazy and I will convince myself that I ended the relationship and can easily revive it if I wanted to). Don’t judge me. The anxiety that comes with not hearing from someone you like is enough to drive you, and all of your friends (who you ask for help to decode every word) insane. You can eliminate this by sticking to mostly physical interaction. Or you can be like me, and have zero self- control, and continue to text despite all of the warnings.
Texting is not an easy thing to avoid. It is not easy to not get attached and thus, hurt. With the culture of over exposure of our daily lives on social media, people are more likely to develop “personal” relationships with many people, so a meaningful exchange to you, may be “just this girl I text” to someone else. I see people all around me on different spectrums of this scale, and I sympathize with all sides. On one hand, it seems silly to be hung up on someone you’ve only met once (and texted a lot, obvi), but on the other hand, texting someone constantly allows that person to make a subconscious imprint on your life, whether you like it or not. So do not fall prey to this phenomenon, and avoid texting too much early on, unless you're making plans to meet.
Most great relationships are built with people who you have a lot of face-to-face interactions with. That is how you get to know all of the quirks and the weird qualities that let you fall in love with that person.
Texting is fun, and is a great tool when used in tandem with real life dating. And, although, great for drunk dirty talk with your lover, it can still lead to a lot of miscommunication, anxiety and overall heart-break. So attempt to physically see your crush early on! As your mom said, "if someone wants to see you they will make the time to do so". No one is ever busy enough to not reply or tell you that they are busy, at least. And if you don’t hear back, in the words of my LEAST favorite book, “He’s just not that into you”.
>>> Disclaimer- The reason I dislike this book so much is because it commemorates sexism. Like, why does the male get to call all the shots, and decide he isn’t fucking interested? Bitch, I’m not interested in you either! Ok? Boy, bye.