Back in "The Olden Days"
For those of you too young to remember the pre-web, pre-smartphone era, it used to be that if you wanted to ask a woman out, you'd have to get her phone number and call her. No hiding behind the witty barbs of text messaging, or the measured, non-real-time exchange of emails on OkCupid or Gmail, but the nervous fingers dialing those precious digits she scribbled on the back of a napkin, a scrap of paper, or your Chemistry 201 folder.
"Uh hi, uh—Cindy? This is José. We met at the U2 concert?"*
Of course, this still happens, but many of us retreat to the safe and emotion-free world of text-based communication.
Texting is also ruining your dating life
Yes, you read that right. Since texting has become a common way to communicate, it's quite likely that women you date will expect it. There's nothing wrong with that—texting is a great way to stay in touch. But mismatched expectations about how often you text and how quickly you respond can create all sorts of anxiety. For example, if someone you're dating is used to exchanging five or ten texts about nothing in particular each day, and you don't text unless you have something important to say, she may read your behavior as "not interested," when you're just going about your normal day. In the absence of a strong need for immediate information (If you're running late, if you're picking up dinner), pressure to respond to texts creates needless drama.
Too close for comfort
Sometimes the drama-prone will use text exchanges as a way to keep track of a romantic partner, to see if they are where they said they'd be. This creates a feeling that you have to respond; that your time is not your own; that your partner doesn't trust you. Part of being a well adjusted adult is doing your own thing. You should not be constantly worried about checking in with a partner. Unless you've made a previous committment to be somewhere, your time is your own.
What to say
If you're feeling stifled by the need to constantly text, it's time to reestablish expectations with the person you're dating. Explain, confidently and without anger, your feelings about texting. Make sure she understands that you value communication, that you're not avoiding her, but that you don't feel the need to text so often. You can also emphasize that the time you spend together is where real, valuable communication happens, not in 140-character bursts.
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* I don't recommend up-talk, but I'll save that for a later post.