I have been hearing a lot about the downside of texting during the dating phase, both offline from friends, and online from those Thought Catalog articles. Some are even so extreme in a way that they are calling an end to texting, saying that the very essence of texting ruins the dynamic or dating. And they are those who say that texting adds no value whatsoever to dating. The good ol' face to face communication trumps everything, the believe.
As someone who dated before, I believe strongly that texting is not all that bad. Of course I don't claim to be a texting expert, and I believe that everyone has their own style and preferences when it's come to dating. I just happened to state mine here, in which I think that texting, rather than making dating difficult, adds on to the whole magic of dating. Heck, I even believe that every couple should experience the texting stage before they can even legitimately call themselves a couple.
Why, you ask? Well, forgive me if I'm wrong, but I believe that the main purpose of dating, if not the only purpose, is to find someone to settle down with. Of course, if you think that dating is just to find some pants to get into, then you can ignore this article and go back to text hating, because I do agree that texting impedes how fast you can get laid. But if you're not, I think that texting offers a wonderful avenue in which you can find out more about the person you are dating.
There are several reasons why I think so, and I'm gonna start by addressing the several top complaints that people have about texting.
1. Texting negates most of human communication
"Oh no, there's nothing to texting other than only text!"
If there is anything that people hate most about texting, is it's lack of the non-verbal cues that we would usually get from face to face communication. The exchange of eye contact, the polite laughs, the way we gesture, our tone of voice and even slight physical touch, if we're lucky. Texting takes away all this, and gives you words to read. Only words. All the magic is gone. And if you're someone who hates reading, this is definitely going to be hell.
While I do agree that texting take away the features that we would usually associate with "normal" communication, I do believe that by forcing you to rely only on text to communicate, it is more "real" in a way. Because I think that in face to face (I'll just F2F to refer to face to face subsequently, cause I'm lazy like that) communication, one can always cheat with your good looks or other non-verbal cues. Like it or not, having a charming smile can negate a lot of bad communication styles in F2F conversations. I mean who cares if the girl constantly talks about herself when she has such a revealing cleavage, right? It's called the halo effect, in case you need a scientific word for it.
Texting, in this way, eliminates the non-verbal assistance from communication. One has to instead rely on on common topics, writing style and shared interest to sustain a conversation in texting. And I think this is an excellent way to see whether if both your personalities are compatible. Chances are that if you can text on and on with each other, you would talk on and on with each other too when you do meet up F2F. And personally, I think that when it comes to long lasting relationships, it's having common topics and a shared personality that counts.
2. Texting takes FOREVER!
Another part of texting that people hate so much is that it takes forever. That as compared to F2F interaction, the replies are much slower and sometimes we even have to wait for replies. And we know how much we hate waiting right?
*Buzzer sounds* Wrong.
I personally find this reason for hating texting laughable, because it shows how used we are to the culture of instant self-gratification until we no longer knows how to wait, even for a reply. We live in a time where all our needs have to be met instantly and if we are forced to wait, we throw this one big tantrum that we are getting ignored or texting is bad. We often forgot that other person has a life too, and he/she may not be constantly glued to their phones. I often say that if the other person is keen to reply, he/she will do so.
I think that this raises a red flag all by itself. I mean if you can't wait even for single text message, how are you going to wait for the bigger things in life?
3. Texting is too easy to ignore
Another thing that gets people annoyed about texting is that it's all too easy to ignore. As a guy, I can't begin to agree to how this true this point is. You may be texting happily with a person and suddenly he/she just stopped replying. Completely. Without saying a word of where he/she is going and you'll be left there wondering alone what on earth did you said wrong.
I used to get worked up on this last time, but over the years I realized that you can't just force something that you want. I mean if the other person is important to you, you could always drop another message a few hours later or the next day to see how they're doing. Or if you're really desperate (which is not a good trait to show, people usually run away at the first indication of desperation), you could always resort to calling and meeting F2F, and perhaps let your good looks take over the job.
But if nothing works out, take the hint, and walk away. Sometimes things are just not meant to be in life, and it's always good to know when to walk away.
With everything being said, however, I am not advocating that texting should be the only form of communication used when you're dating. The extreme of anything is never good, after all. Rather what I'm trying to say is that texting could be a good initial phase in dating where everyone needs to go through. I personally have this "texting test" for girls that I'm looking to date, where I see how we fare in texting each other before deciding to meet up. Like a filter, if you may say. The reasons are simple:
1. Texting offers a glimpse into someone's personality
Like I mentioned earlier, texting allows one to take a peek into someone's personality without all the noise coming in from non-verbal cues and without having to go for a personality test either. Yes, I call non-verbal communication noise, because it affects how we see a person objectively. From the things the person say to how the person reacts during texting, all of them offers clues as in how the person is in real life.
It's a good initial filter too to get a rough idea of someone before deciding to commit more. I mean if a guy constantly hounds you asking why haven't you reply, or if a girl complains non-stop about her previous boyfriend, that should probably raise some red flags as to how this person would act after things get serious.
2. Texting is a good indication of compatibility
Aside from punching words into your phone, texting takes a whole load of different aspects from a person into account. From the period you take to reply, to depth of your replies to the level of English you use, everyone has their own texting style. I believe that each individual's texting style reflects a part of their personality, and when it comes to texting, you must have compatible texting style to be able to continue on a conversation in text. Be it your reply time to how you construct your sentence, I believe all of us have experience text messages that we simply do not know how to reply to before.
And if all of your texting exchanges are ending awkwardly, chances are that your F2F meetup wouldn't go well in the long run as well. Or if you find yourself constantly getting annoyed with your date partner's texting style,
At the end of the day, I think that texting is no different from the ye olde times when we are exchanging love letters with our faraway lovers. I mean if the people of the olden days can do it, and be so happy whenever they receive a letter, why are we complaining so much about having to text?