You give good text and are proud of it. Often finding yourself heavy texting with a crush or brand new love interest, you delight in the back-and-forth repartee, the dings announcing his new message, the way that crafting witty responses keeps your brain sharp and you on your toes. When you talk to your friends, they complain that the men they’re dating text too much. “It’s not even real communication!” they exclaim. “Why don’t they ever just pick up the f**king phone and call?!” But not you. You’re happy to stick to texts for as long as possible. Far from being daunted by a guy who never picks up the phone, you’ll dodge his calls and let him go straight to voicemail so you can text him back.
If this sounds like you, you could be flirting with disaster. While it’s fun, and even sometimes downright dirty to be a master texter, it could put you at risk for these dating pitfalls, especially early on in a relationship. So let your fingers do the talking if you must, but proceed with caution.
1. Too Much Titillation. Having a new guy in your life is exciting to begin with. But add impassioned back-and-forth texting to the mix and it could be too exciting. Bored at work, you hear that longed for beep of a new message and practically jump out of your seat. Please let it be him, please let it be him! you pray, manically rummaging through your bag and finally locating your phone. IT’S HIM! You quickly dash off a reply and then stare at your phone, eagerly waiting for him to respond. When he does, you’re so giddy you want to burst into a happy dance, but decide not to because your co-worker is giving you the stank eye. This kind of excitement, particularly as you are just getting to know someone, sets you up for spikes of extreme highs and lows. Being catapulted to such heights of bliss by texts from this guy means there’s nowhere to go but down. The relationships that have the greatest chance of deepening and lasting are those that are more even-keeled and not characterized by such dramatic ups and downs.
2. Time Delay Disappointment. The flip-side of texting titillation, waiting for a response that doesn’t always come immediately, can knock you right off cloud nine. In real life, when you’re flirting with a guy you get instant gratification; you say something cute, and he looks at you like he wants to rip your clothes off. In text life, you could write the most adorably flirtatious message, and get nothing back but crickets. This guy may still want to rip your clothes off, but you won’t know for hours or even days until he graces you with a reply. During this waiting period, your mind has the opportunity to spiral out into thoughts such as, He met someone else, He doesn’t want to date me anymore, I’ll never hear from him again, and I’m a pathetic loser and no one will ever love me EVER!!! Even if the only reason you haven’t heard back is because he doesn’t have his phone on him while he’s at the gym or he’s busy telling his best friend how crazy he is about you. The purpose of flirting is to feel sexy, not rejected, but flirtatious texting has a precarious stop-start rhythm that can more often lead to the latter.
3. Fast Track To Fantasy Land. Another hallmark of a healthy relationship is staying out of fantasy and grounded in reality. Flirty texting is like taking the express train to Fantasy Land. Both you and the object of your affection get to be the best, wittiest, most articulate versions of yourselves over text. Taking your time to compose the perfect response, you can be as sexy and confident as you want to be, when in real life you might awkwardly stumble over your words, trip on your shoelace, and/or turn red with embarrassment.Not only can you be flawless via text, but he can quickly become your fantasy man. Since messages are generally pretty short, there’s so much left unsaid that you can fill in with your imagination. Mining for subtext, it’s easy to pretend that things are a lot more serious than they really are and get ahead of yourself and out of touch with where this relationship actually stands.
4. False Sense Of Intimacy. Engaging in flirty text conversations that last well into the night, you feel intensely close this guy. Volleying back and forth about everything from the minutia of your day to your most cherished hopes and dreams, it seems like he’s your boyfriend even though you just started dating. This cozy yumminess is deceptive though, because he’s not your boyfriend and you only met him last week. In the moment, a 150-character text can seem like an intimate way to connect, but texting is one of the least effective modes for fostering true intimacy; phone is better and in person communication is best. Exchanging personal messages can make you feel like you’re really getting to know this person, but if you added up your texting time it might come out to just five to ten minutes of time spent “together” that day. Real intimacy is three-dimensional and can only be cultivated beyond a screen and through actual interactions.
5. Overexposure. If you are intent on pushing the boundaries of your flirty texting skills and taking it into the realm of sexting, danger ahead. Yes, it’s super-sexy to add sizzle to your relationship by sending suggestive messages. But if you just met the guy, know that your words may not be for his eyes only if he decides to show his friends what an awesomely dirty girl he’s dating. Even if you know and trust him, technical glitches happen, and texts accidentally get forwarded or addressed to the wrong recipient. So just do an extra round of proofreading before sending your X-rated missive to make sure it’s going to the right place and not, say, your grandmother or your boss. One more word of caution if you’re planning to text sexy pics: before you click send, just think to yourself, Am I totally prepared for this compromising picture of myself to come back to haunt me, maybe tomorrow, maybe at some future time when I least expect it, and COMPLETELY DESTROY MY LIFE? If the answer is yes, go ahead and send it. Otherwise, save your naked self for when you see this guy and can explore another benefit of in person communication.
Maybe you’re not ready to downsize your texting plan just yet, but if you rely on it as your sole form of flirtation, you’re missing out. While you don’t have to cut out texting completely, you might want to dial it down. Ease up on your hot and heavy habit and try to use texting to supplement rather than replace other forms of communication. Stepping out of your comfort zone by getting to know someone more over the phone and in person will diversify your flirting portfolio, and help you reap the rich rewards of real-life intimacy.