Is Texting Going to Keep You Single?
Perhaps one of the most perplexing issues of our “connected” world today is precisely how DISconnected we actually feel from each other.
Many thought the smart phone could become the technological marvel which would bring us all together in peace and harmony. Instead, like the ancient Tower of Babel, so far it’s largely succeeding in driving us apart.
But so modern communication isn’t fulfilling the high hopes we had for the world. What about your love life?
To the point of this post, is texting going to keep you single?
Here are seven questions to ask yourself.
Will texting kill your chances of meeting “The One”?
An attractive stranger across the room looks your way.
And then their gaze rests on you.
Because they can never catch your eye.
You’re too busy texting that one friend who isn’t across the room.
Who isn’t even in the room.
See how texting could keep you single?
Of course, I’m starting out a bit tongue in cheek, but here’s your first pro tip.
Pro Tip #1: When you’re in social settings where you could meet and get to know other people in real life (IRL) including potential dating partners, pull your head out of your phone.
Will texting kill the romance?
Perspective: Back in the olden days, if you wanted to connect with “your special someone” between dates you had to either catch them on the phone or run into them in person. There was something magical about suddenly seeing each other in the grocery store. And something special about dropping by where they work to leave a treat or note of encouragement.
But thanks to texting, who needs serendipitous moments like that? Now you can now carry on a continuous (albeit stilted intermittent) conversation throughout every waking hour. of. every. single. day.
In the early stages of a dating relationship, this really isn’t healthy. It’s too much. Indeed, texting can make your relationship feel closer than it really is, because you have constant access to the other person, even though you will seldom (or never) communicate on a deep level via text.
The reality is, only your family and closest friends deserve that kind of 24-7 access to you.
Pro Tip #2: Until you are in an exclusive dating relationship where you know the other person as well as one of your closest friends, you should not give them continuous access to you.
Pro Tip #3: In general, limit your use of text to confirm details for future dates, or for a quick thank you after a date, but when you really want to catch up or connect between dates, call the person. (Although using text to confirm a good time to talk is great too.)
Will texting kill your ability to focus on what’s important?
You cannot overestimate the gift of being completely present with someone. In fact, it is only right for two people sharing a date together to give one another their undivided attention. So keep texting to a minimum.
But it’s not just dating while texting (DWT) that could keep you single, it’s texting in general.
We must remember, focus is a necessary element in effective communication. It is also a discipline, and like any discipline it must be intentionally learned and cultivated.
However, texting is a method of communication defined by distraction. Seldom will one person sit riveted to their phone reading and responding to one single text conversation for very long.
Instead, you text one person… and then another… and then a group text… back and forth and back again… and then you check the weather… and then you get a drink… as you read and respond to three or four text conversations… and then a text link leads you to a YouTube video… and then you scroll through Instagram… back to reading and responding to six or seven text conversations… in between contemplating the state of your life in comparison to what you just saw on Instagram.
Indeed, establishing this communication pattern when alone with your phone is partially why it’s so hard to break when you’re in the presence of real life human beings. Even a particular human being you think you might be falling in love with.
Instead you talk… and then respond to a text… and then talk… and then watch the television… and then talk… and then scroll through Instagram… and then you think, “I sure wish I was on a vacation right now like half my friends on Instagram…” and then you look up from your phone again and say, “I’m sorry, what we’re we talking about?”
Too much of that could keep you single.
Pro tip #4: In all your social interactions, dating or otherwise, learn how to focus your attention on what’s important.
Will texting kill your ability to think deeply?
On a good day, brilliant people can make the most poignant insight in just a few words. But I’m not that brilliant and my bet is that even if you are that brilliant, not every day is a good day when “your inner Yoda” is flowing like ice tea.
Yet texting is a communication format of few words, so it’s really hard to get deep there. Especially with excessive emojis.
And please understand, I’m not primarily talking about intellectual depth, but emotional depth.
Yes. Emotions. Those things many just act on without thinking a lot about them. While others suppress without thinking a lot about them.
However, if you want to grow a dating relationship with a future, then you need to learn how to carry on meaningful conversations. And those conversations happen best over the phone, video chat, or the old fashion way of “in the flesh.”
Pro tip #5: Journaling is a fabulous way to identify and analyze your feelings on a deep level. And, no, it’s not just for girls. Guys have feelings too, and just as much need to understand and take responsibility for them.
Will texting kill your ability to respond appropriately in the moment?
In a good love story, there’s that one scene when the hero delivers the perfect line which overcomes all obstacles and wins the heart of the love interest.
Sadly, outside of Hollywood, we aren’t handed a script guaranteed to do all of that.
But with text, normal people can take their time crafting every reply, even searching the internet for just the right witty line, endearing comment, or (when all else fails) meme. Probably coming from a movie.
To be sure, it’s highly recommended to take your time responding when the tension is high and the pressure is on. But thinking on your feet is something real people in a real relationship have to learn how to do, without hiding behind a smart phone.
The reality is that, for many reasons, texting is a terribly deficient way of handling important issues where conflict or misunderstanding are possible (and likely).
Pro tip #6: Reserve sensitive conversations for face-to-face discussions. And in between those, take the time you would have spent crafting the perfect text convo to seek the wise counsel of someone who knows and loves you well.
Will texting kill your ability to be empathetic?
One of the most significant quality traits of a healthy human being is the ability to empathize; to feel what other people feel; and more specifically to recognize how what we say or do impacts those around us.
However, research demonstrates we are losing our ability to empathize, in part because online communication enables us to say whatever we want without having to see what reaction our careless words generate. And as we become more detached from the impact of our words upon others, we become more cruel and shameless. (Look no further than Twitter.)
Meanwhile, we become more and more preoccupied with how others make us feel by what they say online, turning us all into little isolated narcissists.
That said, empathy is an essential discipline to develop if:
- You want someone to feel completely safe sharing their deepest thoughts and insecurities with you
- You want to be able to understand and handle those emotions in a way that draws you even closer instead of further apart.
Pro Tip #7: Before texting something ask yourself, “Would I feel good about saying this to someone directly in the presence of family and friends I admired?” Then edit, send, or delete accordingly. Or, see Pro Tip #6.
Will texting kill your ability to be fully known?
Whether you know it or not, more than getting someone you like to like you back, your soul is dying to be known – fully known – by the important people in your life. This would include the person you will eventually marry.
Yet you can text someone off and on throughout the day and feel great about your relationship, even though you really aren’t getting to know each other that well, because…
- You get to interact with them with as much (or little) focus as is convenient for you
- You get to interact with them on a predominately shallow level of flirtatious and/or witty banter
- You get to take all the time you need to respond perfectly to every text
- You never get to accurately gauge how your words are being received
Can you see how texting could keep you single?
Pro Tip #8: Put the goal of growing platonic, same-gender friendships ahead of establishing the perfect dating relationship. And then, inside those non-romantic relationships learn how and when to share what makes you feel confident, confused, grateful, ashamed, loved, hurt, fearful, or hopeful.
It’s my hope this post helped you. Let us know in the comment section if it did or if it raised other questions or concerns.
To start you on your journey toward learning how to rock your relationships like a boss, check out our LoveEd series, Relation^ology, on our FMU YouTube channel.
Date Night Advice (DNA) series: Is This Going to Keep You Single?
Part 8: Is Texting Going to Keep You Single?
Click here for the next post in the series.
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
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