The problem with texting and dating is that too many men just don't know how to do it right.
Funny, flirty, and confident messages will nurture the attraction between two people. This requires that men be original, think creatively, and author with purpose. As an example, when asking a woman for her phone number, I will text her immediately with a flirty message that says, "Who is that amazing guy you are talking to?" instead of saying "Hi," "Thanks," or "Nice to meet you." Don't forget, text messages are often reread. Send something that reminds a woman who you are or how you made them feel.
Another creative use of text messaging is to send pictures instead of texts. I happen to love women's shoes and enjoy women who appreciate their footwear. So if I'm looking forward to seeing someone or want her to know that I'm thinking of her, I'll take a picture of some great heels and send it to her with a message that says, "You would look great in these" or "Thinking of you." If you don't have the stiletto fixation I have, you could do this with something more fitting to your situation. In these cases, the messages are short, confident, and flirty. Style almost always trumps the substance of a text message, since anything "substantial" should be said in person. If the message would better be "said" than "read," then you probably shouldn't send it.
At the beginning of a relationship, first impressions can certainly be ruined by poorly conceived texts. Words, when used thoughtfully, can evoke powerful emotional responses in people. Next time you send a text, make sure it's not just making conversation or replacing what should be a phone call. Messages should be used to elevate conversation. If you can do this, chances are that women will appreciate it, text you back, and look forward to hearing from you.
Texting definitely detracts from attraction.
Dating is all about getting personal, and texting is by far the most impersonal method of communication — a girl can't derive any useful personality traits from a "Sup" text. This makes misinterpretation the biggest danger of texting in the early stages of dating. The action itself will speak louder than its contents, usually saying one of the following:
1."I'm scared of you."
Every time you communicate with someone, the recipient is aware that you had multiple methods available. You could have called, e-mailed, showed up at her doorstep, sent a singing telegram — the possibilities are endless. When a guy texts, it's clear he chose to do so, leaving the suspicion that he's too scared of you to actually speak with you, doesn't have clue how to start a conversation, or is suffering from a social anxiety disorder. None of those things are sexy. Ever.
2. "I don't really care if you respond or not."
A text loosely translates to: "I don't really care about you. It might be fun to go out tonight, and it would be awesome to have sex but I'm too tired/bored/uninterested to make any real effort. So if you get back to me, great. If not, I can finally catch up on Lost. Bonus if you drive over here and I can do both."
3. "I just sent that text to every single woman in my address book."
...And he will mostly likely hook up with the first girl who answers, unless of course a much hotter girl gets back to him before he gets Girl No. 1 back to his place.
If a guy genuinely likes a girl, he should want to talk to her. Plus, the act of talking has another positive outcome — it boosts his chances of success. It's easy to ignore a one-line text message, especially if it's a chain of lowercase letters and numbers, such as "u want 2 go out 2nite?" A nice, deep, human voice? Now, that's harder to turn down.
ON THE SOAPBOX
Abraham Lloyd is a divorced dad and aspiring author dating in Philadelphia, PA. He believes all men should own at least five jackets, know how to dance, and pay on a first date. You can tweet him at twitter.com/abrahamlloyd.
Koryn Kennedy is Marie Claire's associate web editor. She's never accepted a date request via text ... and never will.