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The Dos and Don'ts of Texting in a Relationship

How long should you wait before you text back? Check out these dos and don'ts for texting while dating or in a relationship!

How long should you wait before you text back? Check out these dos and don'ts for texting while dating or in a relationship!

Are Your Texts Getting Boring?

Texting is now a large part of romantic relationships. It’ll start off with a few texts here and there, followed by some invitations to hang out, and then it’ll progress to daily check-in texts to see how you’re doing.

If you can’t keep up with good text conversations, you may end up losing interest or making your partner feel like you’re moving on. You, of course, need to talk in person. In fact, texting is only a buffer. Your in-person conversations should be the meat of what you are as a couple, and if those don’t go well, you two may end up drifting apart and going in different directions altogether.

Check out the following dos and don’ts to keep your texts, and your relationship, lively and interesting.

Texting Dos

1. Text to see how their day is going. It’s nice to know someone cares, even if mostly what you did was stare off into space, fax a boring document, and perpetually type to get through your day at the office. Many of us have pretty normal, mundane days, so we can pay the bills. It takes some digging to bring out our more interesting sides: our hobbies, our friends, our weird ideas on how to take over the world.

2. When you’ve hung out with each other and you like it, let them know through a text that you had fun. Let them know you would be interested in hanging out in the future.

3. Give them compliments. Tell them they look pretty or you like their personality.

4. Text things to have fun! If you can go on about unicorns and rainbows rather than tax returns, you might be able to keep the text exchange going for a long time. Feel the texting out; different people have different preferences. Some might think you are strange to mention unicorns, or childish. Others will be delighted by your flirting skills.

5. Text to initiate hanging out. Use text messages as a planner.

6. Ask questions. Don’t ask anything too in-depth, save that for in person. Ask questions about their day, if they like pasta, when they think they’ll be free, etc.

7. Use texting to bring up random occurring happy events in your life. If you just passed by something crazy — like a man dressed as a shark being chased by a pack of dogs — that’s something you should text. This kind of stuff tends to make people happy, unless they are more serious. (Do you really want to date someone that’s so serious that a text about a man dressed as a shark getting chased by canines doesn’t bring a smirk or laugh?) Also, take pictures of random happenings as proof.

8. When they’re sick, ask them if you can help in any way. You could bring them soup, take them to the doctor, cuddle with them, put on a puppet show, or read them their favorite book. Also, just sit outside their door and wait for them to stop being sick. Caution: some people might find that scary or intimidating.

9. Text them to let them know you’ve been thinking about them. Tell them why you like them. Let them know you miss them when you do.

10. Good morning and goodnight. Sometimes it’s really cute to get a good morning text and know the other person is thinking about you bright and early in the day. (Just don’t overdo it. Change things up!)

It might help to have someone read over your flirty texts before sending them or to give you pointers.

It might help to have someone read over your flirty texts before sending them or to give you pointers.

11. Add in some spice to your texts. Throw in an emoji or two… or one of these ;)

12. Certain faces in emoji help convey how you feel. Try using the more flirty faces, like the face with the pinkish cheeks. Be careful using the kissy face. It comes on strong.

13. Do wait for the other person to respond to your texts. It should look like the conversation is being carried evenly between the two parties. If it looks like you’re writing a novel to a ghost, something is wrong.

14. Text them just to say hello. If you can’t think of anything at all, sometimes a simple “hey” works as a nudge. If they’re interested, they’ll play along.

15. Give it a rest. You don’t need to text every hour or every day. Give it some space and it will thrive better. If you respond too fast, it’ll make the other person think you have nothing to do. Don’t immediately text back every time. Take a moment to reflect. This makes it easier with people because they are probably texting and multi-tasking… like getting ready for work, about to drive, or doing chores.

16. Text them about exciting events. Is there going to be a cool office party after work tonight? Maybe your roommate is putting something together and your date might be interested in joining. Keep them posted on exciting things.

17. Use texting to flirt and to get to know each other. Consider how well it is going and how much you actually want to communicate.

18. Send texts for reassurance and safety. Text them when you get home after hanging out to let them know you made it home safely.

19. Text them to see if they have any good ideas. This includes: making up adventures, weekend plans, party ideas, or finding cool clothes.

20. Use texting to check in with each other. When you are dating or in a relationship, you’ll find your phone pings a lot more. Your partner wants to know where you are, they’re thinking about you a lot, and they want to know if you are happy with them.

21. Text them to let them know how you feel. Did you have a bad day? This is someone that probably cares to hear what you have to say.

22. Use texting to break in good news. Let them know when something exciting has happened in your life! Let them know if you’d prefer to tell it in person.

23. Let your goofy and carefree attitude come out in texting. People like to have fun text conversations! A lot of times people go into dating because they want to have fun, so encourage it and make them feel good.

24. Text them pictures of your pets. Especially do this if they like Mr. Cat Face or Mr. Dog Tail.

25. Just for fun, try rhyming through a text conversation. See if they notice. You can use an online rhyming dictionary.

26. Use texting to break the ice. Sometimes people are guarded, and texting can help break that down over time. It’s kind of like breaking the touch barrier. The more someone gets used to the high fives and hugs, the more they get used to you touching them. If you text them slowly but surely, they’ll start to crave it and see it as part of their daily routine. You are in a good spot if they are expecting a daily text.

27. Use texting when you are both at an event where you can’t call each other. This includes meetings, busy parties, and family gatherings.

28. Text when you are out of town. Let them know how your out-of-town adventures are going.

29. When you wake up, pick up your phone and text about your weird dreams. This can be exciting! Especially if the person is somewhere in the mix of that randomness.

30. Write texts about meaningful things from the past that the two of you shared. It’s nice to go down memory lane, especially with inside jokes, really nice evenings, trips, and the like.

31. Send positive energy through your phone, not negative energy. You want them to be excited to see your name on their phone, not roll their eyes.

Texting Don'ts

1. Don’t write lengthy texts when you have something important to say. If you have to take 10 minutes to write something out, save it for in person or call them on the phone. If it is that long, consider what you’re trying to say, and if it really needs to be said. If you send someone an exhaustive list of words, it’ll make it difficult for them to reply back to you. You are asking a lot if you text someone a novel. You are making a strong demand on them and that is not fun.

2. Don’t always initiate when texting. This doesn’t mean always wait for them to initiate, but if you are always doing it… that could be negative. If you initiate texting conversations 10 times in a row, you’re definitely making a bad move.

3. Don’t complain to them about something you saw on their Facebook or overheard. If you think they are seeing someone else, or you have suspicions, ask them in person. Get your facts straight, don’t make a dramatic scene, and then cut and run. You easily could be misinterpreting something.

4. Don’t always text back immediately; give some time between texts. If you always rush to text someone, you might freak them out. There’s a time to text someone quickly, and a time to wait. You need to be a busy person, not always texting back the second you receive something.

5. Don’t text them when you know they are asleep. Do figure out their sleep schedule, in a non-creepy way. It’s very rude to text someone early in the morning before they wake up. You’re kind of a jerk and being anxious.

6. If you send pictures, make sure there isn’t anything in the background that could make your picture look bad. Don’t take pictures from the bathroom. Also, if you don’t want your grandma seeing the picture, you probably shouldn’t send it. Why? Because it’s all too easy for pictures to leak. People have lost jobs over pictures on the Internet.

7. Don’t ignore texts completely. You need to respond to them eventually, especially if you are in a relationship. You might be neglecting them. It’s okay to tell someone they are texting too much for your tastes… but you still like them anyway.

8. Don’t text them about criticisms you have about them. If you have something tough to say, say it in person. Texts that are negative… don’t go over well.

9. Don’t text when you’re feeling anxious. Put your anxieties and insecurities at bay. You should text people when you have good control over your emotions and thoughts… if you really can’t seem to shake the anxiety, you should see someone about it. That way you don’t become too dependent on texting or a person to the point that it makes you vulnerable and insecure.

10. Don’t use texting only as a tool to hang out. Texting is similar to face-to-face talking. Remember you are having a conversation with the person now. So try talking about various things to make it seem as though you are interested.

Texting is not a replacement for hanging out.

Texting is not a replacement for hanging out.

11. Don’t send texts before proofreading them. It can be a turn-off if you have constant gibberish, spelling errors, and major grammar issues. If you can’t seem to form a complete sentence, no one is going to be attracted to your texting skills… unless they have low standards.

12. Don’t sweat goof-ups. It’s okay to make some mistakes. No one is perfect. Joke around if there’s something out of synch in your texting.

13. Don’t ramble. Keep your texts short, sweet, and to the point. Ask questions, don’t launch into novels.

14. Don’t leave a voicemail and a text message. It’s most likely better to call and leave a text message over a voicemail.

15. Don’t text people like you know everything. Humility can go a long way. No one completely understands anyone. Keep your sense of wow.

16. Do not complain in texting about a lack of chores being done. Talk about this in person.

17. Don’t invent stories just so you can text something. Lying is super problematic.

18. Avoid texting several times and not getting a response. You should see a fairly back and forth message spread, with an occasional double text or two from yourself and your partner.

19. Don’t only offer support or comfort via text. Do reach out to them when you are sad and upset, but if they’re upset, consider going to see them in person. See how they text and use that as a guide as how you should text.

20. Don’t use texting to only complain about things, and then in person be all smileys and princess-go-lucky-happy. That’s not cool. That’s passive-aggressive.

20. Don’t use texting to only complain about things, and then in person be all smileys and princess-go-lucky-happy. That’s not cool. That’s passive-aggressive.

21. Don’t send constant streams of pictures, videos, and links. This is annoying. Don’t spam people.

22. Don’t break up with someone over text. Do it in person.

23. Don’t use texting to explain that you are seeing someone else. Also, don’t text your partner about someone else that you like and lead them to think you’re cheating or interested in someone else. That’s a mess.

24. Avoid texting every hour. You don’t have that many interesting things to say.

25. Don’t overdo the emojis. There is a time and place to have heavy emoji conversations, usually when bored and wanting to change things up. It’s very confusing if you only use emojis. Use them to spice up conversation, not to dominate the conversation.

26. Don’t ignore what the other person is saying. Text in relation to what they’re communicating back to you. Listen and consider their words wisely. Be patient.

27. Don’t text other people when you are in the middle of a date, an intimate moment, or when you are essentially busy with your partner. Take breaks from your phone. Give your partner your undivided attention.

28. Don’t try the same way of texting every single day. It will get boring, tiring, and lackluster.

© 2016 Andrea Lawrence