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Simple Tips on How to Text While Dating

I'm a Midwesterner with a background in writing and media. My articles are mainly about relationships, dating, and heartbreak.


English poet Matthew Arnold once said “the most valuable aspect of civilization is its ability to confer sweetness and light.” In a sense, the pursuit of sweetness is the pursuit of perfection.

When you have mastered sweetness and light, your texting game will massively improve. Put down your old ways of texting. Stop relying on bodily humor or lewdness. Sweetness and light are the best ways to manifest a sustainable romance.


Texting is synonymous with dating. It’s normal at this point to use texting to boost a relationship’s priority, to privately mess with each other’s brains, and set up times to meet.

A lot of people will ask you out simply with a text. Asking someone out in person hasn’t died… but you really need to be fluent in texting and how to navigate it.

Gone are the ways of pick-up lines at questionable bars and unprecedented cheesiness to get someone’s attention. Well, maybe.… Things are easier, but you still have to put yourself out there. You just don’t have to peacock as much.

Here are some ways to get the ball rolling with texting.

1. Ask your partner how they’re doing. Don’t be worried if your partner or romantic interest doesn’t immediately respond. Don’t go overboard and blow up someone’s phone. You want to build a presence, not a creepy profile that could be used against you in court.

2. Inside jokes are all the rage! Haven’t talked to someone in ages? Catch up with them by using an old joke or memory.

3. Cockiness and ego will shut things down. Don’t go on about yourself, don’t be demanding, and if you’re whining to them asking “Why do nice guys always finish last?”, you’re probably not a nice guy.

4. Compliments are a good idea, but remember unlike in conversation where there’s an expectation of being off the cusp and a little more LIVE, texting is a bit more premeditated (sometimes in the moment). You have the chance to craft a well-thought-out message.

5. Keep it short. Spend less time texting and more time in person. Don’t write your romantic interest a novel unless they also write to that level.

6. Learn the following phrases and memorize them by heart: “I miss you”, “Do you remember that one time…?”, “I would like to get to know you better”, “I really appreciated when…”, “You’re my favorite person because…”, “I have a crush on you”, “I would like to see you”, “Would you like to hang out?”, and “What are some of your favorite things to do?”

7. Leave something accidentally over at their house. Use texting to set up a time to get it back. This can be used to make for a short chit-chat or as a method to set up something more formal.

8. The stomach is the way to the heart. Talk about food. Go get food. Take pictures of food and send them.

9. Ask for help on something. Car trouble, a leaky faucet, homework, how to make something you know they can make, what color to paint a room, advice on real estate, random recommendations.

10. Ask a question about a specific memory that you enjoyed with the person… you need help remembering some details.

11. Would you like these brownies I just made? People generally say yes to baked goods, especially if they look appetizing. Send a picture of the food.

12. Take pictures of things that are adorable and send them to each other: cute stuffed animals, nostalgic cartoons, things that make you laugh. Yes, use GIFs and emojis.

13. Text them: “Hey, can we talk on the phone? I’d like to hear your voice?” It’s okay if they say no, but sometimes it’s a good idea to switch up the communication method for different energy.

14. Text them: “I like looking through these old text messages because they’re so happy.” Before you do this, make sure there is the right context. It could also sound super creepy.

15. Make metaphors and similes that put your person in a positive light. A little poetic language can make you seem interesting or witty.

16. Do something weird, like make a top ten list like David Letterman. Sometimes texts need to be different to get someone’s attention.

17. Admit to laughing and smiling. You want the person on the other side to know you’re happy.

18. Be smart with your compliments. If you’ve been in a conversation for a while, and it seems like it has been going well… be bold and say a very specific thing that you appreciate about the person.

19. Catch them at a normal time. Texting hours should be around 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, adjusting for people’s particular schedules. The hours of 11:00 PM to 4:00 AM are associated with booty calls.

20. Go bold and send a long text that’s like a curious story. If a bird keeps coming over to your house, write a quirky story about it that’s short and sweet. Something to change things up and be random. Some people will find this fun, others might think you’re insane or hogging up their phone space.


1. Think before you text. Ask yourself: would I like to receive a text like this?

2. Don’t get too personal in texts. It’ll make it awkward when you’re in person and have nothing to talk about. Save personal stuff for when you’re in person, and so you can gauge their responses.

3. Be conversational. Avoid semi-colons. Unless you’re both English majors, keep things simple. Do write concise sentences, get to the point, and express confidence. You’re not in a contest to write the best 20 page essay.

4. Don’t be gossipy. It’s a bad idea to explain why someone is making you upset through a text message.

5. If you’re going to send pictures… do it sparingly. Don’t send them an entire album.

6. Don’t come off like a stalker. Ask yourself before you text, “Do I sound like a stalker?” You’re not a private investigator.

7. There are no real hard and fast rules about how long a texting conversation should last. Just make sure that they’re keeping up with you and giving the same amount of energy. If they start to taper off, let them go.

8. Keep your text messages and read them back every once in a while. You might see some patterns, and it’ll help you to improve how you communicate with texting. Just be careful that you don’t accidentally like any old texts!

9. Be safe when you date. If you don’t like the way someone texts and you find it creepy, they’re probably even more creepy in person. It’s okay to suddenly ghost/block someone without warning. You sometimes have to do it for safety reasons.

1. Don’t drunk text. Girl, you are drunk… go home. You look sloppy when you drunk text, and people often say things they don’t mean. If you’re planning to have a drunken night, put your phone somewhere safe that you can’t reach.

2. Don’t ask for or send naughty pictures. These can be used as blackmail. They can get you into trouble. Better to save the intimate stuff for in-person time.

3. Don’t write lengthy messages about relationship problems. Schedule a time that you can talk. Write your thoughts in a letter (that you might not deliver). Practice what you’re going to say. Rehearse it, so you can get your words out correctly.

4. Don’t write fantastically more than the other person in the text conversation. If they’re not mutually keeping up with you, you may be happy, but they probably aren’t. Your text conversations should look 50/50 not 90/100.

5. Don’t give one-word answers…. or one-word letter responses. If you have to, you have to. But that should be seldom if ever. It can really grate people when you say “okay” or “k”.

6. Don’t give away personal information. Know what security questions you’ve used and never answer things related to those. One question that could come up is “who was your first kiss”… no one needs to know that. No one cares. Seriously.

7. Don’t send a series of random letters or words to grab their attention. If they haven’t responded to a message, be patient. If it’s really biting you, try to send something positive, or try calling. DO NOT SPAM PEOPLE’S PHONES! (Real or fake accidental texts/butt dials don’t typically amount to anything.)

8. Don’t text all the time. Break things up with other interactions. Don’t treat texting like a job.

9. Don’t go silent for days and avoid texting. You should have text messages from the person you’re dating. If it’s been two weeks cold turkey… something is likely wrong.

10. Don’t insult the other person. Don’t insult yourself. Don’t be mean.

11. Don’t send a text message before reading it over. Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes. Show that you pay attention to details. (Some mistakes are okay every once in a while. No one is perfect.)

12. Don’t text if you are in person, especially if it’s only the two of you. The only time it would be sensible to text someone if they’re in the same room as you is if you’re trying to communicate something coyly without others noticing.

13. Don’t become an aggressive texter. Don’t be demanding.

It’s a real thing. We’re all a little too attached to our phones; we could all benefit to take some breaks from them. Smartphones can actually cause you emotional problems if they become a crutch. Phones aren’t the only tool you should use to support a relationship.

Make an intentional point to step away from your phone every once in a while, try spicing up your relationship with dates and new things.

Some people try to solve their relationship problems via text. It rarely if ever works. Phones are like remote controls to reach someone you love; don’t abuse that power.

FYI: buy cleaning wipes and clean off your phone every once in a while. Your phone is a festival of germs!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Andrea Lawrence