Is Texting a Relationship Game-Changer?

Is Texting a Relationship Game-Changer?

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There’s no doubt that technology, particularly smart phones, has changed the way we communicate. And the way we date. This article in USA Today had some interesting statistics on texting and how young adults use it in their dating lives.

According to the article, texting is one of the major game changers in the world of dating. “Casual, easy and non-threatening — the simple beauty of text messaging is upending American dating culture. Not since the dawn of the automobile has a technology — the cellphone — so swiftly and radically changed the way people interact, meet and move forward (or not) in a relationship. Texting has created a new brand of mobile etiquette, and for dating, it has given rise to new ways of flirting and even defining exactly what's going on between two people.”

Texting has pretty much been part of every one of my past relationships. It’s a nice way to stay in touch with your significant other during the day when a work or school environment doesn’t allow for talking on the phone. It’s nice to get a text to know the other person is thinking about you.

It seems most people agree. The article lists these statistics:

“• Approximately one-third of men (31%) and women (33%) agree it's less intimidating to ask for a date via text vs. a phone call.

• One in four say an hour is the longest acceptable response time to a text to someone you are dating or interested in dating; one in 10 expect a response instantly or within a few minutes.

• More men (44%) than women (37%) say mobile devices make it easier to flirt and get acquainted.”

This isn’t meant to be a post on the pros and cons of texting in relationships, because every relationship is unique and every couple has to figure out how they best communicate and which type of communication they prefer.

But how you communicate can be just as important as what you communicate. There are times when a text shouldn’t replace face-to-face, real-life conversation. I remember reading about a celebrity who texted his wife he wanted a divorce. While that’s an extreme example, it’s a reminder that things such as tone, body language and eye contact are important. But those things tend to get lost in the land of online communication, especially texting.

What do you think? How has texting changed the way you date? Is it your preferred method of communication? 

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  • --"One in four say an hour is the longest acceptable response time to a text to someone you are dating or interested in dating; one in 10 expect a response instantly or within a few minutes."

    Goodness. really?  If these are just 'staying in touch' type texts then that can get old pretty quickly.  Don't get me wrong, it's lovely to text through the day - 6 or 8 texts each in a day is fine, or more if you're not busy and have lots to say!  But if you're texting every few minutes then you're not going to get anything else done, and you're going to run out of things to talk about because the answer to "What are you up to?" will become "Texting you. Again.  And again.  Forever."

  • --You want to know what's a real game changer? Read receipts.

    Now you can not only casually message somebody back and forth all day, you can also let them know when you've read their message but are ignoring it.

  • --HAH! Jo, that's hilarious XD Also creepy. but mostly hilarious XD

  • --I love texting in a dating context!  Text (or email) is a great way to set up that first casual coffee date; there's no 'on the spot' pressure for an answer if you need to think about it, and it makes a rejection much easier.  

    Re: How soon to respond - I've been known to take a couple of days to get back to a guy.  Guess that means I wasn't too interested.  :p  There were a couple of guys who texted me incessantly and that was really a turn-off.  If I haven't responded, there's no need to text again!

    I hated the texts that were nothing more than, "Hey."  That's not a conversation!

    Within a relationship, my BF and I use texts to stay in touch all day.  It's quick and discreet.  When we were first getting together, the texts were very flirty, but sometimes got serious and there were a couple of times when I was tempted to say a Hard Thing in text or email.  But I saved those for face-to-face, because they were important and I wanted to give them weight.

    I'm really glad we had the important conversations in person.  They were tough but strengthened our trust in each other.

  • --@JosieJo, I agree. If someone is texting constantly, they need to get a life. I've been around people who received and sent texts every 6 minutes, and it is very annoying. No wonder many Americans have the attention span of flies. I would not be able to STAND the constant interruptions. I have to "get in the zone" and stay there to do most things. Especially at work. When I had a summer job, I didn't goof off at work. My parents taught me a strong work ethic. I don't understand people who spend hours on end goofing off when they're supposed to be working. In this economy, they should be scared of getting laid off. I understand jobs can be boring, tedious, and uneventful, but it is much more satisfying for me to be productive than to kill time. Christians in particular are supposed to have a strong work ethic; the Bible is very clear on that.

    Even if I wasn't doing anything important,  just relaxing and having fun at home alone, that doesn't mean I want to be interrupted every 6 minutes. Maybe it is more of an extroverted thing. Or the infatuation stage of love where you're both high as a kite on neurochemicals.    

    In the future, if I have friends or a significant other who wants to text constantly, I will set boundaries with them. Like Josie said, a handful throughout the day is nice, but I think texting constantly is just ridiculous. It could even be a symptom of codependence, but not in all cases of course.  

    Okay, I'm done ranting now. :)              

  • --My preferred method of communication is definitely the face-to-face conversation, with the next best thing being phone, followed by FB or Gmail chat.  Texting comes in last!  I don't text a whole lot, partly because I don't have anyone to text back and forth with most of the time, and partly because I have a "dumb phone" that doesn't even have a qwerty keyboard...texting on my phone is just plain tedious!  In my last relationship, though, we did text once in a while.  I told him right upfront that if I didn't answer right away, it just meant that I 1) was busy, 2) forgot to take my phone off silent after a meeting, or 3) simply didn't hear my phone beep!

    As for being asked out via text, I have mixed feelings about it.  On the one hand, I can appreciate that it takes some of the pressure of an immediate answer off of the girl, but on the other hand, it keeps the guy "safe" from being turned down in person.  I kinda think I'd rather him take that risk, and even if I couldn't say yes for whatever reason, at least I'd be able to admire him for having the guts to ask!

  • --Well, it can be awkward if you call someone from your home phone, and they text you back, which means it never goes through and you think they never responded.  Particularly difficult if their voice mail is full and you hope they check their caller ID.

    As for the time expectations - what about driving or when you're at work?  Some of us have jobs where we can respond immediately when we're at our workstation.  But in a long meeting (particularly with executives), that simply isn't going to happen until the meeting takes a break.

    As for the content, there's some old Dale Carnigie advice: If you want to praise someone, put it in writing.  If you want to chew them out, do it over the phone.  They may save the compliment and revisit it.  But you want the conflict to disappear into the air.

  • --I really agree with this! Yes, face to face communication is very very important, but txt can be a great way to get to know someone too! Also it helps you learn to communicate right away! Think about it, You have to communicate well or the other person may take it wrong!

  • --Re: PricklyPete, "called"

    I appreciate your comment about the use of the term "called" because it is also a pet peeve of mine. I obviously am not discounting the Holy Spirit, prayer, etc. but I do believe Christians have hijacked the term "calling" to mean all sorts of things that the term didn't originally imply. If you look at all the instances the term "call" is used in the NT, for example, it is hardly ever used to refer to God giving general instructions on decision making. It usually refers to salvation, either calling on the name of Christ to be saved, or God calling us out of sin. Sometimes it's also used in the bland sense, i.e. "he was called Mark." Some might think this is a trivial semantic issue, but I personally believe there is value to Christians being faithful to Biblical terms, especially terms that are as important as calling - it is central to the doctrine of salvation.

  • --I love texting, but friendly/flirty banter ought to also be backed up in public.  I don't want to feel like a guy is ashamed of me or hiding his feelings toward me from his friends.  Sometimes, texting is too easy and lets men off the hook from stepping up, pursuing, and taking appropriate responsibility toward a woman of interest.  If they keep it solely to non-threatening, private communication, beware!  It's not a good sign.  But if it's in addition to spending time and attention in public, among friends, etc., woohoo!  Then, those texts that make your heart bounce are a fun bonus!

  • --I think sending a woman a text is a great idea!  It's the man taking the initiative to let me know that he is a CHOTCH.  And it's quick, the best part.

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