My friend and I had just seen a play and, like everyone else in the theater, I took out my phone as the curtain came down.
Waiting for me were five lengthy text messages from a guy I had been seeing for two months. ” I scrolled up to show her my seven unanswered text messages before, his three blocks of text before that and so on.
“Oh my God, he’s so desperate,” my friend said when she saw my screen. My friend, who lived strictly by the rule that you should not double text for fear of looking too “thirsty,” as the kids call it, was aghast. My now-boyfriend has been teased for “texting like a girl,” but it was immediately one of my favorite things about him.
I am an effusive texter, and in past relationships I would get frustrated when my multi-text theses would be answered with “yeah” or “sure.” I needed someone who was just as willing to give themselves carpal tunnel as I was.
I’d heard similar complaints from friends: potential dates who texted too much, too little; used too many emojis, didn’t seem to understand emojis at all; were too serious, used to many “lols” when they clearly were not .
Each text was carefully analyzed for hidden meaning.
It’s no wonder, then, that text message miscommunications were a daily source of stress and anxiety.
And many of the old, gendered traditions of who reaches out to whom and when have (for better or worse) persisted.
But unlike the phone call, which has been around for decades, texting and messaging are new enough that no one can agree on what the hard and fast rules are, which means a typo might doom a future relationship.
A winky face may be creepy to one person and friendly to another.
Long texts can demonstrate care or reek of desperation.
That’s why 58% of singles think texting makes dating more ambiguous, according to a recent study from online dating sites Christian Mingle and JDate.
MORE: Why Bumble Wants to Beat Tinder at Its Own Game And yet the importance of texting grows with each passing Valentine’s Day.