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Texting Etiquette: 20 Unwritten Rules of Savvy Flirting

Texting Etiquette

If you want to create a good impression and keep the relationship ball rolling, it’s best to mind these tips on texting etiquette for dating.

We can’t stop the reality of instant and digital communication. We just have to go with the flow. While many would still prefer face-to-face communication, texting is unavoidable, so it’s best for you to learn to do it right. Here are the 20 texting etiquette tips for dating that you must learn.

#1 Know when to initiate. Except for certain occasions, men are almost always expected to be the one to initiate a texting conversation in the early stages of dating. The same can be said after dates, although it is also completely acceptable for women to text the guy with a “thank you for last night” or “I had a great time yesterday” to initiate a conversation. [Read: 8 romantic gestures from the olden days all girls miss]

#2 Don’t text when you’re drunk. This deserves repeating over and over in all texting etiquette guides. When you’re tipsy or drunk, chances are, you have less inhibitions, which can cause you to feel embarrassed or regretful the next day when you’re sobered up. As a general rule, keep your phone away from you when you’re drinking.

#3 Don’t text when you’re upset. As with actual person-to-person conversations, try to keep your thumbs away from your phone when you’re upset. You might say something that will only make the situation worse, and even if you don’t mean any harm, there’s always that chance for your text messages to be misconstrued. [Read: 10 ways to handle dating someone with anger issues]

#4 Be short and sweet. Less words, less mistakes. This is especially true in the realm of texting and dating, since the recipient can’t see you as you say *type* those words. Avoid lengthy messages that give you more opportunities to be misunderstood. Here, brevity is key.

#5 Just once. Have you ever had someone send you the same text multiple times back-to-back? It’s annoying, right? The more texts you send at a time, the more desperate and needier you come across. Though you might feel that you were ignored or left hanging without a response, fight the urge to resend the message and just get your mind off of it. [Read: How to love someone without smothering them]

#6 One word: Spellcheck. There are so many things that can go wrong with bad spelling and bad grammar. Before hitting the “send” button, go over your message at least once. This prevents you from coming off as careless and even annoying.

#7 Punctuation is key. Punctuation may seem like tiny characters, but they can greatly change the meaning of your message. Be careful with how you use exclamation points, being sure to use them in moderation.

#8 Don’t be passive-aggressive. This behavior is about as unacceptable in texting as it is in real life. There are many ways you can be passive-aggressive through text, and it can frustrate the other person. As always, it’s best to speak in person and talk about your feelings instead of taking the underhanded route. [Read: 13 modern dating trends you need to dump immediately]

#9 Don’t make big decisions over text. Don’t make up or break up over text. And if you want the other person to feel as special as they truly are to you, save your declarations of love for them when you see them in person.

#10 Sext the right way. Somewhere along the way, you may start sexting each other. The tricky part here is in knowing when to start. Done the right way, you can make your budding relationship even more exciting, as long as the other party is in on it, too! Be organic, have fun, and make sure that you and the other person are comfortable with the whole thing. [Read: 20 sexy text messages to start a sexy conversation]

#11 Put your phone down. Part having good texting etiquette for dating is knowing when to text and when to keep your phone down. When you are with your date and are enjoying your time together, do keep your phone away. There’s nothing as bothersome as being on a date with someone who is preoccupied with his or her phone.

#12 Put their phone down. Another good manner when texting and on a date is not to pry into your date’s phone. It’s a huge disrespect of their privacy and a show of your lack of trust. You can’t have your date sensing this from you this early in your relationship, as you will only turn them off completely. [Read: 10 signs the guy you’re with deserves your trust]

#13 Acknowledge a good date. While there are traditional rules for who will initiate texts in the dating world, it’s a show of courtesy to acknowledge a good date. You can text your date about how much fun you had once you get home, or, even better, the following day. Just be sure to be sincere about it if you are expecting another date.

#14 Know when to text and when to call. Texting etiquette demands that you have discretion when you are texting. Be aware of situations when it’s all right to text and when it is more appropriate to just pick up the phone and call. If what you want to say is going to be important or lengthy, it’s best to call or talk to the person face-to-face. [Read: Is it a date or are you just hanging out?]

#15 Be mindful of the time. Be mindful of what the other person could be doing at certain times of the day. Avoid calling and even texting at odd hours. Not only might you be waking them up at 2 a.m., but texting at odd hours also makes you look needy, weird, or inconsiderate.

#16 Time your responses. When you’re dating, especially in the early stages, texting etiquette suggests that it’s best to keep it cool at first. While you’re not being insincere or keeping up appearances, you are protecting yourself by not looking too eager. Avoid replying right away with every text. This also gives you enough time to go over your responses so you don’t make any mistakes. [Read: How to be mysterious without being too distant]

#17 Don’t text anything you wouldn’t dare say in person. Hiding behind your phone is one of the worst ways to start any relationship. It makes you come off as shady and insincere. Be sure that whatever you say through text is something you can stand by and even repeat in person.

#18 Use emoticons sparingly. Using plenty of emoticons in one text message can make you look schizophrenic, because—let’s face it—the person you’re texting is most likely envisioning you with that face. Emoticons are meant to drive your point home, add a cute effect to what you’re saying, and show sure that your tone is getting across. [Read: Everything you need to know about a flirtationship]

#19 Junk junk texts. At the very beginning of your relationship, it’s appropriate to limit your texts and not text too often. Avoid texting quotes, or worse, chain texts that send a curse or a “promise” if you don’t send to x number of people. You will not get the attention that you’re seeking with those junk texts, so it’s best to keep things short and relevant.

#20 The real deal is better. Remember, it doesn’t matter how great you are with all the texting etiquette in the world, if you are insincere about your messages, that sentiment will always have a chance of seeping through at one point or another.

If you really want the other person to see your sincerity, it’s best to just get off the phone and spend time with them already! After all, face-to-face is always better than phone-to-phone. [Read: 13 relationship mistakes new couples make all the time!]

Texting is already a big part of today’s dating scene, and many people easily judge you based on what and how you text. Therefore, it pays to be mindful of the texting etiquette tips above, and enjoy the benefits of being mindful before hitting that “send” button instead of regretting you have ever pressed it.

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Tiffany Grace Reyes
Tiffany is a wordsmith who has played with words ever since her letter-to-the-editor was published nationally at the age of 9. Since then her writing has gone f...
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