When texting is a turn off

by singlemomseeking on February 5, 2009

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned.

Maybe I just need to get an iPhone and learn the fine art of texting.

It’s not like I’m a virgin when it comes to texting. I text to say that I’m running late. I text to check in about a play date.

I also love sending — and receiving — sweet, flirty texts. It feels good to know that someone is thinking about you, don’t you agree?

But what happens when a man tries to date you through texting? (No, this isn’t what happened to Dad’s House, when he and a woman were texting just to set up that first date. What work!)

[Ed. note: I ran this post by this "cute guy" to give him the head's up about this post. I just took a deep breath.]

Here’s what happened:

I recently dragged Depot Dad to a party (thanks Jim!) where I met this cute guy, who was actually a friend-of-a-friend…. Anyway, I gave him my number. He called.

We had a sweet conversation — followed by a few fun, thoughtful dates. In between, we planned everything by email or text, all business and to the point. There was no flirting in between, and I didn’t really give much thought to the fact that we hadn’t talked on the phone.

I figured we were connecting slowly? Flash forward: I just had a super-packed weekend, including an author-friend visiting from NYC.

I had childcare for the evening — yes, for the Best Sex Writing of 2009 reading — so I emailed to invite him. (He was a brave man to say “yes”!)

After the reading, I explained (by email, again) that I wanted to check in with my friend to see what her plans were after the reading. Looking back, I just should have picked up the phone and called him.

Clearly, we were already in a texting/emailing mode.

That morning, there was a text from him:

“Have you talked with your friend about what’s happening after her reading? I’m still happy to hang and simply wanted to know if I should make my own plans afterward.”

I didn’t respond right away — morning rush! — but 20 minutes later, there was an email:

“Any word on post-reading activities tonight?… Just wanted to know so I could make other plans if needed.”

Maybe I was reading into things, but it seemed like he had a potential late night plan on the back burner, if you know what I mean?

Go ahead and tell me if I over-analyze everything, but why don’t grown ups call each other anymore if they really want to spend time together?

So, I called him.

I’m not trying to come down on this guy. This isn’t a deal breaker. (It’s not like the time I went on a date with my former UPS man and he texted another woman right in front of me!)

But when I read his text — and then email — I assumed that he that wanted to see which lucky woman might fill his “after hours” slot.

But that’s the problem with texting to set up dates: it’s so easy to misread.

As I said, I even called this handsome guy to discuss this post. “Texting and emailing is so easy to misinterpret,” he agreed. “You can’t hear the inflection in someone’s voice.”

Since all of you are (often) much savvier than me… let me have it.

When you’re planning a date — like above — do you set it up by texting each other?

Am I just making a big deal out of nothing here?

~~~~

I’d love to know if you use texting for flirting only. Or, for business only? Or, for both?

While we’re on the topic, read Dr. Leah’s “Textiquette” at Singlemommyhood.

Good stuff! We’d love to know what you think!

Both of us are big fans of CREDO, a socially responsible ecofriendly phone company which donates a percentage of each customer’s phone bill to support nonprofits. You can sign up with Credo here.

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Wondermom February 5, 2009 at 9:33 am

Personally I hate texting! That said, I do it almost constantly these days. When my boyfriend is working, I don’t like to call him so we frequently text each other during the day. I don’t mind that although if we’re really having a conversation I’ll ask him if it’s ok to call. In the evening, he usually texts me because he figures I’m busy with the kids. I understand why he does it, but I find it incredibly annoying so I usually just call him back.

As for planning dates, whatever works. I’ll text him at work to ask him if he wants to meet for lunch or come over for dinner. He’ll text me to say that somebody’s having a party and ask me if I can get a sitter. I don’t really give it a second thought when it’s like that, but it would be weird if we NEVER talked between dates.

In the situation you described, I’d take it the same way you did…he had something (someone) else on standby and was getting antsy. :)

Wondermom´s last blog post…Trying something new…

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The Exception February 5, 2009 at 9:40 am

I never use text for business.
In fact, I usually use it just to say “hey” or if I have something short to say that doesn’t require a conversation… “running late” “What time” “On my way out the door”

I have done the dating via text thing and think that it is almost too impersonal. In other words, it doesn’t work – too easy to flake, to misunderstand, etc. Perhaps it is that we forget that we really don’t know the person with whom we are texting? I like the texture of the old fashioned conversation… even phone tag beats a text in my mind when it is dating.

That said… I LOVE sexy texting and flirtatious texting… it is just “fun” and well, it’s fun!

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The Exception February 5, 2009 at 9:43 am

Oh and the text/e-mail he sent… I would have read it without tone as it sounded to me as if he was trying to figure out what you had planned and whether the after plans included him. Both fair questions, I think, no?

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kevin February 5, 2009 at 9:53 am

I’d say it depends on the situation. In the beginning, I’d rather call someone to set up stuff like coffee or dinner. But when the relationship gets going, and you are in the middle of a busy day, you may only have time to txt real quick about plans later that night. As far as your guy is concerned, I wouldnt read anything into him texting you twice about plans. If anything, his text sounded like he was anxious to be with you, not looking to get with someone else.

kevin´s last blog post…Legs writing a check that lungs won’t cash

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Phil February 5, 2009 at 10:08 am

I’m guilty of texting more than calling. It’s more efficient and I don’t like to interrupt people – especially during the day. It’s bad etiquette to text the same message twice so quickly, but I agree with Kevin, don’t worry about it. Trying to read hidden meanings into things like that is always a bad idea!

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andieeast February 5, 2009 at 10:08 am

reading too much into things for sure. He just wanted to know what the plan was, maybe he had friends he was thinking of meeting up with? I personally don’t own a cell phone so the whole texting thing is outside of my experience but it doesn’t sound weird at all.

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tanasie February 5, 2009 at 10:14 am

I think he was really eager to see you. Not to make sure that he got laid that night. Maybe his buddies wanted to have a drink but you were his first priority. One of my friends is really annoyed that so many guys text — and she turns down any date when the guy asks her out via text instead of calling. I used to hate texting (I thought it took more time than calling, and showed that you didn’t actually want to talk to me) — but with blackberrys and iPhone’s now, it doesn’t. It’s quick, it’s easy, you can do it in a meeting or on the subway or when you’re with your kids but couldn’t speak freely… I love that the guy I’m dating texts me when I’m on assignment. It’s kind of like he’s there with me entertaining me during the downtime. I can’t talk to him when I’m with my nephews… but I can shoot a quick text.

It’s good you called him if you were starting to feel annoyed. The boy sounds hungry. Maybe a little too much. But, I sort of like that he’s a planner.

tanasie´s last blog post…Out of Ideas

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John F February 5, 2009 at 10:16 am

Yup–overanalyzed!

John F´s last blog post…Power Struggles

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a February 5, 2009 at 10:31 am

I wouldn’t give up extra plans for someone I barely knew either — sorry! If he had plans with a friend or another woman tentatively slated, and wanted to confirm, I get that. He was worried all of a sudden he’d be home at 10pm (or whenever) when he could have had additional social activities. It’s called — dating, socializing or playing the field, whatever you want to call it. It’s wanting to book your free time because maybe you don’t always have one offer let alone 2. Of course we all love you – and want him to be just waiting by the phone, or text, for you, but that’s not realistic. And I think if you get too entangled too fast, it will drive him away.

As for my own texting story…well, I’ll save that for another day. But I did break up with guy via text. And I’ve never been sorry. Actually doing so gave me an insight into men that I never had – and am not sure I wanted!!!

xoxo

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Amy Sue Nathan February 5, 2009 at 10:32 am

The above is moi.

Amy Sue Nathan´s last blog post…Book review: The Successful Single Mom

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Kendall February 5, 2009 at 10:39 am

I’m going to admit something here that not many people know.

I don’t like texting. I’ll send a quick one if I’m at work and can’t talk or when I’m in a place that’s too loud for the phone but otherwise I prefer to speak on the phone.

I know, I know I’m a horrible 21 year-old.

Kendall´s last blog post…TMI Thursday: A New Use for Boobs

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Tracey February 5, 2009 at 11:59 am

I am not a huge fan of texting, unless you are in a meeting or elsewhere that you can’t talk. If you have the phone in your hands anyway, just dial it for pete’s sake adn ahve a conversation.
Having said that, I would not have read anything bad into his texting you twice. Maybe he really wanted to see you, and wanted to give you first dibs on his time that evening.

Tracey´s last blog post…Our Beautiful Girls

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avigail74 February 5, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Oh man, the day and age of texting is just magical! I’m the kind of person that frequently thinks about random things—and I’ll just text whomever I’m thing of a brief note—just because…kinda let getting a letter (back in the old days) from someone for no particular reason! And, man, if you’re dating someone–it’s a huge plus, especially if he likes you. I get frequent text messages from my date—and it gets me all jittery just before meeting him! Phones are lengthy–and people tend to take sooo long just to give you an answer—as for texts, it’s quick, to the point–bam wham, thank you!

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singlemomseeking February 5, 2009 at 12:03 pm

I think the consensus is clear: I just read WAY too much in between the lines.

Jeesh, sometimes I think I should be locked up.

Thanks to all of you for bringing me back to sanity.

And Ms. Andie, how the heck do you manage without a cell phone?

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Schvach February 5, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I haven’t dated in decades, and I hate text messaging (canceled the text messaging option from my cell phone provider). I don’t understand this whole dating thing. You people date by making appointments with each other as though you’re negotiating business deals. No wonder you’re all miserable. When was the last time you fell in love with the guy/gal who tried to sell you a car?

Schvach´s last blog post…

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singlemomseeking February 5, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Avigail: Yes, getting a sweet, flirty text would be really, really nice.

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noringsattached February 5, 2009 at 12:56 pm

I don’t mind texting during the day or when you know someone can’t talk but other than that I prefer to pick up the phone and TALK. It is very easy to misinterpert and/or read too much into messages.

noringsattached´s last blog post…A Blog? Oh yeah…I have one…

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Legal Editor Mom February 5, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Technology as a whole has taken over and I hate texting, too! I don’t ever initiate it, but I can see using it in situations where it’s too noisy or you might not be able to talk.

I appreciate my friends who text me during business hours when they know I’m likely in a conference or training room and unavailable to talk, and I admit that it is flattering to receive an impromptu message from a guy via text.

But dating that way? That would turn me off. Ok, maybe a text to suggest that we meet somewhere, but confirm or follow-up with a phone call. Actually speaking to someone and hearing their voice is so much more “real.”

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won February 5, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Wow! After reading that fiasco, I am proud to be a text virgin!

I thought I was missing something. Now, I don’t think so.

won´s last blog post…The Wall is Up

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won February 5, 2009 at 1:12 pm

Oh, and my gut feeling was that he was just trying to see if the two of you were on for after the reading.

I believe it’s likely he wanted to be with you…and was looking for you to commit to that by using the “other plans” as a technique.

won´s last blog post…The Wall is Up

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Robin February 5, 2009 at 1:27 pm

I’ll use whichever options seems most appropriate at the time — and depending upon the particular man involved (one’s more comfortable with technology and uses it constantly for work, so it’s just an extension and almost all of our “set ups” and logistics, et al, are via e-mail or text, and that works). If I know the guy’s busy and can’t take a call, but could take a text or read an e-mail either on the sly, or at next opportunity, sure, shrug, let’s us get in touch and he’ll know to get back to me. And, vice-versa him with me, w/out interrupting my time in a meeting, or with my daughter, etc. My boyfriend will typically call, or e-mail, as he hasn’t figured out how to text (but he can get them — once we had to confirm timing b/c I didn’t know when a meeting was to end, so we pre-arranged via voice, that I’d text him). We don’t limit ourselves to type of communication, but take advantage of a variety of options depending upon what best meets our needs at that moment. Of course, in real life, is best ;)

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from the desk of...me February 5, 2009 at 1:38 pm

i have often wondered this same thing. i do believe that texting is quite convienent. currently, my boyfriend and i will plan entire dates through texting. however, we also spend a ridiculous amount of time on the phone (often times we’re on the phone 3-4 hours a night). so i think it just depends. since i do consider myself a bit old fashion. i still like to call or want him to call me to confirm our plans. i don’t think it should be a deal breaker but i think texting should be done in moderation. honestly, how can you establish an emotional connection to someone through texting and emailing?

from the desk of…me´s last blog post…My Life Pie

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dadshouse February 5, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Sounds to me like he had another plan on the backburner. I understand that he’s not dating you exclusively, but come on, is he that desperate for company that he needs to double book his night? If he’s willing to hang, then hang.

dadshouse´s last blog post…Flirting in Front of Your Ex

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avigail74 February 5, 2009 at 1:58 pm

And, speaking of Iphones and Blackberry—be forwarned, once you have those fancy schmancy machines—you’re hooked to the tech world! Trust me, I know! I’m MADLY in love with my Blackberry—I use it for EVERYTHING: texting (wink, wink), e-mail (find that I spend less time on computer…), calendar (it reminds you EVERYTHING–so it’s safe to “forget” to check your calendar), talk on the phone (ha, like we do that anyway) and many more!

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Lauren February 5, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I almost never text, and EVERYONE my age (22) is constantly texting. (But, after seeing Kendall’s comment, I guess I’m not the only one in my early 20s who hardly texts!)

I’m also just really bad at texting. I feel weird using text talk, and I always find myself spelling out all my words and using punctuation.

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Mike February 5, 2009 at 2:53 pm

I use it for both and I dragged my heels with it. With texting you have to be very careful how you word stuff since with out a tone behing it, it can be taken any which way.

Mike´s last blog post…Damn You To Hell!!!

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Mike February 5, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Don’t like it. Don’t do it. Rarely have I bothered to even read them. Email me. IM me if you must. My phone is for talking. If someone wants to write me then send the email or take out pen and paper.

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PT-LawMom February 5, 2009 at 3:20 pm

My boyfriend and I almost broke up over e-mail recently because he misinterpreted my tone and I misinterpreted his. It wasn’t until we sat down and talked face-to-face that things made sense and miscommunications were cleared up. Hard to do sometimes in this fast-paced world. I, for one, HATE talking on the phone. Ick.

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SDMktg February 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Calling is definitely more straightforward. The text then email 20 minutes later is not a “smooth” move. My guess would be he wanted to see you but wanted to be sure he wasn’t going to be a third wheel. Unless I misread your post you invited him and after he said yes you wrote back to say you had to check with your friend regarding plans for after the event. If he likes you that could have been taken as a bit of rejection and he wanted to find out where he stood. I’ve had a few of those “is this a date?” dates myself in the past. It’s not that fun. Better to be straightforward and ask for what you want by phone, text, or email.

SDMktg´s last blog post…Top 10 Places to Tailgate after Football Season Ends

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T February 5, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Yeah, I don’t mind texting if calling is inconvenient or just to let someone know you’re thinking of them. I’m with you though… a relationship has GOT to be more about talking than texting. That would make me crazy.

T´s last blog post…Please?

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