Texting Etiquette Before the First Date
  • Posted Sep 24, 2014
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Meeting someone online is a rush. Was their default picture really from 2005? Did they lie about their job or relationship status? All lingering questions aside, hooking up online means transitioning straight from messaging on the site to text messaging.

It’s 2014, no one makes phone calls anymore — text messages come first, it’s just standard protocol. Having proper text etiquette is like making a good first impression, and you only get one shot to ignite a potential flame.

From personal experience, I know texts can be misleading. Chemistry and banter while texting is calculated, and the person might not be nearly as amiable in person. Here’s how to get the most out of texting, and keep the other person begging for more… messages.


Reply Promptly

Texting is similar to talking, and should be done in real time. This is especially important when a question is asked. Taking advantage of the lax situation and forgoing a reply for several hours or days seems lazy and uninterested.

Being busy is understandable, but it only takes 15 seconds to let the receiver know your game plan; “Busy right now, I’ll text you later.” A little courtesy goes a long way, and this habit will help you avoid many a future misunderstanding.

Be Funny

Showing humor through text is a skill, and if the recipient really gets a giggle out of your note, it will be remembered all day. This is not the place to practice your standup routine, but a witty quip can make a lasting impression and leave them intrigued about how hilarious you are in person.

Make a Plan

Quit beating around the bush, and dropping hints. Talk about your favorite eatery and how they’d love the lasagna there. Be subtle, but make it happen. Take initiative and propose the two of you get together for coffee or a hike.

Saying, “We should get together sometime,” has the impact of “I don’t hate you,” and should be used only on neighbors and random strangers. Be assertive and suggest a time and day to get the ball rolling and find out if the connection is real.

Cut it Short

Texting endlessly can be fun and quirky, and help you get to know someone before you meet. But for most, the words of Sweet Brown apply: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Playful banter is cute if that’s your end game, but usually the goal is to meet in person. After you make the plan, cut down on the conversation. You want to save some discussions for your in-person meeting so you have something to talk about.

On another note, having chemistry over texting that isn’t met by actual attraction in the real world is a total letdown. Spare yourself wasted time and emotional investment by meeting them before you engage in those never-ending text conversations.


Shorthand Abuse

When used intermittently and sparingly with friends and colleagues, shorthand in texting is appropriate and can save time. However, using it with a new romance can have an air of laziness and immaturity. A peppered “lol” is warranted, but “What r u ^ 2” is a bit rudimentary and looks like hieroglyphs.

This goes for business relationships, too. Form a coherent thought, pay attention to detail and by spelling out “you,” and affording your counterpart the correct form of “there.” It’s not hip, it’s not cute, and it doesn’t make you appear to be any smarter than a 14-year-old, so limit yourself.

Offensive Irony

In case you are not privy to this knowledge, sarcasm and tone are virtually undetectable via text. You might make a hilariously snide comment that would get a laugh when vocalized, but in text rings like you’re being a total jerk. Save the double entendres for the real date, just in case they’re not attuned to your brand of humor.

Ignore Questions

Small questions can get lost in the sauce of an extra-long thread, so take time to read the entire message and respond where necessary. Having a question or comment ignored is discouraging, and will come off like you don’t respect their queries.

Write Novels

Prior to actually being in the same room as someone, drafting a long, thought-out message about any topic is tiresome. It makes the other person feel like there needs to be a response of equal merit, which is presumptuous. Keep messages in line with Twitter rules: 140 characters or less.

Emoticon Explosion

Inserted at the end of a note, a smiley or winky face is reassuring and playful. But abused and overused, that cheerful little guy can quickly reduce a correspondent’s interest and attraction. When sent too much, they are meaningless and void of sentiment while oozing immaturity.

Texting is the perfect platform for helping a bond blossom. Taking a conversation offline and into text is the next step in the relationship, so do it right and set the foundation for a solid future.

What are some of your texting do’s and don’ts?

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