Why Do Guys Send Text Messages To Keep In Touch While Dating?

Over the last several months, I have dated 3 men (not simultaneously) that I met on Match.com. They all seem to have one thing in common: after 2-4 dates, they like to touch base with me during the week by sending me text messages to my cell phone! Although I appreciate them thinking about me in the middle of the day, if we have gone out on several dates, at what point is it appropriate to expect a 5 minute phone call a few times a week? Is it too early in the dating process for phone contact? How are you supposed to progress the relationship if you never “touch-base” by actually speaking to one another? Is this typical of people you meet on line? Or, am I just old fashioned (39) and not used to this new aspect of dating?

Rikki

Dear Rikki,

Guys across America are saying, “Hey, babe. You’re not important enough to get five minutes of phone time. Please accept this weak form of communication and allow me to keep on sleeping with you.”

You struck a chord with this email.

I HATE text messaging. I think it should be used exclusively for only a handful of things:

Letting someone know that you’re lost or running late.

Telling someone where you’re located in a crowded theater or bar.

Writing flirty or dirty notes to be provocative and naughty.

Everything else should be banned. I mean, email is bad enough. And I say this as a guy who lives by email. But anyone who’s ever used it knows how conversations can easily take a wrong turn. There’s no context, tone, voice, or facial expressions to modify your message. The next thing you know, you’re having a vicious argument that could have been easily avoided in person. Plus you have a transcript to commemorate it!

Texting is ten times worse. You’re encouraged to misspell, you’re discouraged from saying anything deep or meaningful. Essentially, texting is emailing for the lazy, illiterate and mobile. You send a text when you don’t want to talk to someone, but you want to let them know you’re thinking of them. And what can be more flattering than conveying, electronically, the idea that you DON’T want to talk to the woman you’re courting? Essentially, guys across America are saying, “Hey, babe. You’re not important enough to get five minutes of phone time. Please accept this weak form of communication and allow me to keep on sleeping with you.”

And as long as you let them do it, they will continue to do it. Because texting is only enabled by the person who writes back to the text. If you don’t respond to texts, guess what? You’re letting him know that it’s a poor way to reach you.

If you don’t respond to texts, guess what? You’re letting him know that it’s a poor way to reach you.

Understand this about men: they will usually do the least that they can to maintain their relationship. So if he can text you at 11pm on Friday night after a week of silence and charm you with something like: “UR 2 hott! Cum over now?”, well, you get what you deserve. But here’s the real problem: there are women everywhere who are complete suckers for this crap. Maybe it’s a low self esteem thing, but as long as some desperate girl lets him get away with it, he’ll always have a low-maintenance sexual outlet. Therefore, he’ll never feel the need to do all the heavy lifting of relationships such as “calling” and “dates”….

But the truth is, Rikki, you don’t need men who won’t call you. It’s a self-selecting process. If he’s a good man who is genuinely interested in you, he will make the kind of effort that reveals this. If five minutes on the phone is too much work for him, it speaks for itself.

As to how you redirect a lazy man to give you more effort, the trick is to do it with wit and charm. Nothing will turn off a guy faster than: “I HATE TEXTING. IF YOU THINK THAT LITTLE OF ME, GO TAKE A HIKE, DOUCHEBAG!” Try to redirect his energy in a positive way that encourages him to keep working for you.

As long as he’s working for you, you’re still in control. So maybe the next time he texts, let him know that you turn off your cellphone at work, and he can best reach you on your regular phone. Or maybe you tell him in a flirty way that the way to your heart is through your voice – and that, if he’s lucky, he might be able to catch you on your cell at 7:30 before you go out tonight. What you don’t want to do is sound like a stick-in-the-mud, my-way-or-the-highway woman. But you can refuse to play his game and still make him feel attractive, which will keep him chasing you through whatever medium you choose. Good luck.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    dadshouse

    Now now, don’t hate on men – I’m a single guy who is dating, and women I meet text me all the time. It’s not a gender thing. It drove me crazy for some of the reasons you talked about – a 5 minute phone call is so much nicer, more respectful, more intimate. But then I realized it’s just modern times. It’s how Gen-Y communicates (I’m older than Gen-Y.) I finally decided to stop resisting it, and it doesn’t bother me anymore. I simply text back, happy and grateful to be in contact. It’s just another way to communicate. And if it leads to another date full of witty banter, scintillating conversation, and sexy flirtation – all the better.

    1. 1.1
      linda

      That’s how I see it too!!

  2. 2
    Marc

    You’re not important enough to get five minutes of phone time. Please accept this weak form of communication and allow me to keep on sleeping with you.

    –Perfectly put! That’s exactly the message these guys are sending you, and the 5 other women they have on the hook who are falling for the “I’ll text you when I’m horny” routine.

  3. 3
    Mike

    “Essentially, texting is emailing for the lazy, illiterate and mobile.” I loved this since it is so accurate. My present GF got me into texting. I still don’t like it since I would rather talk to the person, but it is a great way to say, “I’m running late”. Like you said it’s a great indicator of how important you are.

  4. 4
    Steve

    Using email and texting past a certain point is like showing up for a date in sweat pants. A self respecting woman who wants to date a stand-up kind of guy should show such people the door.

    My little moments in my day are precious. I keep my cell phone use limited to emergencies, calling for help when I’m lost, calling to say I will be late, or leaving it on for other people to do the same if I am to meet them.

    I tell people I know this and I live by it. My time is not wasted with low grade communications.

  5. 5
    Jes

    Wow! I am so glad that you posted this!

    I have dated these kinds of guys before and they drive me insane! Tone and inflection is so important! Great post Evan!

    And guys, PICK UP THE PHONE!!!

    We will respect you more!

  6. 6
    Markus

    I have to disagree with this whole “men will do the minimum” meme. If I like someone and am in a relationship with them I will want to keep in touch with them fairly frequently, incl. by phone. When I WILL be doing the minimum is when I wind up dating/talking to several women at once. It is as this point that I start getting tired of talking and even answering the phone so, yes, I will try to skate by a few days with texts to show I’m thinking of them.

  7. 7
    m

    “Now now, don’t hate on men”

    What a way to start the week.

    Now, I am NOT trying to start a fight here. I just want to know something.

    Why is criticizing something — ANYTHING — EVER — that a man does, or that a lot of men have been observed doing, or that a lot of men do a LOT — ALWAYS characterized, by men, as “hating on men” or “male bashing”?

    Even if it’s one of your own (rated #1 in his field, no less!) doing the criticizing??

    After billing yourselves as the toughest, mightiest, roaringest things ever not to use forks — are y’all really — and after repeatedly jeering at us XXs for “not being able to hear criticism” or “not being able to take a joke” or “not having a sense of humor” — THAT sensitive??

    1. 7.1
      CH

      For one this seems horribly stereotypical and ignorant of both genders. Just like suggesting 49% of the population is incapable of using a simple untensil to eat. “Men will do the least amount of effort” really? I’ve for one put forth much effort and have nothing to show for it but a bunch of disinterested women because ive tried to be respectful and involved. So yeah that’s BS. Secondly it gives the sterotypical impression that women are supposed to be control because men are basically bastards and incapable of doing anything emotionally sensitive and thusly perpetuates this ideal we NEED to be controlled like some dumb subspecies next to women. Thirdly it makes women seem kniving and manipulative, yeah that’s attractive. If we live in a world were it’s so politically incorrect to say someone does something “like a girl” and every can get hyper sensitive and sanctimonious on how everything is misogynistic, then how is it unreasonable to point out something painfully misandristic? Sorry but equality means being held accountable as a hypocrit.

  8. 8
    dadshouse

    My “don’t hate on men” comment was made because text messaging is a generational thing, not a gender thing. Women do it just as much as men.

    1. 8.1
      RustyLH

      Agreed.  My step-daughter and her friends prided themselves on being very fast at texting.  And, I asked her once why she texted so much instead of just talking on the phone, and long story short, what the explained was that texting allowed her to communicate without getting too personal, and also allowed her to have more control.  In short, when talking on the phone, if asked a question, you have to answer right away, but if she is texted a question, she can answer when she wants to.  She can even ignore the question for a whole day, or two.
       
      I on the other hand, hate texting unless it is is totally appropriate to do so, such as asking if I need to bring milk home, etc…

  9. 9
    vino

    The whole text message/email as main form of communication for dating is done by both sexes. Both are equally culpable.

    No matter who does it, she/she doesn’t really care enough to actually talk.

    The man/woman communicating via text primarily is keeping textees as part of the bullpen rotation while they search for something better.

    Actually, if you think about it you know where you stand if someone only communicates with you via text. They don’t like you very much.

  10. 10
    Jill/Twipply Skwood

    I sort of disagree a little. I mean, I agree that texting is no substitute for a phone call. And I’ll go with the flirty/dirty notes thing – that sounds fun. I’m not sure I could text and be lost at the same time, though I could probably text and be late at the same time. Well, later ’cause I’d have to stop to text…

    But it’s nice to get a text out of nowhere. I mean, I’d still throw a giant temper tantrum if I don’t get a phone call TOO, but I almost never have time for a five minute phone call during the work day & even if it’s totally inadequate as a true form of connection, it still makes me absurdly happy to see a message on my phone when I check my phone during lunch break. OKAY!!!! So I’m pathetic. What can I say?

    1. 10.1
      Marie

      Text should be used as a supplement to phone calls, not a replacement. That’s an excellent point :)

    2. 10.2
      Joh

      A quick “I’m thinking of you text” or “cannot wait to see you” during the week day is welcome.  However , this should not supplant a phone call on the evening to catch up and plan dates.   a guy who exclusively texts is written off.  Especially if I call him and he only texts back, ugh…  

  11. 11
    Jill/Twipply Skwood

    Ok, what about a fourth reason – inconsequential little items you really wouldn’t waste a phone call on and most likely won’t discuss again? Like, “Hey I ran into Vern today.” (I really did run into Vern today & find it text-worthy, btw)

  12. 12
    Steve


    m;
    After billing yourselves as the toughest, mightiest, roaringest things ever not to use forks are y all really and after repeatedly jeering at us XXs for not being able to hear criticism or not being able to take a joke or not having a sense of humor THAT sensitive??

    I use forks.

  13. 13
    downtowngal

    I totally agree, txt should be used to supplement communication, not replace. I also notice it’s more common among younger guys (early 30’s or younger). Perhaps some women that age don’t mind as they’re used to it, but I think it’s a step backwards in evolution.

    One big turnoff is when a guy asks me out – esp for a first date – via txt and doesn’t even bother to call or even email. Guys, if you really want to impress a woman, do it the old fashioned way and call.

    1. 13.1
      Joh

      Yes, I like to say that texts should supplement not supplant phone calls .  I was just thinking of this sweet guy I used to date.  We were not compatible overall , but I loved that despite being 33 he would call me on the regular (usually too many guys that age are text -only).

  14. 14
    Eda

    I have a slightly different view of text messages. I think some guys text when they are not really certain if a woman likes them or if the woman wants to go out with them again. It’s a lot less painful to get turned down via text vs by phone.

    I know some women don’t like test messaging, but I don’t think we should always attribute something negative to it, and I don’t think it automatically means a guy really isn’t that interested if he does text her instead of calling her. Also, let’s face it, sometimes women spend too much time talking about boring stuff that many guys just don’t want to listen to even if they really do like her.

  15. 15
    Lance

    On the subject of text messaging, I wouldn’t read to far into it. Women use texts at least as much as guys…I work around college students and I see the girls texting FAR more than guys when walking or sitting around. My pet peeve is women who text while working out at the gym. You’d never see a guy do that.

    I do like EMK’s three reasons to text though, on point as usual. I find texting VERY useful for maintaining attraction after an initial meet or first date. Receiving little messages is like a treat and if you do it cleverly, if goes a long way.

  16. 16
    Ashleigh

    I once had a relationship where our only form of communication (other than face-to-face) was text messaging, since we both hated talking on the phone. I think he called me once or twice and I called him several times only to get a text back. He actually got upset when I asked him to call me from time to time because I was getting weary of that medium! Needless to say, that relationship didn’t last long. So thank you for posting this… I hope many men read this and get the point. I do think you need to post something on how to properly communicate through electronic means, though. For instance, how often should a person call another person.

  17. 17
    Jes

    First and Foremost let me say, I am not a man hater! Ok now that it is out of the way…

    “One big turnoff is when a guy asks me out – esp for a first date – via txt and doesn’t even bother to call or even email. Guys, if you really want to impress a woman, do it the old fashioned way and call.”

    Been there… should have realized that it was going to go no where… But seriously, pick up the phone, its decent human courtesy!

    “I hope many men read this and get the point. I do think you need to post something on how to properly communicate through electronic means, though. For instance, how often should a person call another person.”

    Evan, I would like to know the answer to this one… There are so many rules out there… and they cancel each other out most of the time… so what are the acceptable forms of social communication?

  18. 18
    Kay

    I love to text. It’s great when you’re at work and can’t be on your phone, or if you’re busy and you want to touch base but don’t want to get stuck in a full on conversation. One beautiful man I met on YP texts me every morning “Good Morning Beautiful Lady” I send him back “Good Morning Handsome” it makes me very happy, and he starts my busy day off with a smile. Once I had a bad experience with an email I sent to a guy that he took very negatively, but I didn’t mean it that way at all so I understand what is meant by not being able to hear tone thru text but sometimes it’s easier to say things that you wouldn’t be brave enough to say over the phone. If a guy is shy, or if a girl can’t talk dirty, a text or even an email is the way to go. Some of the guys I’ve met are so anti text it’s funny, so with them we talk, others love it and we’ll text all day long. My friends and family like text messaging too. If my best friend gets into a fight with her husband, she vents thru text so he doesn’t hear her, and if we are frustrated at work, or hear some good gossip, text away. Also, if you don’t like text messaging or contact via email, just be honest and say so, but I think that any form of communication is acceptable as long as it’s mutual. As for me, I’m all for it.

    1. 18.1
      Joh

      the worst liar and narcissist I have met via online dating would send me Good morning beautiful ” texts every morning . While trolling for other women on dating sites.  

  19. 19
    JB

    Texting and emailing instead of talking on the phone or in person are just more barriers that people hide behind to avoid true intimacy.

    I’m not talking about an occasional quick note or email. I’m talking about people that text or email several times a day instead 1 good phone conversation.

    1. 19.1
      Kat

      I’m so glad I found this post.  I recently met this guy and that’s all he did needless to say I lost interest real quick.  When we first starting talking I was ok with it but is just got out of hand.  Everyday a text after text after text.  I couldn’t agree with JB more  ” people who avoid intimacy”. This was the only way he liked to communicate so needless to say I cut this idiot loose.  I for sure don’t have time to waste on someone who obviously is lazy and thoughtless and who doesnt want to hear my voice and what I have to say.  Trust me ladies if he’s only texting you he’s just not that into you so just blow his dumb ass off.  You deserve better.

    2. 19.2
      Gabry

      I agree. There are applets that you can text for free. I hate texting unless I have something quick  to say. These guys say nothing at all in the end, just short silly phrases, stupid things you don’t even know what to answer back. I tell them I hate text if you have something to say pick up the phone and call me, they still insist, in the end I just quit answering, if they don’t want to spend money on a call tough for them. It is really irritating if you have your phone in another room and your busy doing something, to stop what your doing and run to the phone just to see a flower or a silly heart! You send one back and go back to what you were doing and there goes another one! I have no time to run back and forth each time. Then there are the ones that expect to make an entire conversation with text, that is even worst! Maybe other women fall for this stuff but it irritates me. Once in a while is fine but not every single time, 30 times a day! 

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  21. 20
    hunter

    to lance,

    College girls text? College girls do things most women don’t do later in their lives…

  22. 21
    Lance

    @Hunter: Text messaging is a relatively new communication mode in the US…maybe really prevalent in the last 3-4 years. If that? Those college girls, of which there are hundreds of thousands, will soon be working professionals. And they’ll still be texting long after they graduate. Just like we kept emailing and using cell phones after our generation got out of college (assuming you’re roughly my age).

    Anyway, my point was text abuse isn’t gender specific, it’s just as widespread among the fairer sex. This is my response to the general guys-suck-at-real-communication sentiment going on around here, which I think is a bit off-base.

  23. 22
    Selena

    I was probably the last person in America to get a cell phone (last month) so I don’t know yet whether I will hate texting or not. I’d like it might have to do with quality of the message. “Hey there beautiful-thinking of you” would go better than “How ru”. The former is sweet, the latter boring.

  24. 23
    Damie

    I couldn’t disagree with you text haters more. I text everyone throughout the day, even my parents in their 50s. I don’t think it’s a barrier towards real intimacy. I think it’s for real people who have other things going on in their lives and they don’t have the time to get into a lengthy conversation over every single thought. I agree that it is not a substitute for phone or in-person contact. But those of you who say dating men who use texting don’t really like you are being silly. I think people have preferences towards modes of communication. Texting is great because it can be done almost anywhere, it’s discreet, and it is super quick. I’d much rather save phone or in-person time for those conversations that really matter, and save the “Did you want anything from the store?” conversations for a quick text. Oh, and I love the girl’s response about sending “Good Morning Beautiful”s and “Good Mornign Handsome”s. My fiancee and I do the same thing and it always makes me happy, too. :)

  25. 24
    Jeannie

    In defense of TMing men – I’m 43 (so it ain’t just a college girl thing) and a single mom whose day job is rebuilding war torn hellholes. And I’m blessed with lots of great friends and have the good fortune to own my own home. But what that all translates into is I do not have even a mere 5 minutes to talk on the phone. I am grateful for men who let me know they are thinking about me via other means than the phone.

  26. 25
    LV

    Some time ago, I got annoyed when a guy texted me to cancel our date for that evening (which would have been our second date).

    Many of my friends felt that I shouldn’t have been annoyed — their feeling was, it’s simply just another form of communication. I thought it was lazy and inconsiderate, and never went out with that guy again.

  27. 26
    Erika

    I also disagree with the text haters. I met my current SO online. On our first date I made a comment about how boring some of my dates were. I said, “I know I’m not interested when I start talking about the horrors of L.A. traffic, trying to find a parking spot in Koreatown, or the weather.” A few days later I was on a date with another guy, and in the middle of the date my (now) SO texted me, “So, are you talking about the weather, parking, or traffic?” It was so funny that I thought about him all evening. My date didn’t stand a chance!

    Flash forward a few weeks later. I’ve gone to Northern Michigan to go to my dad’s retirement party. My guy texts me all weekend long with these cute little notes.

    From then on, I became a convert.

    But of course while I was dating my guy in the beginning I was dating two other fellas. One guy did exactly as Rikki described. I didn’t take guy #2 seriously because of it, but I didn’t let the texting bother me. After a few weeks I started to date my boyfriend exclusively, and I forgot about guy #2. About two months later guy #2 texts me. “What are u doin 2nite?” I told him that I had met someone special and I was pursuing that.

    His response was hilarious.

    “I guess I’m not the special one.”

    Then he sent, “Was it because I’m too distant?”

    1. 26.1
      Marie

      that’s hilarious! :)
      I agree, text can be a great tool for keeping connected. It’s really about how the person uses it. Your guy’s thoughtful, flirty text was perfect. Had it been “hey, what’s up?” you wouldn’t have been thinking of him, I’m guessing. Even a guy who makes the effort to talk on the phone can be lame or you can feel really connected.  I still prefer the phone in early dating, but it’s not a black-or-white area. Just like many things, it’s often how you do it and your tone that matters more than the actual mode of communication.

  28. 27
    Julia

    I actually had text messaging disabled on my phone because guys I was meeting online would text me instead of calling me. Dudes, when I give you my phone number, I expect a PHONE CALL. If you want to write, send me an email.

    Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t object to the small notes Evan mentions or even the “hello beautifuls” of an established relationship, but many of the people I’ve met seem to use it even when other forms of communication would be more appropriate. (One guy even tried to have an in-depth political conversation via texting! Thanks, but no thanks.)

    I don’t think it’s a gender thing, though – I have several female friends who abuse the texting medium as well – I think it’s more of a “this is easy for me” thing.

  29. 28
    JerseyGirl

    I’m on the fence with this one. I think texts can make you think of the person and be cute and fun. But I do hate when guys use it as a major form of communication. It’s lazy and a little cowardly in that context.

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