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. 151
    Jeanna

    There’s always exceptions to the rule.  My boyfriend shares his home with three other guys and at times it’s hugely difficult to talk on the phone (be it too noisy, lack of privacy etc).  As a result, texting is our main source of contact. 

  2. 152
    Lin

    I find this very narrow minded. There are plethora of reasons why an additional method of communication can really positively impact someone’s ability to social use and date and give them an opportunity to showcase their personality. Dating is not confined to the verbally talented and high self esteemed alone.  What of the person with as a speach impediment, or is very shy, or the single parent who wants to be discreet in contacting a new date but has kids with big ears, to name but a few reasons why just because texting is used in a social situation it should not be perceived negatively. 

  3. 153
    JoJOe

    Emergencies are one… life emergencies .. the “WTF, I’ve got to go” texts
    If an employer were to text me saying “You’ve got the job” and it was a job I wanted. Would I refuse the job because it was received by text, email, any written form.  Actually no I’ve got it in writing.   If I accept, it’s a form of a legal contract.  
    Location texts, are usually acceptable: “Lost you in the store, where are U” – “What highway are you on”
    Plus lets look at the big cool.  Texts are usually covered under phone contracts as FREE. Which in itself is a great thing for ANYONE.  Phone minutes are not FREE, you have so many a month and then you’re paying.  You can use that as a thermometer over time.
    Other than those “important calls” everything else is “negotiable”  One should realize that you’re actually “writing” when texting, so be aware of the legality of texting, sexting, stalking, shopping”  
    If you cannot say it in person to a face or a voice, you should not be texting it !!! Such us men who text sexual innuendos that they’d be cowards to say to your face.  I’ve called back a man to ask him what he texted, to actually say it to me, he hung up.  So talk is cheap, texting is cheaper.   So keep in mind, anything that is free, is easy.  People you know can text you, people you’re getting to know cannot.  Simple rule.
    Emailing a letter is something else.  It’s a letter, not a memo, not a note, it’s a form of expression and style.  It’s also telling a person you value their time and they can read at their leisure.  It also says I value my space and time while still keeping in touch.  It’s a wonderful old age method of communication, and one that you can have a record of, like a diary a history of sorts.
    So when you text “WazUp” – “Howzit” – “YeahU”  be VERY aware, your character is shouting loud and clear,  just how you expect people to treat YOU. Unless I know you very well as family, c0-worker or friend, this is viewed as cheap toe testing.  Like Marc said in an above post.  “Get in the Real World”  The advantage of texting is being able to use it as a “value” meter.   As my friend and I say “NVA”  No Value Added. 

  4. 154
    ForLeyna

    In defense of texting. I hate talking on the phone I avoid it at all cost!   Please don’t call me, I’m a text girl only. My current SO and I even had a strictly texting “date”last night (It was a joke).He’s a teacher and his grades were due. So in between working on grades he texted me all night long. At the end he thanked me for making a normally horrble night into a night of fun. We texted pictures (taken and drawn) gifs and YouTube clips… It was a great time in between living my Wed night. I get so much more out of texting then out of phone conversations. I think this whole anti – texting thing is a generational thing. The only time to use the actual phone would be if someone is not in the city you live in. My whole relationship from start to finish  for my last 3 boyfriends including my current one has been through text… I dont see a problem or that they are being lazy or disrespecting me. It’s just another form of communicating, one I prefer. Also there is a giant difference between lazy texting and legitiment, thoughtful texting… We all should know the difference.  It’s a false dichotomy by saying a guy is either into you or solely texts you.  

    1. 154.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @ForLeyna (Great Billy Joel reference, by the way): “My whole relationship from start to finish for my last 3 boyfriends including my current one has been through text.”

      Did it ever occur to you that this may be part of the problem? That by using text as a primary form of communication, instead of a secondary one, you’ve lost real emotional intimacy and have relegated each other into texting buddies with benefits?

  5. 155
    ForLeyna

    One more thing to show times are changing, in my last two jobs my coworkers and managers have relied solely on texts to communicate outside of work.. If we are going to be late, if we are sick and can’t make it to work, if we had an emergency, or if there is an emergency or question at work and the other person isnt at work. One of those jobs I worked with lawyers at a nonprofit and my current position is with a school district. 

    1. 155.1
      Chestnut

      Yes, but work and intimate relationships are two entirely different animals.  

  6. 156
    James

    I was really interested in this woman and she canceled our dates three times in a row via text.
    Then wouldn’t answer me anymore, I would have appreciated a thanks but no thanks I’m not interested text or call. I’m beginning to find dating very tiring and exhaustive.

  7. 157
    Frank

    Why Not Simply Ask Your Boyfriend To Please Call You Instead Of Texting? If A 5 Min Phone Call Would Make You Happy Then You Should Share This With Him. Each Time You Share With Your Boyfriend The Little Things That Make You Happy, You Strengthen Your Bond & Deepen Your Intimacy. As Far As The Other Comments About Texting Being A Low Form Of Communication, Please Allow Others To Do What Works For Them & You Can Do What Works For You. I Think This Is A Better Attitude.

  8. 158
    Retro

    I’d rather date a guy who’s slow to reply and calls when he’s available if it means I have his full attention on a date, not on his phone at the dinner table answering every incoming casual text that happens to come through IM style. Even so I don’t trust an over reliance on texting, it’s too easy a medium to to abuse.
    I take text as a substitute for calling as a sign of no interest, or disinterest. When all he does is text I take it as he’s talking to a bunch of other women and is probably sending a cut and paste to all of them to see who will give him what he’s after and right this minute. The guys at work used to refer to similar strategies as “maintenance”, getting by doing just enough to keep a girl on the hook, they weren’t really into any of them, just out for whatever they could get. 
    If a guy’s into you he’ll call, if he’s sensible he’ll look for an equal investment on your part (whatever form it takes) to judge if the feeling is mutual, not send 10 rapid fire texts disintegrating into abuse before you’ve had a chance to finish typing an answer to the first one. Although it does tell me I just dodged a guy with poor impulse control who flies off the handle bullet so I’ll give texting credit for that.
    I find my phone going off every 30 seconds intrusive, even though I tell them this they still do it which again tells me they don’t care. If I’m with a friend or in a meeting they deserve my full attention, I’m not going to be rude to people I have a relationship with and commitment to in order to IM some random guy I’ve barely met who’s feigned interest and doesn’t care enough to make a simple phone call (much less respect my boundaries) even after I’ve given him my number and a green light. If he can’t be bothered calling, I can’t be bothered spending and hour getting ready to go on a date with him. If I do end up seeing him it’s in track pants, in public, platonic, when I feel like it and I get there when I get there because all text and no calls a casual acquaintance is the most I can credit him with.

  9. 159
    fred

    women are so stupid –
    never accept texting from a dude
    don’t let your need for attention override your common sense
    real men don’t text

  10. 160
    Princess

    Lovely. Here is a message I sent a guy who was texting only. I called him left him a voicemail and I didn’t get a call back. Instead I got a “hey girl” text almost a day and a half later! Here was my response 
    “oh hi. Did you get my VM? A call back would have been good. You can pick up the phone and call if you want to arrange a date. This texting thing really isn’t my thing…:)”

    silence. No response.  Lol 

  11. 161
    RustyLH

    Texting is a tool.  It has its place.  For instance, if a man is in a meeting, or someplace he can’t talk, and you called, it is OK for him to text back saying that he is in a meeting, and will call later, etc…  Also, if he is very busy and just wanted to say that even while he’s busy, he was thinking of you, then it would be appropriate to send a quick text.  Texts are also great for just quick communication like, “Are you ready to go?  I’m leaving now, I should be there in 15 minutes.”
    So why do many men want to just text?  Because they are not talkers.  They don’t like to talk just to talk.  Men talk to solve problems, etc…  They don’t like to talk about other people very much, like women do.  Men prefer talking face to face when they do talk, and they prefer that to be in conjunction with something that you are both doing, or experiencing.  Rarely do they just want to sit around and talk about…things.  Ever notice when you see a young girl walking alone these days, she is on the phone talking to a friend.  You see a guy walking he isn’t usually on his phone, unless it is to text, or to surf the web.  If he is talking, it is usually for a purpose and then he hangs up when he is done.
     
    So men will sometimes use the occasional text to show that they are thinking about you, and look forward to the next time you are together to experience things together.   How you view texts from him should be considered along with everything else.  Maybe he just doesn’t like talking on the phone, but he likes being with you.

  12. 162
    Pavlove

    Actually that’s a good point. Women like to experience the moment while men want it done.
    Women like to shop for the sake of shopping, lingering… Men want it done.
    Women love/need foreplay, men want it done.   Women can slow a man down subtly with her feminine nature so men can grasp the journey not the moment.  Men tend to press forwards and not linger in the moment.  The balance would be for men to learn to slow down and women speed up.  Just a bit on each side. 

  13. 163
    Widowed mom

    Evan tells us good advise.   Is up to us to set limits.  I was too nice for too long!  

  14. 164
    jennifer

    Thank you for posting this.  It’s been driving me crazy.   I am tired of only talking to me men when I see them, which if they share custody of their kids means we may sometimes only see each other once a week.  I can’t tell you how many men want to just communicate by text in between.

  15. 165
    Evelyn

    Thank you so much for this post, EMK!! I agree completely with everything  you said!! (Doesn’t happen too often 😉)  I am tired of people telling me it’s a”generational thing”.    “Young people nowadays text.”  Whatever!!!   My 19 year old daughter is in a serious relationship with an amazing young man who CALLED  her and still does.  Yes they text also, but he still does call her all the time.  In the meantime, I am trying to convince my 22 year old neice to actually speak to guys on the phone.  I myself am single and find it very difficult to meet a man of any age who will pick up the phone  for an actual call.  It is challenging to
    figure out a way to get them to call in the manner you described.  Ignoring texts comes off as rude, so I try to let them know I am “not much of a texter”.    I’m convinced that a good man who is serious about a relationship with me will call.  I recently had a decent conversation on the phone with a new on line guy. Then he texted me, and we got into an argument where he proceeded to tell ME what I was thinking and feeling!!  I blamed it on texting, which he denied.  Then he texted me at 11 that same night to ask me if I was still annoyed??!   Ya think?  Done!

    And asking me out on a date via text or email is ridiculous! Should I really meet up with a man whose voice I’ve never heard???

     

  16. 166
    Evelyn

    And I think (and hope) that Evan was referring to men texting because we kind if still want them to be the one doing the pursuing.  So it’s up to us to respond.  It’s not a matter of control or manipulation, but a man should be trying to “win” us and impress us.  If you aren’t willing to make the effort to even make a phone call, you aren’t too interested.  No one is that busy.

  17. 167
    whosays

    IMO this article is too judgemental.  Any mode of communication is fine as long as both people are on the same page.  If both parties find texting optimal, then I say go for it.  A guy saying “Ur hott – can I cum over” is just as much a loser if he phones you and says this – and before the advent of cell phones it was not uncommon for us women to get phone calls exactly like this.

    This is truly a generational thing as well.  My teenage daughter only texts & IMs – a look of fear comes over her face when she’s faced with the requirement of using the “voice feature” of her smartphone.

    I personally am a face-to-face person. If I don’t get face-to-face, I prefer a phone call, skype, or IM chat.  I’m not into text msg or email conversations.  But someone else might have different preferences than me.  The real point of this article should be (1) know what forms of communications work best for you, and (2) communicate that effectively and nonthreateningly to your partner.  No need to “judge” your partner’s preferences, just simply see if you can get on the same page with each other.  If not, then say Adios.  

  18. 168
    TM

    I don’t mind texting at all during the early stages of dating, I actually prefer texting over a phone call. Reason being, is that I’m busy and when it’s not a relationship status or moving towards one, I really don’t want to be stopped by a phone call. Usually for the first several to dozen dates with a guy, I prefer a text. Once I’ve carved more time in my life for a person after the initial stages of dating, then yes – I would want to a phone call to hear their voice. I don’t see texting as laziness at all (during the initial dating period).

  19. 169
    Trixi

    A little lost with knowing his intentions……

    I have read the various posts concerning texting while dating, trying to figure out if I am not up with the whole texting thing..  I stand firm that a guy should call if he wants to talk, to ask for a date or for anything besides a quick hello note, yet I haven’t listened to my own feelings.

    I met a man while out with a friend.  He asked for my business card which only included my work contact info.  He emailed me the next day and I responded and gave him my cell number.  After a month of dating he has yet to call me but he texts me several times thru out the day.  We’ve been out on 8 dates in a month and each date has been awesome.  He plans the evening, usually dinner or a show and drinks.  The dates are at least 6 hours long so we’ve gotten to know each other very well. What is not said during a phone call is made up for during the date.  He has asked me out for the next date a week in advance both by text and while on the current date.  Everything about our dating experience has been perfect, almost too good to be true.  

    I don’t mean to sound as thou I’m looking for a negative with all these positives but the lack of a phone call is weighing down on me.  Another issue is that he will text for days using his personal phone and then switch to his work phone.  i asked which was best to contact him and he said both will work.. Maybe data limits?? I don’t want to over think and possibly ruin a good thing.

    My friends say texting is no big deal but I am starting to feel a little hesitant. 

    1. 169.1
      Garret

      I think you are over-thinking it. In my personal opinion, texting is a red flag if it is combined with other red flags that indicate lack of interest. If everything else is perfect, I think you can forgive this one flaw. It may simply be the form of communication he has become comfortable with. At the same time you admit he has asked you out for your next date both while on a date and by text. OK, so on the date he already knew a specific time and date he wanted to take you out so he asked right there on the date. Then one day he decided he wanted to take you out so he pulled out his phone and texted you. Not really a big deal IMHO.

      Maybe some day soon, when he has texted you and wanted to know if he can come over, you can find a way to bring up that you prefer phone calls to texting. Find a way to simply express how it makes you feel, in a non-drama fashion.

      You: You like to text a lot, don’t you? (smile)
      Him: Yeah, I guess I do. Is that a problem?
      You: It’s a small thing. Not really a problem. I just feel that phone calls are warmer than texts. I think texts are fine for the most part, but I fear it coming to a point where most communication is through texts, and that feels kind of cold. Texts are more than Ok when just relaying a small amount of info, like asking if I will be ready on time. But, I like how it feels to hear a man ask me out, not just text it.

      Something like that. If he is into you, he will want to please you as much as you want to please him, but men often close off to harsh criticism. Or sometimes, they just want something there was, so he might just prefer to text and keep doing it. Is it worth giving up all that goodness just because he likes to text?

  20. 170
    Don Brice

    Text is more better form, it takes time and will always be there , words come so fast and go at the same time. you with low memory will forget what he said so sooner than you can read over the text again…..Guy keep up the game,  if your really mean the words.

  21. 171
    call me a schmuck

    hey, after 26 yrs of marriage, zero talking and a divorce i will take whatever form of communication i can get with a woman !

    i have been with someone for 3 months now and we both think its a great way to stay in touch throughout the day and we still find time to talk too !  we r both crazy for one another, get this, we r both in our 50’s

    texting allows us to place a smile on the other persons face too 

  22. 172
    Rochelle

    It’s hard to form any romantic intimacy with just electronic communication and I ‘ll never understand how some couples  do it, unless they have a lot of “face time”.

    I text friends pretty often but that’s different from someone I’m considering to be my boyfriend. It just feels really dry and unromantic for a guy to only text me and ask me on dates via text.  I don’t feel the need to speak on the phone every single day, possibly due to my introverted inclined nature but text only feels bad.

     Unfortunately these days, texting is more common than ever. 95% of the men I meet only want to text me and when I suggest otherwise (in a flirty manner), they act as if 1. it’s too much of a chore to call me,  2. they will say ok and then not do it, then come back with more texts. 3.   they use some excuse as to why they can’t call me and go back to texting.

     Most women these days seem to be ok with/prefer  texting too which is why most men do it.  Oh well, I refuse to accept it, so I may go dateless for another few years with barely any  guys willing to pick up the phone and call me for a first date.

  23. 173
    Kelsey

    Geez there’s a lot of hate for texting. I love texting because it gives me time to think out my responses. Also it’s a great way to weed out guys. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t ignored or turned down a guy because of a badly spelled or grammatically-incorrect text. Or worse several bombardments of texts when I’ve texted you once can be a sign of desperation.  Also, to the woman writing in, why aren’t you picking up the phone and calling the guys texting you? If they don’t pick it up and only text you back, that tells you something.  If they pick up and actually have that 5 minute conversation, that’s another direction entirely. For what it’s worth I’m 25. 

  24. 174
    Bryan

    I love to talk on the phone and that’s my preferred method of communication.  I’ve been talking to someone who lives in another state and she seems to want to text more than talk on the phone. 

  25. 175
    Corey

    I felt the need to say our (or rather my) side of this topic, and that is that not everyone thinks texting is for the illiterate horndogs. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m not the kind of person who has sex partners but it is really offensive to say that everyone who texts is lazy and uninterested.

    There are so many things wrong with that statement, and I will try to list as many as anyone cares to read (they won’t, this is the internet.)

    Please though, if you have an open mind, take these into consideration… (also I’m 24 so I grew up with texting.)

    1st.) Texting is for the illiterate… WRONG! I have a 4.0 GPA and am working towards a degree in physics, not to brag but I’m FAR from illiterate. It takes a great deal of comprehension to understand a physics textbook.
    The correct phrase should be “Texting is for the literate” because texting literally is just words, which requires literacy. 

    2nd.) Texting is lazy… This one is much more offensive. There are so many reasons to text instead of calling. For example, I will list all the times you should text and not call: during dinner (don’t talk with your mouth full), at work (even though you should be working, some people actually love their girlfriend enough to want to always hear from them), in places where it is disrespectful to be loud (library, bathroom, subway, restaurants, etcetera), and pretty much anytime you need one of your hands (you can’t be holding your phone 24 hrs a day.)
    Maybe it’s the fact that I prefer face to face conversation over phone calls and I usually text to let them know I’m free to hang out. Or maybe it’s the fact that if I tried to call a girl as much as I text her, A.) my phone would be dead every day before noon, and B.) I would never be able to use my other hand. Maybe you had a bad experience, but don’t you think that’s the guy’s fault, not technology?

    3.)  “You send a text when you don’t want to talk to someone…” this doesn’t even make sense. So the couple hundred messages a day I would send to my girlfriend is because I don’t want to talk to her??? See above where I mention that it is just not practical to have your phone glued to your head all day due to battery life and the fact that you will eventually need your other hand. 

    Texting enables just the opposite of everything you said. It allows a transcript of some of the most beautiful conversations I’ve had outside of face to face interaction, it enables me to talk to my soul-mate ALL DAY without running out of battery. Texting enables me to have a CLOSER relationship because I can talk to my girl anytime, not just on break at work or when I’m at home, but ALL THE TIME!

    Maybe you’re just not used to being in love with someone. When you’re in love, it doesn’t matter whether it’s an email, phone call, video chat, IM, or text message. All that matters is the fact that you can talk to your beloved any time.  

    I know it’s easy to hate texting and blame it for a guy’s terrible behavior, but don’t you think if these guys stopped texting, they would still only call to say “Hey let’s have sex!”

    The problem is not texting, it’s the guy’s you dated… Don’t blame texting because you only have sex partners… When you find real love, that attitude will change real quick because the medium doesn’t matter. I was in love once, and not once did she ever tell me I text her too much and I need to call instead. Again, the medium doesn’t matter, the content of the message does, and if it’s real love, it will show, even in a text. (Then again, unlike most men, I actually enjoyed talking to my girlfriend, there was no one else in the world I’d rather have been with.)

    1. 175.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You were born in 1990. Texting is like breathing to you. Grown-ups tend to prefer real communication, with, like, voices and stuff.

  26. 176
    Henriette

    @175:  “the couple hundred messages a day I would send to my girlfriend…”
     
    *dead*

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