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?


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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  1. 61

    Oh, and I freaked out this afternoon when a guy called me to ask me how’s my day and tried to ask me out. Specially when I have no interest to see him at all.

  2. 62

    I looked through the comments in disbelief till I found #25 and nodded in agreement. I’m the same age as Jeannie #25, a recently divorced mother of two teenage kids, with a full-time job, parents living nearby, a dog, and a house that the kids and I have just moved into, plus some hobbies, friends and social life. To be honest, regular phone calls from a guy, with zero minutes notice, would probably feel like a leash and a collar to me. “Hi, I’m Joe, please drop everything you’re doing so we can chat. Repeat daily.” This, to me, is no different from Joe dropping by my house unannounced on a regular basis, because he misses me and wants to talk. Like someone above said… suffocating.
    Maybe this has something to do with the fact that, for the first thirty years of my life, I didn’t have a phone at home, and we only used the pay phone for emergencies. Or maybe my sons just got me used to texting.
    Or maybe that, for my phone plan, unlimited texting is way way cheaper than unlimited minutes, and I can afford one but not the other.
    Either way, like many others on this thread, I don’t consider texting rude or lazy. To me, it’s rather a way of giving the other person enough space while still staying in touch.

  3. 63

    its just a different efficient way of communication.. i would text my girl just to say that i miss her or if there is any changes in plans we made to meet in the evening for eg after we just discuss it over the phone… when im at work and busy, i would rather send a quick text regarding sumthing rather than callin.. it doesn’t mean that she aint worth me calling her.. its just different circumstances ppl might be in..
    there are definitely other ways of finding out if a guy is genuinely interested in you rather then raising your eyebrows and saying “oooh” when you receive a txt from your guy.. lol..
    take a chill pill ladies.. dont think too hard.. 😉

  4. 64

    It is apparent women can never be pleased,they’re always analyzing everything to death…if the guy calls too much,too little,etc etc^

  5. 65

    #64 Joe, a guy I’d met online called me once with no warning. I seriously tried my best to carry on a conversation, but we’d just moved into our house two days before, and everyone was busy unpacking. Poor guy had to listen to all sorts of things going on in the background: my parents asking me questions, my kids coming to me with urgent problems, the dog barking… I’m running up and down the stairs as I talk to him, telling him not to worry, I’ll try to have a chat with him as best I can… He gave up pretty quickly 😀
    I think it’s pretty safe to say that, unless you live alone, a lengthy, heartfelt 🙂 phone conversation is a huge deal, something that needs to be scheduled in advance, and even then, family emergencies can happen that will make you unable to talk at your scheduled time. You don’t really have to analyze everything to death to see that – it’s just logical. Now I get it that a lot of guys prefer a woman that doesn’t have kids and dogs and parents running around, and is available to talk on the phone anytime for however long. I realize that someone like myself won’t probably be a good fit for those guys, and I’m cool with that. I can still find enough people that understand my situation (being in the same boat themselves), and prefer texting 😉

  6. 66

    Why didn’t you just tell the guy you were in the middle of unpacking from your move and you’d call him later to chat when you got settled in? I hate people trying to talk to me when they are clearly involved in numerous other things and really can’t give much attention to our conversation.  I consider it rude.

  7. 67

    I did. He still wanted to talk. Not only that, I’d told him a number of times previously that I would be moving that weekend. He still called. I guess he had nothing else to do that weekend, so he figured, what the heck! I’m bored, I’ll give her a call 😉 Problem is, if he’d called on any other day, he’d have gotten pretty much the same response. That’s just the life I live. I’ve got a lot going on. If you want to have an hour-long phone conversation with me about nothing, schedule it in advance or it ain’t happening. If you hate it so much, then call someone else with a lot of time on their hands.
    In fact, speaking of what’s rude and what’s polite, when I call my friends, the first thing out of my mouth after “hi” is “Can you talk?” Half the time they say no, they’re busy. I know my friends have busy lives, and I’m not about to assume they’re just sitting around the house, waiting for their phone to ring.

  8. 68

    Thanks Evan!  This question was on my mind.  Dating great guy who i have an amazing time with.  Problem is, he hardly ever calls.  He’s never called me after a date, he waits a couple of days and then sends a text.  Worst thing, he’ll send a text to tell me that he’ll call during the week and then doesn’t.  I’m like, what the heck?  Why even bother to tell me that he’ll call?l…  Finally figured that even though he’s a great guy, he’s just not that into me; I on the other hand am and so I’m going to take a bow.

  9. 69

    I was so frustrated with texting that I just don’t respond to them!  I just vented about it on my blog… could not help but be really annoyed.

  10. 70

    I’m having a pretty exhilarating text conversation right now, as we both make dinner and take care of our respective kids and pets. Works very well for me 😀

  11. 71


    Curious how you *type* and do those other things at the same time – do you possess an extra set of hands?

  12. 72

    I think this whole thing is kind of funny now. I remember reading this and the comments shortly before I started seeing a guy a few months back. He never called, only texts. Even if he said he’ll call, he’d text instead. This kind of bothered me, but at the same time I talk on the phone for 8 hrs/day for my job. So the last thing I want to do is talk on the phone when I get home. I’d think about this particular blog during that time. Turned out though, this instance, he really wasn’t into me and broke it off through text message 😛 

  13. 73
    Willie Pays

    Listen up folks and youngins….texting is supposed to be supplemental, not to be your main conversation. All you dudes and women who ONLY prefer to text, lack social skills and communication skills. It signals that you lack confidence in speaking in front of people or that you are unsure of what you’re going to say. Maybe some of you are shy, thats okay. But if you don’t learn to speak up, and be a man and make the phone call instead of sending a text, you’re not going to get any quality women or women with a high self esteem.
    The age doesn’t matter. If I was a woman, I would not allow a dude to only text me. It means he’s either shy, lacks confidence, lacks balls, is hiding something or is not that into you. People who text all day bring up a serious red flag. They need to be loved or they need constant phone attention. People who use their phone as a crutch are serious red flags. Believe I know what I’m talking about. Don’t we see when people who are by themselves and they’re fake texting or acting like they are on the phone? Lol. They are uncomfortable being by themselves.
    Like I said everything is supposed to be done in moderation. Dudes are NOT to supposed to set up dates through text. Texting is for short conversations and quick messages that dont require phone use. Why are some of you taking the time out of your “busy” life to spend all day on dating sites then say you don’t have time to talk on the phone…How do you expect to go out on dates?
    number 52 said “why talk on the phone so often when you can see one in person”? Lmao….why text so often if you can see her in person? the statement doesn’t make sense at all. I guess he needs to analyze statements and questions cause he can’t think of his feet. Texting is impersonal. Its supposed to aid communication not be the primary source of it.

  14. 74
    Karl R

    Willie Pays said: (#73)
    “Don’t we see when people who are by themselves and they’re fake texting or acting like they are on the phone?”

    I’ve never seen someone faking texting or acting like they’re on the phone. Maybe I don’t pay enough attention. Or maybe I don’t assume I know enough to know what they’re doing with their phone.

    When I’m bored, I might browse the internet, type a long email, look at my photo album, play a game … all things that can be done on my cell phone. What indicates that someone is “faking” texting, instead of really doing something else?

  15. 75

    #71 Selena, well I pick up the phone, type a message, hit send, and go back to what I was doing. If I was talking on the phone, then I’d need an extra set of hands.
    It also really helps that my kids cannot overhear my romantic convos in our small house. Or that I don’t have to pay extra for going over my minutes. Works for me.
    #73 ahh where do I begin. First of all, if age has nothing to do with it, then why is it teenagers hardly ever talk on the phone anymore?
    ” But if you don’t learn to speak up, and be a man and make the phone call instead of sending a text, you’re not going to get any quality women or women with a high self esteem.” I’m not even going to comment on this, this is so random.
    ” Don’t we see when people who are by themselves and they’re fake texting or acting like they are on the phone?” – what? No, we don’t. Who are these people? Are they the same people that “spend all day on dating sites then say you don’t have time to talk on the phone”?
    “How do you expect to go out on dates?” – um, not every night?
    “Texting is impersonal. Its supposed to aid communication not be the primary source of it.” – talking on the phone is impersonal. You cannot see the other person’s facial expressions or come into physical contact. Dating online is impersonal. All you see is people’s photos and profiles and you cannot even tell if any of those are real. What’re we going to do about it? That’s the world we live in.
    Can we all just agree that, if a source of communication works for me and my partner, and does not bother other people, then it is okay for us to continue to communicate in this way, and let others communicate in whichever way they prefer? Naturally, everyone prefers meeting in person. Other than that, I’d say we’re free to choose as we please.

  16. 76

    Texting is fine with me as long as the other person picks up the phone. Especially if its a romatic interest. I’m a female in  and i date younger guys and all they want to do is send me a text message. So is this a generational thing or what? One guy did both call and text. but this last one only wants to text.

  17. 77
    Willie Pays

    teenagers like to text because a lot of times its their only source of communication available. When I said age has nothing to do with it, I was referring to social and communication skills that go along with ONLY texting.
    I’m guessing you never heard a person yell and scream on a phone or talk overtly loud just for people to hear their conversation. Maybe you just haven’t been in enough situations where young people are and breakout their phone to appear like they have something to do with their phone. It happens because I’ve seen it, people told me, and have called people on it. SOME people use their phone as a crutch is the main driving point. But I guess you were focused on the that little part of people “fake texting” that you didn’t understand the bigger picture of using the phone as a crutch.
    Texting on the phone is more impersonal than talking on the phone. At least you can hear the person’s voice when on the phone. I think you took that out of context to fit your ideology of its all impersonal communication as if everything is on the same plane. Texting is a cowards way out for men to set up dates. That was the main focal point. Talking on the phone while impersonal, is the next best thing. If a guy is afraid to open up his mouth piece and ask a woman for a date, how is he going to be equally adept at having a face to face conversation?
    If couples only want to text and not talk on the phone thats fine. But what I’m saying applies as a general rule.

  18. 78

    @Willie #77 ” Maybe you just haven’t been in enough situations where young people are..”
    I have a 15yo and a 17yo. Let’s go easy on the assumptions here, shall we? 😉
    “If a guy is afraid to open up his mouth piece and ask a woman for a date, how is he going to be equally adept at having a face to face conversation?”
    Oh, you’ll be surprised 🙂 again with the assumptions, I see.
    “I’m guessing you never heard a person yell and scream on a phone or talk overtly loud just for people to hear their conversation.”
    So what I’m hearing here is, texting affords more privacy for those of us who don’t have a time/place when they can be completely alone with a lot of time on their hands to talk, and without fear of being overheard. My point exactly.

  19. 79
    Willie Pays

    having a 15 yr old and a 17 yr old doesn’t mean you are around young people, you’re just obligated to take care of your kids.
    Texting is just another way to communicate…that’s your own inference about texting being more about privacy and fear of being overheard….I never alluded or came to that conclusion. your hang up not mine.

  20. 80

    “I never alluded or came to that conclusion. your hang up not mine.”
    Heh, I know, my comment was sarcastic in part. That said, acknowledging that different people have different lifestyles and hence different ways of communication that suit them best, is, IMO, not a hangup. But hey, I already get it that you want everyone to fit your mold and play by your rules. If that works for you, fine. I’m going to end this discussion now, I have already said everything I wanted to.

  21. 81

    To put what I am about to say into context, I am 22, so there is a very good chance my comment will be somewhat biased toward an earlier end of the dating spectrum.  That being said, there is a large population of the dating public for whom texting has become the primary means of social communication (aside from facebook, of course).  It has become a social norm.  Anyone who has any experience with the study of social psychology knows that going against social norms is detrimental to mating behaviour.  To relate this concept to the current post, this means that a given person’s aversion to text messaging severely limits their dating possibilities.  You could be missing out on a great relationship with a funny, interesting, all-around attractive person simply because you do not want to learn how to flirt via IM.  Alternatively, someone else might miss out on the bounty of love that you have to offer merely because they have learned that dating works a specific way.  I am not usually one to be blunt, but it sounds like the majority of people here either need a dating paradigm shift that corresponds to societal shift in dating, or they need to come to terms with the fact that they may be holding out for a while and missing out on some great experiences.  Seems a pretty steep price for the sacrifice of a “five minute phone call”.
    tl;dr Society is changing, so put up or shut up 🙂

  22. 82

    I truly appreciate you, MEK!  You really hit the nail on the head with this one.  I am with a man who is decent, sweet, hardworking, honest and trustworthy (did I mention HOT?) … but not the greatest communicator.  I was wondering lately if this is something that I’ll be able to live with or not.  Thanks for putting things in perspective and reminding me that I am ultimately in the driver’s seat.  🙂

  23. 83

    Oooops… I meant, “EMK” 🙂

  24. 84

    WOW!  This information really got under my skin when I read this, especially when I read this part:  “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.”

    As sad and unfortunate it is, I have to agree with this.  I believe that women make things way to easy for men when it comes to love, sex, and relationships, to the point where she’ll lower her morals, standards, and values in order to get him, and keep him.  And she thinks he’s OK with it, and really he’s not.  Yes, he’ll take it first hand, but when he’s ready for a serious relationship to include marriage and family, she’s not the one she chooses.

    WOW is all I can say … thank you so much for sharing this with us.  It encouraged me to STOP texting my male friend and now I will call him and leave a vm, so that he’ll hear my voice instead. I want to do for him what I want him to do for me. :^)

  25. 85
    Kurt S.

    I agree that texting is kind of annoying – I would prefer to talk on the phone instead of texting.  I have a guy friend who asks women out for a second (or sometimes) first date via text.  I tried to convince him that most women will appreciate a phone call instead of a text and that phoning won’t make him look bad in the eyes of the woman, but he does his own thing.

  26. 86
    S. King

    @Ariel (35):
    What about ladies who don’t pick calls:
    Ladies who don’t pick calls = chronic “Multi”taskers

  27. 87

    This guy (32) that I met a few months back, asked me out on a first date via text… on our first date, ask me for a 2nd, in person which I thought was nice.  After that tho… he texts me every now and then…and asked the other day (via text, of course) when he could see me again… I am becoming less interested because of it.  I would love knowing that someone is into me enough to want to hear my voice, and talk about my day, week, whatever… I don’t mind texting, but in the beginning of a dating relationship? how lazy and impersonal.  When I’m just starting to date someone, I would like to know that I am worth a damn phone call.  It shows interest, what can you learn about someone in a text?  Come on, guys.  Texting is okay, if it’s kept short and sweet.. but when you are interested in someone and want to know them better, don’t you want to hear them laugh vs. lol?  It’s so impersonal, regardless if it’s the ‘way of the world’ now.  Bring phone calls back, at least in the beginning of a dating relationship.  I agree, if I’m not worth 5 minutes of phone conversation every now and then, you’re not worth 5 seconds of texting.  What happened to laughing and having phone conversations with someone until the wee hours of the morning… I remember that, and we’ve lost something very personal, fun, and worth taking 5 minutes for… It’s a generation of convenience, not necessarily something to be proud of.  And if you’re always that busy…really?  It goes to show how unimportant we are making our personal relationships.  I would hate to see the divorce rate another 5-10 years from now…it’s a generation of convenience and instant gratification (emails, IM’s) take time to ‘smell the flowers’, and pick up the darn phone every now and then… I would love to hear the person on the other end of that text… would love to hear their laugh, their silence… everything.. it is how you get to know someone… hmm… why have sex with someone when you can sext? is that what’s next in your generation?  please.  Texting is good for short and sweet, not something as exciting and personal as getting to know someone… text could easily be misinterpreted, etc… Men… pick up the phone, that goes for the ladies too!  If you’re not sure when the person is available to talk… send a quick text.. “when is a good time to CALL you?”, or “I don’t mind texting, but I’d much rather hear from you, give me a call…” gee..how hard is that??

  28. 88

    #87 Dawn

    I feel your pain and agree with you in regard to your comments about texting!  The thing about men is they will get away with what they are allowed to get away with.  What they DO shows his level of interest; men know perfectly well that texting is lazy and impersonal.  He just doesn’t feel like putting any more effort in by calling which is telegraphing his level of interest in a relationship. 

    It’s up to us women to set our boundaries on what we’re willing to accept or not accept, then communicate those boundaries and let the chips fall where they may.  Whether it’s FWB or communicating via text. 

    I’ve been in this situation before.  What I finally decided to do was to nicely say “I appreciate you keeping in touch, but I prefer talking over the phone rather than texting.  Please give me a call when it’s convenient, I looking forward to hearing your voice!”

    -If he calls, then I know he respects my preferences and is interested in me, and we take it from there.

    -If he refuses to call and keeps texting (I’ve had this happen), then I stop answering the texts. 

  29. 89

    I recently met someone who has only called once, we had a long and nice conversation, and hung out once so far after that..since then he texts ALL the time….thats it! He asked me out for date number 2 via text! I have made several comments and hinted that its not my style of primary communication but he just dont seem to get it…today he texted me with a ‘good morning beautiful etc. blah blah blah…my response  was ” lovely message  BUT I will no longer be texting with you unless and untill you make a legitimate  attempt to get to know me!

  30. 90

    #89 Jewell

    Awesome, I would have done the same thing!  Now just stick to your guns…you have a good boundary.

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