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. 121
    Warren Unterreiner

    Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more clear from this post. I’m very glad to see such wonderful info being shared freely out there.

  2. 122
    Tiffany N. York

    I just told a guy I had been seeing casually sayanara for this very same reason. I get that people are busy. Hey, I’m a single mother taking care of everything on my own. But if I’m into you, I make the time to text you back. Maybe not immediately, but within the next few hours. I would text this guy in the am, maybe asking him a question, and sometimes he wouldn’t respond until 11pm at night.

    You can’t tell me you don’t have 5 seconds to respond in the middle of the day. It is simply rude and inconsiderate. There are two kinds of people: those who respond in a timely manner to texts and those who don’t. If you’re not with “your kind” then you wind up being constantly frustrated.

  3. 123

    This is both sad and pathetic. I may be wrong in this assumption but I’m pretty sure the phone works both ways. If women want to be confident and independent then they shouldn’t be complaining about not getting five minute phone calls and instead an occasional text from someone they just met on Match.com. Acting in such a behavior is conforming to gender roles and adhering to typical double standards that state men should court and win over a females heart. I have a heart too and nothing makes me love my girlfriend more than her passion and devotion to me; that of which I share with her as well. The key to happiness lies within your own virtues so imagine how he would feel if he knew how you reacted towards him. If he didn’t stop talking to you I bet he would be distant. If you want him to call you give him a reason because right now the only thing you’re doing is giving him a reason to leave.
    Devil’s advocate:
    That being said always keep your guard up because humans are cruel. Be it man or woman don’t ever let your biggest weakness open. Guard your heart! Show him you’re worth it but dont just give it away either. Best of luck to you.

  4. 124

    I think it’s a generational things. I find I prefer face to face over phone but text over phone. As a female, I can say I see no issue with him. Why not just tell them how you feel? But I do agree that is looks weird if you’re in a serious relationship and all you get are texts. Also, why wait for the guy to always make the first move?Why not just call him and let him know that is your preferred method of communication?

  5. 125

    I guess I must be in that “lazy” category.
    Texting and email were godsends for me.
    Have no problem talking face to face but I have always disliked talking on the phone. 

    Even my family and friends are contacted 99% by email and text.
    I just accept the fact that if a woman prefers a lot of phone conversation them obviously i am not the one for her.

  6. 126

    @Willie Pays #73 & #77
    Denigrating and insulting people for using a certain type of communication other than how you think it should be used seems to be an indicator of the same lack of communication and social skills that you mention.

    Mainly that of having a differing viewpoint without having to resort to calling names.  Ring a Bell?

  7. 127

    When it comes to love there are no hard and fast rules!  I’ve had phone callers and texters who converted to phone callers….  I once dated a guy and we instant messaged for a week before our date – he then called to ask me out and we instant messaged for almost 4 months before we saw each other again because of work, being out of state and we were dating other people.  During that time we got to know each other extremely well and basically went ga ga for each other.  Now we text, call, IM, have sex, date and are obsessed with one another – and we’re exclusive!  So, each couple has to decide for themselves what is best for them!  Texting and IMing don’t have to be evil – they can be incorporated into any relationship if done the right way

  8. 128

    What’s about deaf people, we rely on texting even we are unable to use the phone. It’s more harder for us as texting can be impersonal and you can’t really see or hear what the other person is feeling. If I knew, Id be writing a book on that to help others! So far it’s all guesswork….

  9. 129

    What I hate about texting is that a lot of men wind up trying to turn a “hey how r u?” text into a date via text msg. Wherein you basically have all this back and forth and banter and getting to know you stuff without the effort of actually being in person and while they could be doing this with 10 other girls. I firmly believe that this is done to build trust/familiarity to make it easier / quicker to get a woman into bed.
    I will definitely take my blame in it because they are only able to waste hrs of my time texting because I respond. And while I’d love to defend my txt involvement by saying that I got excited b/c a guy I like texted me, I have to take responsibility and say that I should have said a few txt back and forth of “I’m fine and you, etc” and then end quickly with “I’m really glad you reached out or it was great hearing from you but I can’t txt right now, ttyl” Or something like that.
    And honestly, I am so fed up with txting that I am honestly going to go that route from now on. No hard line in the sand, just say: glad you texted but I am busy. If they want to talk to me, they can call to chat or take me on a date. I have accepted the fact that date ask-outs come via txt these days so i accept it but no more quasi/virtual date via txt. It is bs and as they say “text (I mean talk) is cheap.”

  10. 130

    @JS For real?  A text message conversation takes less effort than a face to face? Considering how slow it is, and how many facets of communication are lost in text alone, I agree with that at all. Call them back if they respond to your first response and tell them you would rather talk.  You will quickly learn if they are just wasting your time. Your method leaves you hanging.

  11. 131

    @ Tim, #123
    well, i’m one the girls who wouldn’t sit and wait, i picked the phone a talked 3-5 min just to hear the voice (long distance relationship). after couple month i’ve realized that it’s only me making calls, he prefers text or chat, even after i’ve expressed my feeling of disconnection.
    and making a phone call now makes me feel like i’m begging for the attention.
    so much for phone working both ways.

  12. 132

    The opposite can go for women. Why the eff don’t women have the effin common so SIMPLE COURTESY to call men BACK!!!! So many men get so baffeled at why the eff women don’t simply pick up the effin phone and tell him I’m interested or I’m not interested. Simple AS THAT!! Especially the I’m not INTERESTED PART!!! Lots of single women must like pi**ing off men when you single women don’t answer your damn phone and play that childish effed up no answer game!!! Answer the effin phone or text him back !!! It takes two effin seconds to say your busy, your not interested, will talk later but just SOMETHING!!!!!!! 

  13. 133

    ” Understand this about men: they will usually do the least that they can to maintain their relationship.”
    I understand and agree this theory… So what if the guy calls for a second date right away but doesn’t keep in touch for most of the rest of the week? For example at the beginning of the week, a new guy called me to reschedule our second date. We’re going out next weekend. That shows interest; the part I’m stuck on is he said he’d call me again later this week and didn’t. I’m not distraught over it since he put a lot of thought into planning the date. but just don’t wanna make that sort of pattern ok. is it too soon to assume that he’s not gonna pursue me harder?

    I don’t accept texting as a sole/main form of communication while dating and I especially wouldn’t once sex is involved. When convos go on too long through text, I selectively reply and end the convo flirtatiously. it inspires them to pick up the phone sometimes. But overall lack of contact during the week seems to be an issue for me in online dating and I’m confused about how to handle it.. The ones I meet aren’t good w/keeping in touch, but from the beginning they do make plans to see me again either on the date or 1 day after. But after the date is set, I either 1. hardly hear from them during the week 2. don’t hear from them at all until the 2nd date or 3. they mainly text during the week until I do what mentioned earlier

  14. 134

    I am 54 and getting used to the texting thing, especially when dating, and if the only reason as some blogg said men do it just to keep sleeping with you, well I do not have a problem with that because it will still be my choice if I want to sleep with them or not, and if I decide yes then everyone has fun. So where is the harm.
    However many men have said that they are sick and tired of being judged as though it is all about sex, sometimes it is and sometimes it’s to go out with someone and sex is not even that important. However many woman never call or text but wait for them to do it all, and leaves them wondering if the woman really likes them at all.. Food for thought.

  15. 135

    Texting – I could not stop laughing at most of the comments regarding texting, sexting and non-verbal communication with IM’s and emails. I am blown away at just how stupid people really are in this world. Some of the comments about dating and asking the guy/woman out on the first date via a text or continued conversations via text because you are so-called busy with a million things during the day or you have a home you own and a dog, a cat a drunk uncle and two kids that don’t go to school because one is in jail for internet piracy and the other is too busy playing computer games and texting all day…you get my point, if you want to date someone then use your VOICE, lips mouth and form words morons. I don’t want to hear about ages or styles of communication. The bottom line is if you have absolutely no f’en social skills (not social networking skills where you add 2 thousand friends on FB and have no idea who they are.) just be natural, and live in the reality of the REAL WORLD. Communication is simple so form a few words and follow after me by saying Hello with your mouth. Now wasn’t that easy? I hope the 20 and 30 somethings of the world will practice speaking using their gift of verbal speech…I know it is difficult and you have a hard time say just a simple word like CAT but trust me if you use a small amount of your brain power you will be able to do it. ~~Life life in the real world of human to human interaction and not through a digital feed of binary codes in hopes of becoming something you are not and/or or never will be.~~Marc

  16. 136

    I’m in my late 20s and feel like I’m in the minority in my age group. I think texting is good when you can’t talk or for flirty mesages as mentioned in the original post. It should add to dating communcation, not  replacing face to face or phone calls..  All of the men I meet (majority online) like to text over calling but it’s because it’s what women allow.  I even had one who I was friends with for a few months one day ask me out through a Facebook message!  And I asked him to call me. When he called he said “wow I’m not used to a woman asking me to call her”. And I told him I feel weird about being asked out through e-communication.  

    But most of the time when I try to ask a guy to call me instead of text in a flirtatious manner (like the one in the blog post), he usually  says he will then doesn’t call and resumes texting.  So I just ignore them when they do this until they pick up the  phone. I don’t need to be on the phone all day with any guy but if you want to court me and aren’t willing to pick up the phone every now and then, not even for a 5 to 15 min phone call, I can’t take your interest seriously.  End of story. All the men who act like it’s a chore to pick up the phone because they claim they aren’t a “phone person”, shouldn’t be surprised if a woman decides to dump them through an email or text message then.  Likewise for the women who feel that way.

  17. 137

    “If you don’t respond to texts, guess what? You’re letting him know that it’s a poor way to reach you”  I’m quoting you!

    Can you tell me if this is true?  My guy is a real texter and I have stopped responding to his silly texts.  Will it make me more desirable?    

  18. 138

    Well I do not text. This is because I live in a place the size of a large village where I can knock on someone’s door if I want to know what’s going on. I hardly have my mobile phone switched on either, because I only use it mainly as an alternative means of contact (if not around my land-line). So I fully admit to not being very into technology. If I text all I want to know is what, where, when and how. I don’t use it for conversation. That’s something most people find hard to fathom and  I don’t blame them. Hmm perhaps this is a problem in dating. But if it conveniently filters out men who don’t make much effort then great. I want my human contact to be as real as possible. If I can’t see someone in person, then a phone call or skype is the next best thing.

    As for the men here complaining about women not making an effort and getting back to them…well I agree that it has to work both ways. I don’t follow dating game rules regarding calling people. If I want to call someone because I enjoyed spending time with them, then I will call them. If they decide that they don’t like it then that’s their problem. And I’m not a stalker. I won’t call them over and over again and I have a busy calendar. I believe that life is too short and if someone means that much to me, I won’t let awkwardness get in the way. Furthermore, I do not initiate contact with men I do not fancy and will let a person know if they clearly like me but feelings are not reciprocated. I expect the same in return.

    With the last ex, we’d argue about the fact that we were long-distance and I wanted to skype call him so I could  hear his voice and see his face, and it was difficult not seeing him in person. But he would not budge even though I pointed out that it upset me and I was crying about it. In the end it contributed to me losing interest in him because what’s a relationship if it’s simply words on a screen? I can compromise and have done in the past. However the men I’ve encountered are fairly rigid and it was their way or else when it came to communicating. I had another ex who’d get really angry at me if I called him to ask him how he was. Maybe communication is the first means through which those kinds of people operate their control. Or maybe differences in communication are really that important…

  19. 139

    I’m in my forties, and a woman and I text my boyfriend a lot *hangs head*. However, we don’t have deep discussions or arguments or relationship talks via text.  It’s more “thinking of you”, “I can see a rainbow!” “I can see your house from here”.  it’s not that he is phone phobic. He will spend hour on the phone with his family and friends (male and female).  It’s me that likes texting.
    HOWEVER, we see each other at least twice a week on dates and another two times a week at least at church.  And I have no fear of picking up the phone if I want to speak to him (apart from busting my call plan).
    If you don’t want to conduct a relationship via text then say so. Ignoring his/her texts or hinting isn’t going to get the msg across.  Once you’ve got the msg across and he/she doesn’t heed it, then make a decision as to whether you can accept  it.
    Oh yeah, and I identify with terence above – I detest voicemail.
    And D ”  My guy is a real texter and I have stopped responding to his silly texts.  Will it make me more desirable?”  Playing hard to get/unavailable does trigger a chase response in certain men. But they may not be the men you want. Playing games is not what relationships are about.  You’re supposed to be working towards a loving and supportive relationship (assuming you are), not trying to prove who cares the least.

  20. 140

    At first texting seemed fun with my bf. We’d text throughout the day about nothing. But after we were together for a year and started to have arguements via text, that’s when I demanded we TALK on the phone instead when we had something pressing to say. Texting someone during an argument is frustrating and impersonal. I asked my bf to call instead of text whenever things get heated bc I can’t read his tone or see facial expressions thru text. This can lead to reading the other person wrong and your thoughts come out faster than you can text. By then my bf ends up getting so upset and frustrated from texting that he refuses to cal!
    So in short….I think texting can be convenient when youre too busy to talk. Its also good for small chatter and for fun flirty stuff. But if you have something important to discuss then pick up the phone and CALL!l

  21. 141
    David T

    Amen, firefly. Amen.  Text/email etc. loses a lot. For anything important or potentially stressing, talk, face to face if possible.

  22. 142

    Come on, are u all that important and that busy that you can’t pick up the phone a fee times a week while dating someone? It’s such a pathetic excuse. Texting is more for when you’re running late, confirming a time, etc. Not for building intimacy, and getting to know one another. And unless we’re all 13 years old, pick up the damn phone. Texting a ‘conversation’ is immature, avoiding intimacy, and it’s just really not giving a damn about that relationship too much. It would take less time to have a 5 minute phone conversation (umm… Actually hearing the persons voice rather than the stupid tapping sounds of texting), then taking the effort to text a semi-conversation.

    It’s not about being old school, ‘Generation-whatever’, it’s about not being 13… And being Considerate, and having the decency and balls to just pick up the phone if you really want to create something more meaningful w someone. It’s respect. Texting is lazy communication if it’s the only means of communication starting a relationship. If they don’t have the time to pick up the phone a reasonable amount of times during the week to ‘talk’ to you. You don’t have time for them. Period.

  23. 143
    David T

    My 2¢
    I almost always try to call because voice is faster and more complete communication, but I only get an answer one time in two or three.  I will often send a text after an attempted call instead of leaving a voicemail.  It used to really irritate me when folks (dating prospects AND friends and relatives) would not answer their phones, until I recently went through the last few weeks of my recent incoming calls, and you know what?  I only answer about 1/3 of them! I am not trying to screen them; I think it is just a matter of not being tethered to my phone. Now I have decided that this is just the nature of cell phones for most people.
    I dislike calling someone over and over and not getting through. What is the other person going to think if they see 5 missed calls from me? I suspect a lot of people feel the same way, so unless you are one of the rare people who almost always answer your phone, or at least acknowledge a missed calls with a return call or a text within a day, then you have to expect receive text messages.
    If someone is ONLY using text and never even suggesting in the text messages, “hey, lets talk” then they are hiding from real conversation. Especially in the early parts of a relationship where rapid fire eager conversation is the norm, this is a bad sign.
    There is a place for text/IM and email.  It lets me really think through what I am feeling and what I want to say. Nevertheless, the opportunities for misunderstanding when no intonations and body language and smiles etc. are available to complete the communication make it very risky for anything important.  Probably better is to write an email…and then call them up and talk about your thoughts!

  24. 144
    Michael Spenceley

    Women do the same thing in regards to texting. But if a man want’s to show a woman that he is confident (which is something that women find most desirable in a man) then he shouldn’t be hiding behind a text message. Get on the phone and call her or talk to her facfe to face.

  25. 145

    @ Marymary, are we the same person? 🙂 I’m exactly the same way. As long as I get enough face time, texting is okay with me. Allows us to keep in touch during the day without getting on the phone in front of coworkers, family, or (heaven forbid) while driving. Because you never know where that phone call is going to catch you! I guess this is what I like the most about texts, that I (and my partner) can read and reply to them at our convenience, not as soon as they come in, as it would be with a call.
    Have to warn all us texters, though – it is very easy to send a text to the wrong person. It’s pretty much impossible to have a phone conversation with the wrong person. So be careful. Luckily in my case, I only confused my bf with my son, and sent the bf a text asking if he wanted to apply for work at a local fast-food restaurant, as they seemed to be hiring.

  26. 146

    LOL @ Goldie.  So true about the potential for texts to the wrong person.
    I ran into the text abuse problem in a recent long distance relationship.  His emotional detachment became clear after we spent more time in person and on the phone.  He was a different person over text, than over the phone, skype or in person.  He could open up a lot more emotionally.  And I am still not sure whether it’s anxiety, emotional issues or that I was being played.  Either way, our relationship is now on the rocks, and it is a damn shame because he had promise when we started this thing.
    I went out with another man recently, who promptly discussed his aversion to texts with me.  I was so on board with that.  He won a ton of points with me. 

  27. 147

    LOVE THIS EVAN YOU ARE A GOD!! Lol. I cannot stand incessant texting and I will tell a guy this STRAIGHT UP. What gets me the most are the ones that will text back and forth for over an hour. SERIOUSLY??!! If you have that that much to say, PICK UP THE PHONE! After a certain amount of back and forth I will say this explicitly.
    Texting is so impersonal and should be for only statements that require brevity. Besides spending time with someone in person, how else will you really get to know someone and develop intimacy with lack of communication? I have a zero tolerance policy and I let it be known from the beginning. I recently met a guy who seemed nice and we started off talking on the phone, eventually that turned into text only, after I expressed my sentiments about never-ended texting, communication dwindled and I wasn’t one bit sad about it. You get out what you put into things!

  28. 148

    i 100 percent agree with most of you… when i don’t get a txt within 24 hrs from who ever im dating .. i go into basket case mode thinking he is cheating on me or playing me.. could be both ..
    for example i thought i was recently  dating this guy who even told me im his girl friend.. and in the last 24 hrs i head nothing from him… i normally will hear at least a few txts during the day or at night.. i understand he works at nights tooo but he normally txts me when he gets up and gets ready for work.. and today he hasn’t .. i blow up his phone asking questions cuz i dont know if i can call him if he driving or sleeping just with questions that i can’t just walk to his house cuz we live an hr away..
    he could be just in it for one thing only. .and has some one else on the side with out me knowing..
    i rather see a miss call then unread texts.. it takes 2 secs out of a day to get back at some one i know work and all but at least on breaks or bathroom breaks txt them.. 

  29. 149

    I, for one, am sick of text messaging. It shouldn’t be a replacement for real communication.  It’s impersonal and lazy.  This issue has come up frequently in my own relationship.  I hate texting. He hates talking on the phone.  I tell him that we should compromise and do both but trying to get a phone conversation out of him is like pulling teeth.   Communication has become a major issue between us, namely because he refuses to exercise proper phone manners (doesn’t answer phone, return calls etc).  

  30. 150

    I love you so much

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