I’m not even sure if ‘dating’ is the correct word but you guys know what I’m talking about. It’s that phase where you’ve exchanged numbers. You’re not quite intimate enough for phone calls (side thought: does anyone even make phone calls to friends anymore?!) so text message is a safe medium. It doesn’t say commitment, but it’s moved a bit beyond being strangers.
I can’t count the number of times when I hear people stress over text messages:
'What does that mean?!'
'Why would he/she say that?!'
'Why won't he/she respond?!'
'Should I respond?!'
'OMG, LOL, check this out, I can draw boobs with text! ( . ) ( . )’
Absurd isn’t it? Why do people stress over text messages? Wouldn’t it just be easier to make that phone call?
When it comes to texting and dating, there are certain guidelines that you can follow to make your communication a little more effective and meaningful. By no means are they rules, instead, just keep them in mind when you’re out at your next social function, looking down at your phone, hammering away at the keys, while ignoring the people that are in your presence.
DON’T BE ALOOF AND DON’T BE A JERK (WELL, NOT ALL THE TIME ANYWAYS)
Reply within 2 hours of receiving a text. Don’t put it off too long, otherwise, it won’t matter. In addition, if you’re making jokes/using sarcasm - make sure they know. Use follow-up messages to let them know you’re kidding. Use emoticons to let them know it’s light-hearted when you say something harsh.
DON’T BE TOO EAGER
While you should reply within 2 hours, you should at least give it a few minutes unless it’s absolutely imperative that you answer immediately or you feel comfortable enough in the relationship to do so. It’s a good idea to put some thought into a response.
DONT ACT STUPID
Unless the word “teen” is in your age, avoid using text speak - use a dictionary or spellcheck. If you receive a text that makes you laugh or smile, let your sender know but moderate your use of LOL, OMG, ROFLMAO, and WTF.
DON’T BE BORING
Short and sweet is key in texting so don’t give your significant other a step by step breakdown of your morning - they really aren’t interested. Get your point across. Don’t clutter your message with stuff that doesn’t prove your point (unless you’re good at writing).
DON’T DEPRESS THEM
Even if you’ve had the worst day and wish that you could jump into a volcano and disappear, DO NOT SHARE IT in a text because…
a) whiners are not appealing
b) no one wants to share your pain
c) frankly, no one gives a f*ck
Whether you just got hit on or you just got a compliment, no one really wants to hear about your amazingly awesome life through a text message….come to think of it, they probably don’t wanna hear it at all (unless they ask, of course).
and most importantly…..
BE INTERESTED IN THEM
Be sure to show that you’re more interested in them and their day than yourself. If it’s a one-sided conversation, I can promise that it’s going to go downhill pretty fast. Either I’ll get tired of only asking questions, or you’ll get tired of only answering them. Communication is a two-way thing. A text with a question is much more interesting than a text with a statement.
For more reading into “The Way of the Phone” - check out this entry:
A great conversation was struck discussing different means of communications that are available nowadays. I’ve always been a proponent of good conversation and hearing a voice on the other end of the line so it made for an interesting discussion as I am quite ignorant in the ways of BBM/Mobile MSN. Needless to say….I was quite enlightened.
It’s not that I dislike BBM or mobile MSN or SMS or phone calls (hereafter referred to as “BMSP”)- but sometimes, they can cause more hassles than ease. For example, you might be SMS’ing someone just to say ‘hi’ or provide pertinent information – instead, your recipient blows it into a full out conversation over the person on the subway who annoyed them..or the driver who cut them off on the highway - to which you have no time to reply, yet you don’t want to offend them by NOT responding. Instead, you reply with simple, empty answers such as “LOL” or “Cool” or “That sucks.” As tragic as it is, “LOL” simply means “I have no response to your inane statement, but I am obligated to respond with something so as to show that I am listening.” Quite frankly, it’d would be more polite not to respond than to respond with a pitying response to save one’s own guilt of not responding.
Another scenario – you check out your BBM/MSN list and sees that one of your contacts has a status message alluding to something bad going on. Naturally, you ask them ‘what’s up’ to which they reply ‘nothing, I don’t wanna talk about it on BBM.” If not on BBM, then when? And if you do want to discuss at another time…why put it up on BBM/MSN?
Or..in another example, you send an SMS/BBM/MSN message to which you receive no reply. Now, if most people ‘can’t live without their phones’ and they ‘never turn off their phones,’ how is it that they not receive and reply? In yet another example, you send a joking message in a humorous tone commenting about TNA pants that DO NOT compliment your recipient..they might not find it so funny. Why? Because it’s sometimes difficult to convey sarcasm or humour through Mobile MSN…and we all thought this was supposed to make communications easier! Of course, these are just some very general observations – I’m sure in your daily routines, you come across many more headaches.
As you read this, you might argue that I’m over thinking it - “You’re such a nerd, why are you thinking so hard about something so small? Why don’t you do something productive like save a stray kitten?” Firstly, I am a nerd – this is confirmed by my WoW character (Ssouls the Blood Elf Paladin on the Mal’Ganis server) who has a item levels of 265 and above. Secondly, I hardly think that something that is so prominent in our daily live is ‘so small.’ Finally, I don’t like small animals – just ask the rabbits/turtles/cats how much fun I have bothering them.
Take this into consideration - there was once a time when the phone was something new..then it became the norm and a must-have function of communication. Nowadays, we are mindful of how we use the telephone. We are careful to return urgent phone calls in a timely fashion; we ignore the calls we don’t want to take and make up some silly excuse so as not to offend the caller; we have caller ID and private numbers; call waiting and call conferencing – all tools for making use of the telephone easier. There’s a certain etiquette that goes with using the telephone…even studies have been conducted to determine how to use the effectively as an educational and marketing tool. Conference calls bridge the gap between continents when more than two parties are required to the discussion There are whole businesses, such as call centers, answering services, and phone sex services that revolve around the telephone.
Now, BMSP has become a part of our everyday lives. We hear jokes about people who can’t live out their phones. We laugh when someone says they go through withdrawal without their Iphones. We giggle at the term “Crackberry” - let’s get real…there’s a truth to these jokes. So to take it one step further and consider the formalities of BMSP wouldn’t be that far of a stretch and should hardly be considered ridiculous.
When SMS was first introduced, I thought it was great. One was able to convey pertinent information to another person immediately. A parent could simply send a quick SMS to ask where his or her child was. One could simply tell the world “It’s going to be a good day today, I can feel it in my bones” without having to spam the recipients through email. Now when Mobile MSN was introduced, I thought it was rather neat being to have access to your MSN contact list from your phone. From there, the trends of mobile chat programs expanded: Google Talk, BBM, Yahoo Messenger etc etc
I’ve always wondered why such a thing like BBM existed and its purpose. That’s not to say I dislike these mobile chat programs just because I don’t have them or have never experienced them. I would just like to clarify that I am in no way bias against any of the aforementioned mobile chat programs…but at the same time, I’ve never had the need for them. There’s never been a time that I could say “Damn…I sure wish I had MSN/BBM/Gtalk right about now” unless I was without my phone.
If you have a phone – you can call them. Failing that, you can text them. Failing that, you could BBM/MSN them (assuming they use those programs). In my humble opinion, if you can’t reach them by phone or text, it’s not likely they want to be reached. The interesting thing is when they neither pick up the phone or answer the SMS….yet they’ll respond to MSN/BBM almost immediately.
Most new phones now have the Mobile MSN functionality to allow users to connect to their online friends list from nearly anywhere so long as they have their phone. Taking the aforementioned into consideration - BBM seems redundant. One might argue ‘well, not everyone uses MSN.” This is true, in this case, BBM would seem logical…on the contrary, not everyone has a Blackberry. Would it be suffice to say that now, everyone needs a phone with the functionalities of Mobile MSN, BBM, Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger? Or does one need to pick and choose which contact to add to their BBM or MSN? In addition, do we have yet another 2-3 chat contact lists that we now have to maintain, in addition, to the 2-3 email accounts that we all have? How many more chat programs might appear in the future?
These questions, I do not have the answer to. However, I still maintain my belief that conversation and a voice on the other end of the line is simply the best means of mobile communications.
This week, I’d like to challenge you to go through your phonebook and CALL 3 contacts. It doesn’t matter who they are or how long you’ve known them or when was the last time you talk to them. It would actually be even better if you have them on your BBM or MSN – to be explained later.
Your challenge to have a conversation with them over the phone – not through MSN or BBM or SMS. What you discuss is up to you. How you engage them is up to you…but the challenge is to make it meaningful. Show them your appreciation of their friendship by calling them. Show them that they’re not just another name on BBM or MSN that you say ‘hi’ to when you have nothing else to do. Show them that you care enough to set aside a few minutes just to catch up a little rather than sending a message AT YOUR OWN CONVENIENCE. Show them that you are thinking about them in your spare time…and most importantly, show yourself how much more meaningful hearing a voice is.
Once you have completed your challenge, feel free to post a response with your experiences - whether neutral, positive or negative.