Online dating filter: My friends & family seem to have unspoken texting rules. I'm concerned about the amount of time I've invested in a person I haven't met yet, and I want to know what other people consider the texting rules in this situation.
posted by aabbbiee to human relations (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm doing the online dating thing again this spring (did it for a few months last fall, then took most of the winter off), and I'm stuck on some modes-of-communication issues that I can't seem to puzzle out. I am 32, female and bisexual, and mostly dating guys who are about my age.
I find that I really have to meet people in person before I can understand speaking rhythms, sense of humor, etc., things that are so important when reading emails, etc. I do push to meet someone for coffee or a drink if the first few emails go well.
I like email. I can wait until I have time to answer them. I've figured out the desired back-and-forth banter so that I don't agonize too long over writing anything, and the desired number of responses before meeting for coffee or something.
But this is about modes of communication that don't involve email.
IM- I hate it. I don't mind it if it's someone I already know, of course, but I turn it off entirely on these dating sites. It always works that someone wants to chat when I'm in the middle of something else (like, writing an email, or just as I was about to navigate away from the site), and this drives me crazy. I can't seem to cut people off until we've chatted for 10-15 minutes or something, which is far too much time. And it's worse when I've never actually met the person, because I'm not familiar with their speaking rhythms or sense of humor.
Phone Calls- I hate them. Again, especially if I've never met the person. So far I have only encountered one guy who really wanted to talk on the phone prior to meeting, so this hasn't been a big issue.
Texting- The reason for this MeFi question. I text back and forth with my friends and family all the time, and it's our preferred mode of communication unless we have something more lengthy to discuss. But there seems to be unspoken rules with my friends and family: it happens when we have time for it, we only send a couple texts each (usually). I know this isn't the norm and that all the kids text much more frequently, but, you know, I'm a grown-up person with responsibilities. I like texting as a mode for communicating certain kinds of information, but not as a way to just chat about nothing in particular.
So: I've sent a couple of emails back and forth with a guy who seems interesting. He sent me his phone number and suggested that he wants to text and that I should text him. I would invite him out for a drink or something, but we won't be able to meet up for at least a week, due to schedules. I'm in the position of either ignoring his phone number and continuing to email, or sending him a text.
I don't hate the idea of texting him, but I don't like the idea of spending more than a few texts on a guy that I might not like if we meet for a drink. I don't know if he has the same unspoken rules about texting that I do, or if he will want to text all day long about nothing in particular. And then we get into the idea of flirty texts, which I don't want to do unless I've already met him in-person.
And then, what the hell do I text him if I'm to start this ball rolling? I mean, I know how to start an email conversation, an in-person conversation, etc. If I send him a text that says, "Hey, I'm [fake name] from [dating site]," without any pretense, it's starting the kind of chatty text conversation that I just don't want or have time for.
I can see texting back-and-forth all day with someone if you're in the throes of that new-relationship honeymoon phase, but when it's someone I haven't met at all yet, I'm just not ready to invest this kind of time and energy, especially when the conversation will likely involve a lot of poor spelling/grammar, emoticons, context-unnecessary LOLs, etc.
Note: I am fully aware that there is an element of control to all of this. I can control how and when the emails affect me, or ignore them easily, but IMs, phone calls, and texting come without warning or my permission, and I don't feel in control of my own time. I am trying to lighten up about this.
Tl; dr: What are the unspoken rules of texting people while online dating, if you have never met the person in real life? Where can I draw the boundaries for myself? How do you text and what do you text about if you're texting before your first meeting? What if you've met once, like in a bar or something, and you still don't know the person very well? What are the unspoken rules about this?