Communication in the early days of dating
February 3, 2013 8:49 AM   Subscribe

What are your tips to keeping the lines of communication open in the first few weeks of dating someone new?

The hardest part of dating for me is keeping the lines of communication open when we're just starting to get to know each other. In the past, I've lived in small communities where I saw my boyfriends several times a week regardless if we made plans together or not; we had the same friends and general interests. But now I'm living in a large city and have been dating men I've met on OKCupid, and I don't know how to keep in touch with someone I wouldn't organically meet. I struggle with what to say to someone, either by email or text, other than making plans for the next date. I prefer to talk to people face-to-face in general, and I think I've gotten stuck on this method of communication.

Meeting guys outside of OKC in this city hasn't been working, partially because most guys I like when I first meet them are in relationships, and partially because I'm not good at flirting/reading when someone is flirting with me. OKC means I can meet single guys and know we're both looking for a relationship. Before OKC, I hadn't gone on a date in over a year, and the male friends I made weren't interested in dating me.

My question is, in the first few weeks of dating, what kinds of emails, texts, etc are typical, and how often do people contact each other? I don't think I'm comfortable sending 'how's your day going?' or 'thinking of you :)' texts when we've been seeing each other for less than a month. Because I don't feel like I know what I'm doing, I'm starting to overthink even basic 'so, coffee this week?' texts. I could use some perspective on this.
posted by toerinishuman to Human Relations (6 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
I don't think I'm comfortable sending 'how's your day going?' or 'thinking of you :)' texts when we've been seeing each other for less than a month.

A lot of this generational and cultural. Some people just live on their phones and ims and facebook. A high proportion of OK Cupid users are likely to be these people. I would just text/im to keep in touch.
posted by empath at 8:55 AM on February 3, 2013


You're fine. You're very very fine. Keep doing what you're comfortable with.

It's perfectly fine to reserve texting for arranging plans and not use it for light chatting.

(I'm dealing with creating & maintaining boundary of "don't text me with idle chatter/small talk" right now. I'm a busy person so text/IM conversations with no point annoy me.)

I was just telling someone earlier this weekend that I wish I could follow/be followed on twitter really early on to have a relaxed background "connection" in "public" and chat about a specific topic if we're in the same brainspace at the same time, but beyond that it's a peripheral awareness of their existence. But I'm more into twitter than most people.

Arrange plans, and leave it at that. No sweat. If you want to say "thought of you because I saw X", that's fine, too, but there's no reason to overthink this or overstep your personal preferences.
posted by itesser at 9:15 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


Because of cultural norms, if you're a woman you can pretty much leave it up to the guy to initiate most early communication and that includes arranging dates. It's annoying in a lot of ways but one plus is you don't have to obsess over whether or not you should be contacting him. Once the relationship is more established you can relax and split initiating more 50-50. I do think it's important to *occasionally* initiate even in early dating stages so he doesn't think you're not into him, but f you find yourself frequently prodding him for a response, he's probably not that interested. Sorry to be cliche but I've generally found it to be true.
posted by timsneezed at 11:01 AM on February 3, 2013 [5 favorites]


i think u might be struggling to 'show ur personality' in the dating world. itesser wants to send a message that he/she doesn't like idle chatter. i, on the other hand, like chit chatting. for me it helps to develop a rapport & so i'm comfortable when we do meet in say, a week or so.

if you're not comfortable with 'hey what r u up to?' or 'how was ur day' or 'tgif!!' then ur like itesser. but if ur trying to fan the flames a bit, then practice chit chatting based on what u do know of ur dates and see how it goes. start with what ur comfortable with and go from there.
posted by PeaPod at 11:08 AM on February 3, 2013


Generational.
posted by jitterbug perfume at 11:20 AM on February 3, 2013


While there's no doubt a generational component to this at some level, I'm not sure it's all that useful to just chalk it up to that here - there are, of course, LOTS of people who don't conform to their generation's "typical" texting expectations. If I hadn't gently pushed back, for instance, a friend of mine in her 50s would be sending me more texts every day than all of my other friends combined.

What might be more useful than going into this assuming that your potential partners all like X amount of communication is to - well - communicate about this. Some variation on "Hey, I'm more of a face-to-face person and generally only text to make plans, what do you think?" could let them know that a lack of texting doesn't equal lack of interest, and can open the floor for negotiation (if you're okay with doing so). The benefit of this is that the two of you then won't have to agonize over what each other's texting preference is tacitly saying about the relationship; just look through the AskMe archives to read examples of how that sometimes plays out.
posted by DingoMutt at 11:50 AM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


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