How to avoid communication with the girl before the first date?
March 31, 2013 1:36 AM   Subscribe

I met a girl at a bar and I want to know how to avoid chatting with her all week before our first date.

Long story short, a friend of mine who bar-tends at a local university bar where I usually hang out, sneaks us into a private function the night of a hockey game we wanted to watch.

Turns out the private function was a speed dating/singles meet-up thing. Essentially my friends and I are sitting their without name tags watching the game and I decide to start chatting with one of the speed dating patrons standing next to me, inquiring about the whole process. We talk for a solid few hours, share some fries, a few drinks and exchange numbers. She texts me later that night, we have some small talk and I say good night. I then set up a date with her the next afternoon for the upcoming week. Unfortunately, both of us couldn't get together until this coming thursday for scheduling reasons.

Basically my question is: I feel like I really connected with this girl and I can tell she feels similar. However, I don't want to spend the week talking via text etc. because I want to save something for our first date. I also don't want either party to build any preconceived notions about each other before we've formally gone out to get to know each other.

How do I politely go about this when she continually tries to make conversation over text. Don't get me wrong, I like it but I just think it's a bad idea. We still have until thursday before going out...
posted by Atlantic to Human Relations (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How do I politely go about this when she continually tries to make conversation over text. Don't get me wrong, I like it but I just think it's a bad idea. We still have until thursday before going out...

She's trying to bond with you right now over text and you're stonewalling her?

You are being very silly.

However, I don't want to spend the week talking via text etc. because I want to save something for our first date.

"Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien". The best is the enemy of the good, that is, the best is the first date, and the good is actually communing with this woman right now.

Since you 'really connected with this girl and I can tell she feels similar' do the (imperfect) text-back-and-forth thing. Unless you perfectly meld into one ur-entity, you'll still have stuff to talk about during the date.

Go text her now (well, during waking hours) before her limerence dries up and goes away in the face of your apparent indifference. Right now she's thinking "I really bonded with this guy, but now he's ignoring me. Wah!?! Does he actually dislike me? Is this something like pick-up-artist 'negging' where he's trying to screw with my brain? Should I waste my time on someone who whiplashes like this?"

You may try upgrading from txt-msging to phone-to-phone voice communication, it might be easier for you than txt.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:50 AM on March 31, 2013 [78 favorites]

I agree with everything sebastienbailard said. You're overthinking this— go ahead and talk to her now via text to whatever degree you enjoy, you're not going to run out of things to say in person. You've already talked in person for hours, so you've already made your first impressions.
posted by hattifattener at 1:57 AM on March 31, 2013

If you and this lady only have one date's worth of things to talk about, it's not going to work out anyway.

If you want the date to be different and special, how about going somewhere unusually interesting that will generate lots of new things to talk about?

Nothing good comes of ignoring someone. That's what you do when you're not interested in her and can't find the courage to say so.
posted by emilyw at 2:55 AM on March 31, 2013 [14 favorites]

You're right. You should not do the text back and forth thing.
you should call her
When you call her, ask her some questions about her weekend, figure out what activities she enjoys. Ask her of she's seen any good movies/read any great books.

Not like an interrogation, but don't just talk and talk about your boss and your sweet new surround sound you just installed.

Someone once said in an that textig is great for information but talking is better for emotion. And that has really stuck with me. You want to continue the emotional connection with this woman and sometimes bland factual stuff gets in the way of that.

So call her! If you get her voicemail, leave a message! Something like 'hi, it's Atlantic, wanted to let you know I'm looking forward to rock climbing/coffee/checking out the zoo with you on Thursday. I was wondering if we should grab a bit to eat before hand/also visit the dog park/bring a picnic! Let me know what you think!'

That won't be perfect for every woman, but it would indicate to me that you've paid some attention to things I enjoy and want to actually spend time with me instead of skipping to the groping phase of early dating.
posted by bilabial at 3:08 AM on March 31, 2013 [4 favorites]

if I found out that a guy I had an upcoming date with was trying to avoid talking to me before the date, I'd be pretty weirded out, and a bit hurt. You've already talked for a few hours, so she has already formed a first impression of you - clearly she liked you and wants to talk more. Shutting down that communication is only going to change her current positive opinion to a negative one.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:32 AM on March 31, 2013 [9 favorites]

I also don't want either party to build any preconceived notions about each other before we've formally gone out to get to know each other.

Too late. We start building preconceived notions from the moment we meet someone. In fact, you already have the preconceived notion that you feel like I really connected with this girl and she feels similar. Those are both pre-concevied notions that are quite positive it seems.

Overall, texting back and forth can be a great thing, for it's a lightweight asynchonous form of communication that can be quite playful. You are waiting for The First Date as a demarcation that Now The Connection May Begin, when in reality, the connection is already underway!

I think many people really enjoy the initially flirty text chat that occurs between dates. Who doesn't like that little digital ping that says, someone is thinking about you and this person that you're interested in is also interested in you. It's essentially a form of micro-communication that allows each side to keep playing even when physically separate.

Have fun with it, and stop over thinking it. If nothing else, consider this as early discovery you can use to set the agenda for the next date.
posted by nickrussell at 4:06 AM on March 31, 2013 [4 favorites]

I also like to avoid too much text communication in the early phases of getting to know someone. I find that the fullness of in person conversation is much more likely to support a healthy discovery of each other FOR ME. When I have a lot of text or IM conversation, more things can go wrong during the fragile formative stage.

I think it's cool to just say something to that effect. "I'm super looking forward to Thursday, and I'd really like to savor getting to know you mostly in person. Do you mind keeping our texts kind of casual for now?" Or, "Hey, I don't always have a chance to read texts right away, so don't worry if I'm slow to respond sometimes - I'll always get back to you!" And then just slow things down by only responding a couple of times a day.
posted by rosa at 4:19 AM on March 31, 2013 [5 favorites]

Great advice above. I thought I would add: when my husband and I first traded numbers after having hung out with a mutual group of friends a few times, we exchanged a lot of fun, flirty texts before our first real date. Rather than "wear out" our connection, it added depth to our date as we drew on a lot of the jokes and observations we'd shared through text to help get over any awkwardness. It's not always a romance-killer.

Nthing at the very least don't ignore her or be cold to discourage her attempts to communicate with you. It might have the opposite effect to what you're going for.
posted by sundaydriver at 4:25 AM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Back when I dated (*cough), we CALLED each other...there wasn't any texting. From a woman's perspective, I think it's good form to call for a chat periodically before the date. If you don't - couldn't that make the date that much more awkward? Maybe she ends up losing interest before the date? Maybe she thinks you've lost interest? Don't doom this before you give it a chance.
Nthing communicate with her at least. If you hate texting, call her!
posted by MeatheadBrokeMyChair at 4:34 AM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

If she's texting and you're not responding, she thinks you don't really like her and she's probably trying to figure out what's gone wrong and whether you're really worth her time. Please contact her, even if it's just to say "hey, I'm not a big texter, but I'm really excited to talk in person on Friday" or whatever.
posted by windykites at 5:10 AM on March 31, 2013 [20 favorites]

Are you worried that you will get to the date and not have anything to talk about?

I usually like to text back and forth a little(hate the phone myself) and have found that it actually adds to the conversation - and also makes me a lot less nervous than when there has been radio silence and you have no idea how the other person is feeling.

When there has been no communication THEN I am wondering whether or not we will have anything to talk about on the actual date.
posted by fromageball at 6:07 AM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

Call her, tell her about your silly little idea, laugh together about it, and then respond to her texts.
posted by myselfasme at 6:14 AM on March 31, 2013

I don't think you're weird to not want to text or call (shudder) before your date. If I was her I'd want to hear something like: "hey, great hearing from you - I'm totally swamped until Thursday but really looking forward to seeing you again! Will check in Wednesday to confirm." ... or something like that.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 6:42 AM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

The earliest days of the relationship are critical. It's when we determine whether or not we continue with this new person.

If I were the woman in question here and you weren't responding to my texts for any reason barring an emergency (and even then, text me to tell me there's an emergency), I'd immediately write you off as a game-player and I'd move on.

Remember, she has no idea why you're not responding, so she already has to put mental energy into figuring you out. You know your reasons, she has silence and nothing to go on.

Don't do that to her.

I suggest texting or calling her right away so she doesn't think you're messing around. I'm not sure I agree with the advice to tell her the reason you didn't want to text before the date; she may think you overthink things and you're more trouble than you're worth.
posted by kinetic at 7:03 AM on March 31, 2013 [5 favorites]

I also don't want either party to build any preconceived notions about each other before we've formally gone out to get to know each other.

A noble endeavor, but perhaps the first step should be to rid yourself of the preconceived notion that a bit of pleasant dialogue is going to tap you out for conversation on the first date. Unless you are the single most dull person on earth, I sincerely doubt you need to conserve your interestingness lest you run out before the first date. I mean, yeah, we all have fun and interesting stories we like to tell, so you can go ahead and save those, but you are doing no favors to either yourself or your date by pretending to be too busy to have some casual get-to-know-you banter before going on a Real Date.
posted by griphus at 7:17 AM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nthing "If you're at risk of running out of stuff to talk about for your first date it wouldn't have worked out anyway."

Also, ugh, some of us really, really hate the telephone, and also hate media switchers. I would be annoyed if I sent a text message and got a phone call in response without some sort of prior agreement. (Just like i'm annoyed when I post a FB or Twitter update and get a phone call in response.)

If you think the call is a great plan, clear it in advance. "Hey, wanna chat on the phone later tonight? I'd love to hear your voice."
posted by Andrhia at 7:20 AM on March 31, 2013 [10 favorites]

Haha, so is this what's happening when woman friends say stuff like "I met this great guy and it seemed like he really connected with me but then he never called or texted"?

I have always kind of wondered what's going on with that. It's good way to make sure the first date doesn't happen, so if that's your goal then go for it.
posted by kavasa at 7:50 AM on March 31, 2013 [4 favorites]

God, spare me all the judgment in this thread. It's like some of you people think that questioning the way people approach things is really up for discussion. Someone's asking for help how to do something very specific and you respond with some really amazing relationship insights that involve pointing out where the OP is wrong.

If you're looking to stave off a bunch of texting, I would say text her something enthusiastic like man, I can't wait to see you next Thursday. Next couple of days are going to be crazy at work. How do you feel about me calling you on Wednesday so we can discuss a place and time to meet? :)

That's it. Be super polite. People can't argue with super polite. And creating the appearance of being slightly unavailable is perfectly healthy. If she keeps texting you incessantly, you can tell her you're busy at work and ask her how she's doing. If she really doesn't stop texting you, I'd look at it as a red flag; endure as much of it as you want.
posted by phaedon at 7:50 AM on March 31, 2013 [9 favorites]

Text her, you fool.

There are no rules, just what works for both of you.
posted by bonehead at 8:20 AM on March 31, 2013

If you read back over other AskMe answers, you'll find about a zillion and a half of them discussing how the other person's failure to text back in a timely or engaged manner makes them seem uninterested and blah, blah, blah.

So if she's trying to engage by text and you're not responding, you're definitely giving off bad signals, and you need to be explicit that you're not not interested in her. Maybe something self-deprecating or funny explaining you're not awesome at texting (whether you blame that on not being attentive to text messages at all or on sucking at writing cute, funny text messages is up to you), but it doesn't mean you're not still very much looking forward to seeing her next week.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:43 AM on March 31, 2013

I think it's ok to say, "I am not a big texter but I am really looking forward to seeing you."
posted by amodelcitizen at 8:59 AM on March 31, 2013 [4 favorites]

I hate to tell you this, but I think you already had your first date. (Kind of. Not entirely, I know.)

You talked for HOURS? And had some food? And some drinks? Yeah, that's a lot like a first date, even though it wasn't arranged in advance and even though it maybe ended with nothing more serious than exchanging numbers. But you already did the thing where you have those first, really cool, really clean-slate conversations. And now, you feel that you've connected with her -- which is great!

But now, I think you're properly in a little more of a 1.5-th date kind of place, in that you've already spent some time enjoying the spark one on one. I almost feel like you're trying to make sure you can have that again, that fresh discovery of flirtatious energy experience, and you're afraid the texts will ruin it. And I get that, and you might be right. You don't need to feel compelled to answer every text within two minutes; wait a while between responses to gently convey that you're not the kind of person who wants to text all day -- which is true, and if that's going to be a dealbreaker, then it doesn't matter what you do.

But I would make sure you don't cut off your texting to spite your face; don't get so infatuated with the newness of it (which you're clearly charged up about) that you don't want to ruin it by getting to know each other. This all sounds like such good news; as others have said, don't overthink it.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 9:29 AM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

Just chiming in to say that in order to be happy, productive, and fulfilled, I need to compartmentalize school, work, and fun. This means no texting during class, work, studying, and volunteering. I have had some fellas be really confused by the fact that I'm not tied to my mobile 100% of the time (it's actually always on silent, 100% of the time).

If I don't have the time and space to get my stuff done when it needs to be done, I'm going to end up being distracted by missed deadlines and outstanding commitments and less able to focus on the fella across the table and enjoy our time together. An expectation of chatting or texting back and forth intrudes on that time and space. As I get to know someone, and a relationship grows, I may re-evaluate how I structure my time so as to be appropriately responsive to my partner. That is me.

I don't mind receiving multiple texts, but an expectation that I have to be on the line, tied to my phone and unable to do my own things is unreasonable to me. It's a perfectly valid boundary to set *and* it's a perfectly legitimate signal of (in)compatibility ("Too busy to text me? Not my kinda gal.") Hope that's helpful; and have fun on your date!
posted by Schielisque at 11:30 AM on March 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

Eww, I hate being pressured into feeling like I have to text back-and-forth in the very early stages of getting to know someone. While I agree with some of the replies here that caution you against stonewalling and creating unnecessary angst for your date, I also think she has some responsibility for *your* comfort and boundaries -- e.g., not putting you in an awkward position through overly-frequent texting.

I think it is perfectly fine to set a boundary. Text back, and say you're really looking forward to the date, and you're not much of a texter, so it'll be great to catch up in person. (Worded more nicely.) Setting boundaries is attractive, reasonable, and fair.
posted by nacho fries at 11:32 AM on March 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for the advice. Just to clarify, I have absolutely not ignored her at all. I've responded to every text and kept up my side of the conversations. I was simply asking how to go about not getting to invested essentially in someone I don't truly know yet.
posted by Atlantic at 12:33 PM on March 31, 2013

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