Text and the city

Text messages are the new way to start dating, keep a relationship going and avoid confrontation.

By Heather Camlot

Do you remember where you were in 2006 when Britney Spears told then-hubby Kevin Federline that she was filing for divorce?

We don’t either, but we do remember how it made headlines around the world, not because of what she did but because of how she did it – by text message.

Technology has revolutionized the relationship scene. With the exception of breaking up, communicating via text message – a short note from mobile phone to mobile phone — may actually be a boon to romance.

“People are finding technology is an easier way and a more efficient way of expressing themselves,” explains Drew Olanoff, director of community for the texting app textPlus. “Especially for teenagers, it’s difficult to walk up to that guy or gal and say, ‘Hey I like you, do you want to go out?’ it’s easier with that technology between you. And if the other person says no, there isn’t that awkward moment of rejection for either of them.”

In fact, in a recent poll by textPlus of 1,031 teens between the ageds of 13 to 17, 68.4 percent said it was acceptable to ask someone out on a first date via text.

Technology, be it through online dating services, text messages, email or Facebook, brings people together and allows them to have a conversation on a higher level than what they might have at a bar, for example. They can also get to know each other better previous to the first date, Olanoff explains, making the face-to-face situation more comfortable for both parties.

While texting may shield a person’s shyness and allow for perhaps a better impression than in person, it shouldn’t be used without thought or judgment. Olanoff suggests the following tips for those insisting on using text messages to set up a date:

• Be sure a text isn’t the first interaction with the potential date.
• Don’t use abbreviations, but do use proper grammar and spelling.
• Pay attention to whom you are texting – accidents can happen, like one girl who texted “I love you” to a male friend rather than her boyfriend, and received an “I love you” back, Olanoff relates.
• Don’t text something you wouldn’t say face to face.
• Don’t get antsy if your text message isn’t returned right away. You may be in the right situation to text, but the other person may not.
• Keep the text short.
• Be mindful of what you write – tone doesn’t always translate.

Also be aware that there is a time and place for texting. When it comes to ending a relationship, 76 percent of those polled said breaking up with someone over text message is unacceptable. “A phone call is better for a meaningful conversation,” says Olanoff. “Although texting is convenient, it isn’t meant to be a replacement. It’s meant to be a bridge.”

A bridge to a long-lasting romance. “A relationship is about good communication. With text messages, we’re speaking to each other more and more, and yes, we use short code, but we’re saying more by saying less,” says Olanoff. “There’s nothing bad about being in contact.”

First published October 28, 2010 on WorkLivePlayCafe.com.


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