How More Texting Has Led To Less Communicating In Gen-Y Relationships

by Katie Haller

The more we text, the less we talk.

But don't worry; I'm not about to suggest we stop texting and resort back to landlines or carrier pigeons. I love texting as much as I hate phone calls. And that's a lot.

I'd be lying, however, if I said it has not been a significant source of anxiety and confusion when it comes to dating. In fact, I’ve noticed a correlation between my level of confusion and the amount of texting I'm engaging in with a prospective partner.

It is not a coincidence that the guys with whom I’ve had some of the lengthiest text threads, I have also had some of my shortest relationships. In other words, the ones I texted the most, I actually saw the least. We texted enough to fill an entire novel, yet we had the shortest story.

I’m not saying if you have good texting conversations with someone, it means your connection isn’t real. What I’m saying is if you can’t recreate that connection in person, you might want to re-evaluate.

It's important to make sure texting is contributing to your face-to-face interactions, not replacing them.

When left to our own devices, we hide behind our devices.

I pride myself on my texting abilities, which can only mean one thing: I can be awkward as f*ck in person. I’ve got witty banter for days, and my creative use of GIFs is on point.

But when it comes to my ability to express myself directly, I am actually the worst. It's something I'm working on improving, but part of it is just my introverted nature.

Unfortunately, it’s 2015, and those of us skilled in the art of face-to-face communication are becoming few and far between. We are no longer forced to develop these skills.

It's kind of like directions: When was the last time you navigated anything without the use of a GPS? Similarly, when was the last time you initiated a date or a relationship without the use of texting?

It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's definitely a thing.

Texting has become a blueprint of relationships.

For so long, I was under the faulty impression that the amount of texting equals the amount of interest. The less he or she is texting you, the less he or she likes you.

Your text threads are always there. You can go back to see how it started, where he or she said something he or she didn’t follow through on, where it dropped off or where he or she said that one thing that keeps you holding on.

Rather than asking for clarification, we search for clues in other people's text messages to see where they stand. And then, we send screen shots to our friends for their analysis, like some sort of texting "CSI."

"He usually says 'okay,' but today he just said 'k.' There's been a shift!" "We had such a good time, why haven't I heard from him?"

(I've heard men stressing about this just as much as women, so this is not a gender dilemma. This is a cultural problem.)

It’s true: If a communication pattern, which texting is, suddenly comes to an abrupt halt, it may be cause for concern. But I think the problem is our reliance on this pattern to begin with.

You can never really tell how someone feels from a text message.

There have been times when I’ve been overly excited to see someone, but I responded ambivalently because I didn't want to show exactly how interested I was. There have also been times when I responded with more enthusiasm than I was actually feeling.

The point is, we say so much with our body language and emotional cues, and all of this gets lost in a text.

If it's not leading to anything, what's the point?

I didn’t realize it at the time, but many of the men I’ve “dated” simply resorted to texting to get to know me rather than taking me on actual dates.

I suppose I was afraid of what would happen if I actually spoke up and said, "Enough of this banter. If we're never going to actually see each other, this is kind of a waste of time."

We've all been here. When you’re texting back and forth and try to finalize an actual plan, the conversation comes to a screeching halt. That's a red flag.

It’s so easy to breeze by this and chalk it up to “Oh, it’s just texting. Maybe the person just got busy.” But really? He or she wasn’t busy 30 seconds ago when you were discussing "Game Of Thrones." This person is dodging the question.

It doesn't matter why. It's more important you realize all of this back and forth may just be all it ever is.

I was involved with guys who would text me everything, except the one thing I wanted to hear, which was "I'd like to see you." And I wasn't aware of it until I started seeing someone who pretty much only used texting to see me.

My point is it's important to ask yourself why you are spending so much time texting someone who is never actually making plans with you.

10 Things I Noticed After Dating A "Non-Texter"

1. Quality trumps quantity.

If you're texting all day and never actually hanging out, you're wasting your time and your data. Just because you're communicating more frequently doesn't mean you are communicating more effectively.

I would rather get one meaningful text from a guy who doesn't drag the conversation on all day, than a whole day of slinging back and forth pointless, witty banter.

2. Texting creates the illusion of a connection, not an actual one.

If you hit it off in person and then can't keep your antsy, lovestruck fingers from texting, I say go for it. I'm referring to the people you've met or dated once, and you aren't quite sure about yet.

No matter how much you text, until you really see each other in person, you can't tell. I know I'm not the only one who's been disappointed when a very promising text thread did not translate into any actual in-person chemistry.

Texting can also fool you into thinking your connection is deeper than it actually is. I've had a guy text me, "Tell me about your family." Now, I'd be like, "No, dude, I'm not texting you about my family. If you want to get to know me, ask me on an actual date."

But, at that point, I was too naive to pick up on the fact that he was just trying to seem like his intentions were more than just casual sex. I probably thought it was sweet of him to even ask me a question rather than sending me a DP. (I'm shaking my head at my former self.)

3. Texting all day is distracting.

We're all guilty of getting sucked into a texting conversation when we should be focusing on something else. I've dated guys where all day it was back and forth. Sometimes, I enjoyed it. But a lot of the time, I found myself getting annoyed.

Checking in once or twice during the day is one thing, but if you're having long, drawn-out conversations throughout the day over text, just save it for an actual date.

4. You'll have more to talk about in person.

Why waste your time explaining a story via text? Isn't it better to say, "I have the funniest thing to tell you"? Let it create excitement to see the person.

The first few dates are supposed to be a little uncomfortable. It's weird to cover so much territory before you get to there, and when you text someone non-stop, sometimes it can feel like you’re digging when you see him or her in person.

“Like, so, have we already covered this? Let’s scroll back and see.”

5. You will both be more present.

Until I dated someone who wasn't addicted to his phone, I didn't realize how addicted I was to my phone. I shouldn't be surprised by someone's willpower to not look at his phone for a whole hour.

6. Saying something meaningful is better than texting something meaningful.

This was the first thing that forced me to change the way I looked at texting. I used to let the fact that this "non-texter" didn't text me as much as the other guys overshadow the more important indicators, like his actions or what he said in person.

After we slept together, he would tell me how great of a time he had. Why did I think it didn't count because he didn't text it to me when I got home? It was then I realized I was placing way too much of an emphasis on what guys were saying in texts, which, not surprisingly, didn't always line up with their actions.

Think about it: Wouldn’t you rather have a guy tell you you’re beautiful while you’re lying next to him in bed, than a guy who passes out immediately but texts you the next day and says, "Had fun last night u looked great *kiss emoji*"?

7. You will both retain an air of mystery.

Nothing kills romance like oversharing. I don't need to be involved in your Panera vs. Chipotle debate for lunch. Save it for the date, or find another outlet.

This applies more to people who are just getting to know each other. In the initial phases of a relationship, less is more. It's better to wonder what he or she is doing than to be bombarded with what he or she is doing on every form of social media.

8. You won't get as much social media anxiety.

The guys who haven't been as into texting were also not as into social media. They didn't post where they were or who they were with at all times, which can lead to so much unnecessary overanalyzing.

"Who's that girl he's with?" "He usually likes my statuses, but he hasn't in a few days. Should I be worried?" "Why is his ex liking all his pictures? Are they back together?"

We all think this crazily. I know I'm not the only one who's had these thoughts.

Dating and social media are just an anxiety spiral waiting to happen. I prefer the whole "out of sight, out of mind" thing.

9. You won't get ghosted.

Honestly, if you haven't been ghosted, can you even call yourself a Millennial? It's part of the experience. But, it's sh*tty.

No one ever means to hurt anyone, but it really is one of the most disrespectful things you can do. Just be upfront with people.

As it turns out, some of the guys who texted me the most all turned out to be the ghosts. The ones who texted the least all communicated directly. There was no confusion and no resentment in these relationships.

10. You won't get an unsolicited dick pic.

This is, perhaps, the most important of all the reasons to date someone who's not a texter. Generally, they aren't the type of people who will think, "Maybe I'll surprise her with a picture of my penis."

And, again, in general, guys who text constantly are usually texting more than one girl at once. Constant texting is usually a sign of insecurity. It means this person really just likes the rush of getting attention.

Be smarter than that. I'm sure there are lots of other girls on Tinder who will appreciate his junk.

Alright, you can all resume your texting now.