1 New Message: How Text Messaging Is Ruining Our Chances At Forming A Genuine Connection

by Yael Safirstein

So, you think you're a professional at being “coy-but-somewhat-interested” over text messages? Well, here's an alert for you: (*bing*) Slow down those thumbs, people.

The one thing we have all forgotten to consider before throwing ourselves into the exhausting world of texting is the beautiful complexity and messiness of real-life, human interaction.

Instead of initiating a texting marathon right after you exchange numbers with someone you just met, imagine how lovely it would be to witness the authenticity of his or her goofy smile, the smooth sound of his or her voice when he or she says your name and the vulnerability that comes along with raw, real emotion.

The inevitable truth is, we all strive to be a great texting buddy because this has become the primary means of communication between people in our generation.

That initial texting period before actually hanging out with someone has become the most critical time to make a good impression on the person you're trying to pursue. This is the crucial phase in which you must play the delicate balancing act of ever-so-carefully expressing significant interest while making sure to appear busy and unavailable.

Here are a few concepts to consider before you embark on the meaningless texting journey to Can't-Get-Laid Central:

Who You Appear To Be vs. Who You Really Are

We all know that when you're texting that hottie from Saturday night, you're thinking damn hard about all the right ways to respond. This entails correct emoji placement, waiting the perfect amount of time to press “send,” pausing all activity and entering a state of deep thought (occasionally staring blankly into your phone) until you've crafted a sarcastic, yet hilarious response.

Sadly, WE ALL DO THIS. Quite frankly, having to constantly elicit enormous amounts of thought into the flawless formula of timing, placement and word choice can get pretty exhausting.

Let's all take a moment to acknowledge the simple fact that how you portray yourself through a texts can be entirely different than who you really are in person.

Having the time to carefully generate the perfect response is equivalent to stopping time during a face-to-face conversation. Doesn't seem so bad? Let's just talk about the awkward scenario of the guy who's a social butterfly through the screen, but when you meet in person, he's a shy introvert who is unable to maintain a conversation.

My advice to you is to try sticking to texting about logistics, like making plans to see each other and not much else.

The “Don't Text Back Right Away” Rule

Oh, cut the crap-ola, people. If you are busy, be busy. If you're not, don't be an idiot and pretend that you are. Since we have all become such proficient flirt-texters, do not underestimate the other person's ability to see through your games.

There is absolutely nothing more unattractive than someone who engages in high school tendencies such as this. Unless you're still in high school, of course, cease and desist. Do not be a part of the unfortunate collection of people who believe this is effective.

There are other ways to captivate someone's attention. For example, I don't know, being an interesting human being to begin with. Who would have thought? People who are genuinely satisfied with their lives and obtain a sufficient amount of self-esteem do not feel the need to pretend they are busy when texting, most likely because they ARE busy.

Find yourself a hobby.

Digital Connections vs. Emotional Connections

To hear the evolutionary scientists tell it, we human beings flirt to proliferate our DNA and to display our genetic worth.

Men are predisposed to be drawn to the most fertile women, identifiable by their biologically proportionate waist-to-hip ratios; whereas, women are drawn to particularly dominant dispositions, like protruding muscles and resources to invest in them and their offspring.

However, as research has shown, we don't always choose the mates that evolutionary scientists deem biologically desirable (aka the hunk with the big muscles or the chick with coke bottle proportions). It goes without saying that the most successful unions are the natural byproducts of selecting the ones whom we feel a strong emotional connection with, rather than predominantly a physical connection.

We forget that when relying solely on text messaging as a main form of communication with someone of interest, it is difficult to develop a genuine emotional relationship. Thus, a strong "textual" connection is often mistaken for a real one, which can be substantially less meaningful than an emotional connection cultivated in person.

Consequently, we construct illusions of what the person is actually like and tend to disregard the importance of human interaction.

Chivalry = “I'm outside.” = Dead

No. Just, no. This is directed towards the bros that are too lazy and cowardly to come knock on the door when picking up their date.

Traditionally raised or not, every respectable lady on the planet would rather you make the effort to get out of your car and knock on her door, instead of just send notice over text that you have arrived. If this is too much for you, then you're probably not that interested in her.

What happens if you experience this severe lack of judgment and then get a text back saying, “Come inside. I'm not ready yet.” THEN WHAT? Oh goodness, system malfunction! Your eye sight is blurring, your palms are sweating, the sky is quite literally flipping upside down and you're considering stabbing yourself in the eye because you've never had to be a damn gentleman before.

This can be avoided by simply mentally preparing yourself on the way. Be confident, put your big boy pants on and knock on that door like you mean it. One hundred extra points if you open the car door for her.

Fights and Apologies

We've all experienced the treacherous debauchery of fighting via text message. Curse words are flying everywhere, your thumbs are moving at lightning speed while you stare angrily into your phone. Usually, you end up saying things you really should not have said.

Nothing good comes out of a texting war and you should never let it happen under any circumstances. If you need to talk, call on the phone or set up a meeting in person to successfully resolve the issue.

If you receive an angry, five-paragraph essay from someone who is trying to initiate an argument with you, do yourself a favor and don't even waste your time reading it. Politely respond by acknowledging how much time and energy it took to type that message, but that you would much rather address the issue face-to-face.

Needless to say, the same goes for apologizing. Any meaningful apology, no matter how thoughtfully written, will never be as authentic as a real apology over the phone or in person. Just don't do it.

Expression Of Feelings

Remember that one ex who stole your heart when he or she professed his or her “love” to you over a text message? Oooh, the butterflies. The trembling thumbs as you slowly wrote back that you felt the same way, a tiny part of you wishing he or she would have been brave enough to tell you in person.

Who cared, anyway? You were in deep, digital love and you wanted the whole wide world to know it. This could have been kind of romantic if it weren't for the fact that it's not romantic, at all -- ever.

It's actually quite insulting. Hiding behind the screen of a cell phone when expressing the way you feel about someone, especially the first “I love you,” is a massive fail.

Don't be the spineless fool who takes the easy, less meaningful route when communicating affection towards someone who actually means something to you. This will have detrimental effects on your relationship and ability to express yourselves to one another in person.

Technology has made it easy for us to swap out an actual conversation for a mere sense of connection through a screen. Let's be active. Let's bring back real, wholesome communication that will allow us to build genuine connections with people again.

Photo credit: We Heart It