Texting and Sexting. You knew this post was coming.
Anyone who has known me for half a second knows of my aversion to the phone in general. Pretty much all of it. Texting. Calling. Constant notifications. Siri. (Come on... she actually announced to me from my purse one evening, "I think, therefore I am." Can you blame me?)
Those long, drawn-out calls with people you love, just to catch up? Not so much. I had to "process" with my friend, after she pinned me in the car on a recent road trip, about how I won’t call her regularly. Then she made me pinky swear to call her twice a month. Gotta love BFFs.
Facetime? No thank you. I don’t care to sit staring at each other's distorted faces on a tiny little screen. And talk. On the phone.
Texting. Really? How impersonal can you get? Not much more than that.
So while this Relationship Coach readily admits that the phone is not my "friend", and at the same time, that I sit on it for large chunks of time with clients, this brings me to my point; the deadly connection between texting and relationships. More and more, I find sessions with clients turning to "texting" issues and the countless problems being created from it. So let’s talk about some important "Do’s and Don’ts" that could help you stay out of trouble as you navigate this thing called Love:
DO text someone you just met to make an initial connection. Keep it short and light. Flirt, banter, see if he/she engages. Remember this, though: It may mean absolutely nothing. Really.
DON’T do this for weeks! If you’ve gotten what feels like a "go ahead" signal guys, ask if you can call, then do. Women, if he keeps texting, say you'd like to move it to a call and offer him your number. If he won’t make the shift, you might have dodged a bullet with a person who was hoping it would turn into some mindless "sexting."
DO text now and then as a quick way to reach out and connect if you are starting, or are in a relationship. Keep it simple, to the point and remember, punctuation can help get your mood across. "K" -vs – "Ok! That works!" Be warm and kind, even in a text.
DON’T rely on texts to be your main form of communication. You are playing with fire here, if you do. Unless your goal is to come off as someone superficial, lacking in maturity or you enjoy the tension of knowing that at any moment, the brevity needed in a text can leave information misconstrued, then don’t get lazy. Pick up the phone or wait until you are together in person. Emotional connection is strengthened by all forms of contact, but intimacy is deepened by heartfelt connection that requires being together.
DO discuss, if you are in a budding relationship, what kind of contact with "formers" works for both of you, when it comes to the phone. I can’t tell you how many times clients have hit a serious crisis point, simply because one of the parties thought answering or shooting off regular texts to their former loves was "no big deal." While they wouldn’t have actually gotten together with them or even sat on a call, the impersonal feeling of a text felt fine. Uh... if a text feels so impersonal that it feels "fine", then why are you wasting your time?
DON’T use texting or sexting as a way to soothe yourself, distract yourself from uncomfortable feelings or to fill your time because you’re bored. Come on. Seriously. Put the phone down and either deal with what is in front of you, or go engage in something meaningful.
DO use sexting if you are in a relationship, have tons of meaningful time together and are hoping it will increase the feelings of intimacy and closeness with your partner. It can be a great teaser and prelude to a wonderful evening, along with a life saver for couples navigating long distance relationships. Although, again, deepening that connection by hearing your lover's voice on the end of the line can be much more powerful.
DON’T assume that constant texts sent back and forth between you translates into something meaningful or even that the person is hoping the connection will go somewhere. It doesn’t. Trust me. I hear regularly that people simply don’t know how to tell someone to stop texting so much, are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings by not responding or that they are doing nothing more than enjoying the ego boost it’s giving them. Slow it down and see what naturally unfolds. If you aren’t blowing up the person’s phone and they then, aren’t texting you, you have some important information!
The wisdom here?
Your phone is not necessarily your best friend in the world of relationships. Put it down regularly and risk opening your heart to a real conversation, a real connection and the possibility of real intimacy. It’s worth it.