You meet someone new, exchange numbers and then the conversation strikes. This happens often – whether you first connect through an online dating site, over social media, through a friend or during a night out on the town. And, dear friend, don’t get me wrong – swapping numbers with someone you feel chemistry with is a great way to get the ball rolling. The problem really happens when that’s as far as things get. This is what a lot of people these days are referring to as the “texting trap.”
The texting trap is when text messages are exchanged, there’s some great conversation, but then things never move to the offline world. Days turn into weeks and weeks (sometimes) even turn into months – all without a real, offline face-to-face. The issue with this is that you begin to feel more and more attached to the person on the other end of the phone, but you really haven’t had any experiences with one another. So, if and when you do eventually meet, it can be difficult or even disappointing.
To help you avoid the texting trap and keep on moving in your quest for true, authentic love, I encourage you to follow this advice:
1. Use Texting for Quick Exchanges, Not Lengthy Conversation
I recently read an article in which it said, “texting is information, not conversation” and I think that point couldn’t be any truer, particularly in this context. Text messaging is a fast and efficient way to exchange information – like the address where you’ll be meeting or to confirm that you’re still on for tonight – but it’s not replacement for phone conversation or in person discussion. This is how I see it play out: either person will send a text with something like "how was your day?". This is a great way to connect if you have already met in person. However, I've seen this question/answer combo go on for weeks as a connection replacement to actually meeting in person. When he texts you asking how your day was, feel free to hit “reply” and offer a bit of info but also reference how it would be nice to meet in person or speak by phone. Continue doing this each time you hear from him/her but if weeks are going by, politely let them know you are glad you met but you'd prefer to meet in person.
2. Text as Your Authentic Self
Something I’ve noticed women doing lately is creating online (or, in this case, on the phone) alter egos. They text differently than they’d talk in real life. They often use different words, act much more playful and avoid expressing their real opinions or wants for fear of not coming across as laid back and fun. There are two major problems with this practice. The first is that, when you do meet up offline, your authentic personality isn’t going to match up so well to the alternate persona you’ve been using in your text messages. The second is that you’re not showcasing your true, genuine self. So, the guy you’re meeting up with might end up feeling tricked or, worse, you might feel as though you have to continue the charade or even have anxiety about meeting offline because you realize you haven’t been acting yourself. And, my friend, sacrificing who you really are and what you really want is no way to kick off a new relationship.
3. Don’t Make Your Self Too Available
If you grab your phone and reply the moment you see a new text notification pop up on your screen, you’re making yourself very available. The guy on the other end (who you often haven't met in person!) is going to start expecting an immediate response from you every single time which not only sidetracks what your focus is (work, family, driving!) but I often see it lead to a bit of resentment. The problem with coming across as overly available is that the other person may begin to expect constant availability, accommodation and acceptance. You also can get addicted to the adrenaline rush that goes off every time you hear a "ping!" (did I mention this ping you are addicted to is from a guy you've never met? :)) Go ahead and answer straight away if it’s something like confirming your date for tomorrow night but be wary if he is continually trying to engage you in conversation without in-person plans.
4. Have a Deadline and Stick To It
When you meet an interesting new guy online and exchange numbers, give yourself a personal deadline. Ask yourself, “How long am I OK to stick to texting without actually speaking on the phone or setting a date to meet up?” I suggest no longer than a week and I strongly encourage you to stick with it. Avoid making excuses for him, don’t let yourself be OK with him if he should need to routinely cancel or postpone. Respect yourself and your time by holding him accountable. Does he cancel last minute or always need to “check his schedule,” and then you never wind up meeting? If so, it’s time to cut him loose and carry forward. I totally understand that life happens, people's schedules are busy and things come up but unless he is cancelling and then in the next breath suggesting a couple althernate times to meet, then just let him know he can be in touch once he knows his availability and wants to set a time. The person you truly deserve will want to make time to speak by phone and meet in person.
To your authenticity,