Keeping the Conversation Going and Going: Modern Relationships, Social Media and Texting

Relationships are hard. Ask any person that has been married, in a relationship, or dating over the course of the last several decades. However, today’s lovers have another layer of complication to tangle with. In the past, you could call a person you’re seeing but now many people text back and forth. While it’s convenient, the means of communications introduces a number of issues.

The Frequency

Some people are big talkers while others are reserved. The same sentiment applies to different kinds of texters. Some people love relaying how they feel, what they’re eating, and how their day is going through texts. Others may prefer in-person contact and only text when necessary. When in a relationship, it’s not only important to consider what you’re texting but also the frequency. In a natural conversation, the other person responds immediately. But that’s not always the case when texting. Also, you must consider reciprocity. If you’re texting with short replies while the other person is writing paragraphs, will they feel like you’re blowing them off or you’re annoyed? Be mindful of the frequency of texts and how you respond to others; otherwise, you may give the other person the wrong idea.

The Preference

As mentioned, some people may prefer other modes of communication, such as speaking on the phone. Others may prefer to wait for in-person interactions to express passion and to get fully invested in conversation. Rather than wonder why a guy doesn’t text back, know the other person’s preferences. Make sure your partner understands your preference. If you’re the kind of person that gets annoyed by texts or prefers not to text at all, then you will grow frustrated dating a person that texts you every emotion they’re feeling or every observation throughout the day. Some couples love to feel connected and text each other throughout the day, yet if you’re not one of those people, then you have to be verbal about your likes and limitations.

The Tone

In person, a person can gather several clues as to whether the other person is interested in the conversation, turned off, or if their attention is elsewhere. Texting is different because the cues are limited. Be mindful of the tone of your texts, especially if the other person tends to be sensitive or often overthinks things. For example, you may be ready to get in the shower or in the middle of a work meeting, so you send a short text in reply. The other person may feel shunned or that you’re not interested in talking with them though that is not the case. While convenient, texting can get complicated, so pay attention to what you’re writing and consider how the other person may feel when reading it.

The Distraction

Texting is not just a concern when texting the person you’re dating. It’s also a concern when texting or partaking in social media when in their company. For example, you may notice people with their head down in their phone while at a restaurant. How does the other person sitting across from them feel about that? Some may not mind while others may be very offended. Texting and social media can be convenient in keeping contact with others and it can also be a distraction when you’re in the company of others.

The Courtship

Texting and social media play a major part in modern dating. For example, you may meet a potential mate on a social platform and communicate a few times before getting a person’s number. From there, you may graduate to texting before agreeing to meet in person. Moreover, you have to understand that a potential mate may have several people getting their attention at one time. Since communicating via social platforms and texts is not technically dating, it’s normal for people to entertain a number of options. Such a dynamic is very convenient for some while it takes some understanding and getting used to by those who are a bit more traditional.

The Norm

Texting and social media is not going away. If anything, more people are investing in smart phones, signing up for dating sites, and getting used to sending and receiving texts as an initial or ongoing means of communication with mates and lovers. While you may not like the thought of engaging in social media or needing to text, it has become the norm. Therefore, rather than feel resistant to the evolution of interaction, you should embrace it. Of course, once you feel comfortable and get to know another person, you can discuss your preferences and dislikes. But until then, understand that social media and texting is here to stay, at least for now.

Janice Peterson is a relationship therapist who also gives talks on occasion to help answer questions on modern dating, and what goes on in men’s and women’s heads! She also writes for relationship and lifestyle blogs.

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I'm the resident dating expert here. I love women, believe me. Maybe a little too much, but I give great advice. Just try me.

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