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Tips for Better Texting

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Remember the good old days when people used to call each other on the phone to communicate? When we didn't check our cell phones 783 times a day? When Blackberries and iPhones weren't even invented and "Facebook" wasn't a verb? Whether we long for those days or can't imagine such a time even existed, technology is here to stay. And because a large part of our innate make-up as human beings is the desire to connect and communicate with others, it's only natural that technology has become a large part of that too.

In the dating world specifically, texting has become a new language on its own; we use it to flirt, arrange dates, tell each other how we feel, and of course, to booty call... Using computers to communicate can be a very tricky business though. A large part of communicating involves reading and perceiving each other's emotions - we do this through body language and the tone of our voices. When these elements are removed, it can be much more difficult to understand the intentions behind the messages. We're basing our interpretation solely on our own emotions, and our interpretation of the words, and this can lead to confusion, misunderstandings, and miscommunication.

Tips for Better Texting

1. Do not use texting for serious issues. When you have something important to say, pick up the phone or arrange to meet each other in person. Using texts to convey your innermost feelings and needs is passive-aggressive, and will most likely lead to misunderstandings. When a situation is highly emotionally charged, we need body language, eye contact, and tone of voice to help us properly gauge the situation; emotions can sometimes replace our logic, and texting can't give you all the information you need.

2. Never text under the influence! This is the modern-day equivalent of Drunk Dialing, and we all know this usually leads to shame and self-loathing in the morning. Try to retain some dignity!

3. If someone calls you, call them back - don't text. Texting back tells them you don't care enough to talk to them in person.

4. Don't over-text. If you text someone and they don't text back, do not text them again! This only shows aggression, desperation, and insecurity.

5. Try to keep it clean - you never know if your texts might end up in the wrong hands...

6. Don't text in code. Remember the person on the receiving end cannot read your mind! Be clear and concise in getting your message across.

7. Don't "mis-text". Sometimes people will "accidentally" send a text to the "wrong" person, to make them jealous, or some other type of emotional manipulation. This is childish behavior and is completely transparent - when was the last time you texted the wrong person by accident? We all know it's an extremely rare occurrence.

8. Respond to peoples' texts. Just because they're not there in person doesn't mean we throw politeness out the window.

9. Don't text while you're on a date. It's rude and disrespectful, and the person you're with deserves your undivided attention.

10. Never break it off with someone by text. This is the ultimate in cowardly behavior and only makes you look like a complete jerk. Have enough respect for the other person by at least doing it over the phone...

We live in an addiction-ridden society. As humans, we crave closeness and understanding, and unfortunately, the use of technology is not always the best way to achieve this - it's a false sense of intimacy in a world where we're getting increasingly emotionally isolated from each other. Remember the importance of being around others, having real conversations, having real life experiences - technology can be used to enhance our experiences, but can never replace human contact.