The advent of the smartphone and the Internet means that we now lead two lives: our ‘real’ life and our ‘phone’ life. Many of us treat our devices like an appendage, keeping them within easy reach at all times so that we can check in and out of our real life and phone life throughout the day.

We can be engaged in an enthralling conversation with a friend over a wonderful meal at a bustling restaurant, but the moment we hear that familiar ‘beep’ notification, we’re drawn to pick up our phones like a moth to a flame; and without hesitation we pause our ‘real lives’ to check what’s happening in our ‘phone’ life.

For single people in search of a romantic connection carrying a smartphone is the equivalent to carrying a 24/7/365 singles bar located in the palm of their hand. Singles can spend a few moments on any number of dating apps, swipe right a few times and find themselves with an endless supply of romantic options to explore in their phone.

Texting is the new ‘first impression’ and initially it’s all the other person has to go on to determine whether you’re a creeper or a keeper. To help you amp up your phone world/texting game, here are our critical do’s and don’ts when texting and dating.

A Good text vs. a Generic text

A good first text should include a thoughtfully crafted message that’s friendly, flirty, concise and specific to the recipient. A ‘hey you!’ ‘Wassup’, ‘Whatcha up to?’ text is generic and shows little thought or effort. It tells the recipient that you’re lazy and dull and she/he isn’t very important to you.

Your text messages are all that a person has to go on as you are shaped in their minds; and these snippets of banter can have a profound effect on how this person forms an impression of you. There is big difference in the romantic success of the man who texts something personal and genuine like:

‘Hi Angela, great to ‘meet’ you. We’re going on a date this Saturday!


‘Hey, Wassup?’

A good text message should include something personal (like a callback to the last engagement) along with an invitation to something specific at a specific time. 

The Waiting Game

How long should we wait in between texts? Does texting back right away make you seem desperate and less appealing? We all know we’re glued to our phones so why do we play these mind games? Do we seem more attractive to people when we come off as a little distant or disinterested?

We’ve become conditioned to expect immediate gratification over text and feel uneasy and anxious when we don’t get the quick response. Some say they wait to respond because they want to keep the upper hand and/or appear busy and important. Others understand that by holding back they become more attractive to the other person. By not being ‘present’ on your phone you increase your ‘presence’ in the other persons mind. It’s a mind game, but it’s also a powerful way to build attraction.

There is no rule of thumb when it comes to how long to wait. Some say wait ten minutes, some say double the amount of time since his/her last text, some say 1.25x while others subscribe to no more than 3 minutes. And some just find this whole notion frustrating.

The Endless Back and Forth

How many times have you found yourself engaging in clever, witty banter with a new Tinder match that you’re excited about, only to watch the flame burn out and fizzle into nothing? It’s easy to hide behind the texts on your phone and get sucked into endless banter that never leads to a real world interaction. Texting is the perfect vehicle to negotiate real world meeting times and places; it’s not for ad nauseam useless banter.

Do’s and Don’ts of Sexting

Today almost everybody has a high quality camera and video recorder in their hands and sexting is a timeless tradition that has evolved as technology advances.

Don’t risk looking like a douche by asking for naked pictures or making explicit sexual comments/innuendos too early in the interaction.

Do use sexting when you’re in a relationship to help you share and/or maintain intimacy over long distances, initiate foreplay and allow each person to share his or her needs and fantasies.

Just be sure you use a service like Snapchat that offers self- deleting messages. You never know where those photos can end up after the relationship ends.

Calling v. Texting

If you ask a young person how they feel about using the phone to initiate contact, the most common response is that they get anxious at the thought of a real world conversation with people they don’t know. They’re more comfortable behind their screens because they grew up in the digital age. Ask a middle-aged person the same question and you’ll get a different answer.

The older generation views the phone call as an important medium to help build rapport and establish a comfort level that helps to move the relationship from the screen into the real world. Woman often separate the ‘men’ from the ‘boys’ when initial contact is made via phone because it demonstrates courage and maturity. Women want to hear your voice and gauge your ability to have spontaneous conversations. A phone call is also flattering and makes us feel special.

The Importance of Grammar & Spelling

Bad spelling or grammar is an immediate and major turn off for men and women. You can be the most attractive, funny and smart person who ever existed, but if you can’t spell or punctuate correctly you will come across looking like a bozo. It cannot be overstated how important it is to check spelling and grammar when texting! 

No matter how many romantic options we have in our phones, we should always remember that there is a human being behind them; and this human being is wired to seek out ‘real’ life connections with other humans. Texting is a terrific tool for modern dating, but it cannot compare to connecting and getting to know people in person. We’re much better off putting our devices down and spending more time connecting with people in the ‘real’ world.