A couple of weeks ago I gave my number to a guy I met at a convention. I was, shall we say, stoked. Exciting possibilities whirled in my mind. Would he call in a day or two days or more? What if he called while I was at work? All of the wondering I did was for naught, however, because 48 hours after getting my number…he texted.
I am not against texting, per se. My phone plan uses more texts than voice minutes and even data. As a person who loves texting, you’d think I would have been unfazed by a texted date request. Instead, it made me feel like I had missed out on something.
Sure, it’s the digital age where you can “stalk” people on Facebook and follow their Twitter before you even officially meet. You can email or text for weeks and feel like you get in just as much conversation as if you met in person. But when we trade the real-life wink for an emoticon, the tangibility of our relationships suffers. Besides, there’s just something thrilling about hearing an actual voice on the other end of the line.
Face-to-face conversations are some of the most complicated things on the planet. This is true especially in the world of dating, where making a good impression is at the very top of your to-do list. Texting is now a socially acceptable way to talk to friends, make plans, and even flirt. Millennials today have had cell phones in hand since high school, and it provides what feels like a safe way to communicate with those around us.
With texting, there is time to think up a witty response and ask Google to explain obscure references. We can pretend to be busy or show interest with immediate answers. In short, we are able to present what we view as our best (minus those moments autocorrect makes a surprise appearance).
After a tradition of texting is kickstarted, it can be nearly impossible to stop. It may feel like it makes communication easier, but sometimes texting can lead to even more confusion in a dating relationship. Without body language and tone of voice, a teasing text can be taken the wrong way or a simple message can be overanalyzed to a point of near-insanity.
God hasn’t come down and given us the Golden Rulebook of Texting as of yet, but he has given us some other hints to creating healthy relationships:
1. Use common sense
If something doesn’t feel right, chances are that it’s not. What a lot of people call “your gut” is actually the Holy Spirit guiding you away from harm. Texting can be a thrill, but if you use it more than you use your vocal chords, you may have a problem. Proverbs 22:3 tells us that a prudent person takes precautions against danger, thereby avoiding negative consequences.
2. Be courteous
The Golden Rule is a great standard to follow. If you would rather get a phone call than a text every five minutes, maybe the other person feels the same way. Texting shouldn’t take over your entire day, either. A relationship based purely on emoticons doesn’t give you much time to invest in anything else. Just because other people do it that way doesn’t mean you should (Romans 12:2).
3. Protect your heart
Guarding your heart takes prudence and caution – two things that can be easy to wave off when you’re in the throes of a budding romance. But guarding your heart is essential and will help you keep a level head when the time comes (Proverbs 4:23). Sometimes, curbing your text messages can give you a knee up on making the best decisions.
Let’s be honest – dating is tricky enough without spending so much time glued to your phone, waiting for the next message to appear. Just remember that sometimes a voice is the best thing for a girl (or boy) to hear. Even if it just says, “Hi.”
Do you know someone who struggles to pick up the phone and call? Will you email them this post to encourage them?
Photo credit: Jhaymesisviphotography