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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Little love lessons: The technique of texting

It could be the end of the world. It probably is. You press send. It’s a text message, a simple text message. Yet, it feels like a bowling ball is sitting in your stomach. Actually, it feels like seven bowling balls are sitting in your stomach. Then your phone buzzes. This might be the best feeling in the world – until you realize it’s your dad asking for the Netflix password. Now the bowling balls are back. 

Texting is a staple in building a relationship today. Yet, most of us are terrible at it. We wait too long to text back or we text back too quickly. We flirt too much or aren’t flirty enough. Is there even a right way to text someone? Probably not. But if we can just be a bit better than the other person at texting – we may have a chance.  

The first text is always the hardest, but it is also the least important. It is solely dependent on your prior relationship with the person. So while this stage may be scary, it’s easy. If you just met, you text about how you would love to see them again and maybe even throw in a good joke – I like jokes. If they’re a classmate, you may text about a homework problem or how your professor is the reason you cry yourself to sleep. These texts are sincere, but there’s no substance. This is the starting point, so keep it simple. If they like you in any sense, they will respond. Just remember that you won’t win the race to their heart with this text. 

We sometimes end the race before even starting it, partially due to some people not giving us a lot of substance when texting. They either take forever to respond, don’t ask us anything, or use way too many emojis. But it’s also our fault. We see this terrible behavior and mirror it; if they aren’t giving us anything, we won’t give them anything. We want to fight fire with fire. This is the wrong approach. Mirroring others is good, but only when we first model what we want to see. 

What behavior do we want to model? When texting, the spotlight is meant to be shared – not dominated. We spend so much time reading into texts because we continuously question whether someone is interested in us; maybe make it easier by showing that you are interested in them! This doesn’t mean randomly texting them that you like them – that would be weird. Show, don’t tell. You show you like someone by getting to know them. It’s a give and take. If you show that you are interested in them and their interests, then they will be more interested in you – or at least they should be. So ask the other person about themselves and don’t text them a monologue of your entire life. No one wants to talk to the egocentric person who goes on and on about themselves.

Everyone has different circumstances for the person they are texting – meaning we all have different questions that need to be asked. Not everyone has to follow The New York Times 36 questions that lead to love – although they are an enjoyable read. Texting is a test of compatibility. Therefore, we want to paint a more full picture of the other person. You may have just met the person at a party and you want to understand who they are outside of that one drunken Saturday night. They might be your lab partner or classmate, meaning that your biggest goal will be switching the conversation from an academic one to something social. The early stages of texting allow us to fill in the holes of who this other person is and understand who they are outside of the environment in which we met them. 

Asking questions is a good method to use, but texting is a conversation, not an interrogation. When talking, do not be that person who has a set list of questions and cannot deviate from that line of questioning. It’s perfectly fine to think about what you want to ask the other person and have those questions in the back of your head in case conversation runs dry, but you need to really listen to what the other person is saying. That is genuine interest. Let the conversation be fluid. If they say something funny, say something funny back. If they mention that they like skiing, say that you have never been skiing – maybe that is just me. If they tell you about their classes, ask which one is their favorite and why. Keep going deeper. This doesn’t only help you build a connection with a person, but it also allows for you to better understand whether or not you would be a good fit with one another – which is the goal of all of this. So while you may write your texts in your notes app before texting back, you also need to be able to think on the fly.

Thinking on the fly means juggling multiple conversation topics – therefore you have to be okay with double texting. For some reason, we think double texting is as bad as saying that we prefer The Ole Store over Reunion. When you talk, don’t hold back. Double texting can be seen as desperate, but if anything, it is courageous. You are putting yourself out there. If you have something to say, say it. If you want to ask that extra question, ask. We all worry too much about the social repercussions of our actions rather than showing someone who we are. If someone likes you, they won’t care if you send them one, five, or ten texts. Who knows, maybe they will do the same. 

  Where does all of this time and texting lead to? Well, to see them in person. Eventually we all have to take a leap of faith and ask the most important question of all – do you want to do something? What will that something be? Well that depends on your texts. It could be studying at Little Joy, climbing in the Rec, or going to the weekend movie in Weitz. There is no perfect first date. There is no right way to text. But if you are able to listen and ask good questions, you should have a pretty good understanding of the person on the other side of the phone. 

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    FanFeb 8, 2023 at 9:05 pm

    I love these. Please write more.