Originally published at: YourTango.com
Photo credit: Your Tango
Yes, something as innocent as texting can seriously ruin a good thing.
Texting is a fixture in the modern relationship — a seemingly quick, low-pressure form of communication that has morphed into a source of anxiety, affirmation, confusion, devotion, and fury.
As a 20-something matchmaker in Beverly Hills, I work with a plethora of young people who are attempting to navigate the rough waters of a relationship landscape that either thrives or fails based on one's understanding of texting do's and don'ts. When you're dating, your phone is the lifeline of your relationship.
These are the definitive rules:
1. Always wait for the guy to text you first after the first date.
Under every circumstance, in perpetuity throughout the universe, the guy always texts first after your initial meeting. Ladies, unless a guy was a #sexyfireman who saved you from a burning mansion and didn't have his iPhone handy to take your number, do not text him first.
You both swapped numbers? Let him text you. Always, always, always give him your number. If he says, "Take mine…my phone died," so did the possibility of this relationship.
2. Guys: Call before starting a texting relationship.
You need to text first during the initial courting process (aka before and after the first and second date), preferably once a day or every two days if you think she is a keeper.
The best thing you can do before you become daily texting buddies is to ask her out on a legitimate date. Call her to make definitive plans before you begin your textual relationship.
I am not a phone person at all, but even I agree that an old-school phone call really puts a guy a cut above the rest of the crop. Get that initial call out of the way early on and plan a date with her so she knows you think that she's worth it.
Once you have made that verbal contact and a concrete plan for the future, it is ok to get textual again.
3. Text a few times throughout the day.
During the first few days after you begin to flirt via text, guys: this is your time to shine! Let me let you in on a little secret: if a girl doesn't hear from you, she thinks that you are just not that into her.
By no means am I advising you to harass her with a play-by-play of your office mishaps or spend your entire day glued to your iPhone (even though, let's be real, we know you are), but if you are into a girl and have a good rapport going, shoot her a text at some point throughout the day.
The best way to navigate the text flirt is to send her funny comments based on something that you have experienced together IRL. Emojis are cute and encouraged to illustrate your point, but don't get caught into the trap of an Emoji exchange. Initially, they are charming — but grow tiresome after the fifth monkey covering its face.
4. Don't attempt to get to know her intimately through texting.
Save questions like, "so, why did you move to LA?" for in-person communication. The best texts are the fun texts. It's okay (even preferable) if they are about inane parts of your day.
Maybe you saw a Nicholas Cage lookalike on the subway or a pineapple in a briefcase during jury duty. These are great texting convos. But talking about intimate details of your life and how your little brother dropped out of college and is now undergoing hair removal therapy is just awkward. Save it for the 4th date... or your therapist.
5. Don't text after 11 P.M.
If she happens to respond to you after said time, great. But, unless you have supremely classified her as a booty-call, anything after 11 P.M. screams sext. Ladies, take note.
6. All major "define the relationship" talks should occur during an actual conversation.
Preferably in person. Nothing is worse than a "will u b my gf?" story to tell the grandkids. At the least, do it on FaceTime.
7. You can't text tone.
If you are having some kind of tiff, attempting sarcasm will only make it worse. There is no substitute for a non-robotic human voice (sorry, Siri) and the variety of inflections that it is capable of relaying.
If there is any sort of confusion, if you are feeling jilted, upset, or ornery, CALL. It will save you hours of stress and having to decode passive-aggressive dot-dot-dot during an argument.
8. Ladies: For every 3 texts that he initiates, you should initiate 1.
In the beginnings of the wooing/dating process, if a girl wants to be a bit old-school in her ways, it is good to let the guy text first. It shows an iota of effort on their part and allows them to step it up a bit, which they may translate into other aspects of the relationship.
Guys: it is super important for you to understand this. Some men come into date coaching and complain that the girl hasn't reached out to them, to which I reply #obvi. Unless otherwise expressed, think of it as one of your manly duties to reach out first.
A note for my old-school ladies: after the third or fourth date, feel free to begin to initiate text first. The scale should definitely tip on his side in terms of who is texting first, but if you are too much of a passive texter and you have been dating for a minute, he will think that you are not interested.
9. Don't text during a date.
When you're out with your friends (or interacting with another human being in general), put your phone down. If you absolutely need to respond to your text, make it a big deal and read it out to the group or to your date so it becomes a group activity.
If your date or friend reaches for their phone when you are together, ask them in a panicked voice, "Is everything ok?!" God-willing, they will get the hint.
10. Don't text while driving.
Wait for a stop light (kidding).
Alessandra Conti, Matchmaker.