Life Advice



Erika Ettin: Texting makes dating difficult

Erika Ettin, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

I have an app that tells me the keywords people use to get to my website. When I checked the list of keywords recently, the top results (excluding the name of the business and my name) were:

- Text before first date

- Text after date

- How much texting is too much

- Texting before the first date

- Texting before meeting in person

- When to text after a date

Notice any trends? I realized that if so many people are asking about texting and dating, then it was worth discussing the etiquette of texting, or textiquette.

Who doesn't love a sweet text now and then? It's nice to wake up to a "Good morning" or get a thoughtful "Thinking about you" in the middle of the day. But where do you draw the line between cute and inappropriate?

For better or for worse, the days of calling and asking someone out are slowly going the way of the landline or even the DVD player (gasp!). A phone call is still the best method if you've met in person already or a friend is fixing you up. If you met online, though, I recommend just scheduling the date over the online dating site's messaging platform. (Caveat: In corona-times, I recommend scheduling the call or video chat over the dating platform, as you would plan a regular date.) I do, however, recommend exchanging numbers a day or two prior to the date so you can 1) confirm and 2) contact each other the day of in case something goes awry (you need to cancel, you're running late, etc.).

In terms of confirming, it's best to confirm a day before the date. A text like, "Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at 7" should do the trick. Your date will be thrilled to see that you're on the ball. And take the decisive approach rather than the meek, "Are we still on for tomorrow?"


Now, what if someone wants to text before the first date, and not just to confirm? It happens all the time... someone includes his or her phone number on a dating site or app and says, "Text me" or "Reach out to me," seemingly to make communication easier. Does it really make it easier, though? Isn't it just as easy to check your Hinge/Bumble/Coffee Meets Bagel apps as it is a text? If you have your notifications on, which I recommend, then the answer is yes.

Besides the never-ending text relationship that might form with no date in sight, by texting too much before the date, you run the risk of building a false sense of this person in your mind that probably does not equate to what he or she is like in real life.

So, if you're intent on texting before a date, then try to keep these texts to a minimum, with the sole purpose of determining the logistics of the date and confirming. Not to start every morning with "How are you?" That will get old fast.

After the first date, my favorite use of the text is the "thank you" text. If you had a good time and want to see this person again, send a text either later that night or the next day saying something to the effect of, "Thanks again for a fun time last night!" The "thank you" text advice goes for both men and women. Assuming your date had a great time too, seeing your name pop up will put a smile on his or her face. And if someone needs a little encouragement to know that you're interested, the "thank you" will also play that role.

Remember, I'm not saying all texting is bad. In fact, it can be great, like when you're in a relationship to check in with someone during the day or to send an inside joke. The sooner you meet (or these days, connect in some way), the sooner you'll know if there's chemistry. And then text away!


(Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter, for updates and tips.)

(c)2020 Erika Ettin

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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