By Holly A. Phillips
I got my first cell phone when I was 16 – the same year I had my first boyfriend. But cell phones were still new, and text messages cost per message, leaving actual voice conversations as the preferred mode of communication.
Obviously, communication has changed, and it’s affected the way we date. Not only is texting an accepted form of “talk,” there’s also several social media channels through which we can communicate (er, stalk).
When it comes to dating, nothing can replace face-to-face conversations. I spent last year wondering if I should get a landline, forcing any potential suitors to actually call me. I am a real sucker for those late night conversations that last longer than you planned, connecting over the things you tell no one (an obsession with Boy Meets World, perhaps).
In the beginning of a relationship, I’m not a fan of using text messages as a primary form of communication. However, I’m trying to compromise, and text a little more, only because I’m still trying Ok Cupid, and I can’t totally reject technology.
Before a first date, texting is good for logistics, i.e. “Where should I pick you up?” I also enjoy those little texts in the morning that show he’s thinking of me – “Good morning! Hope you have a great day!” – without luring me into an entire day of texting (I hate that).
When you meet someone you’re interested in, or you are just getting to know someone, it’s standard practice to search for him or her online, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or plain old Google.
I’m perfectly fine with this – after all, much of my life is published online. However, my Twitter feed is probably more revealing than I’d like to admit. Regardless, if you’re going to snoop, take it lightly. We all tend to portray one side of ourselves online – maybe it’s the perfect side, the sad side, or the glitter-obsessed cat lady side. In any case, an online profile isn’t everything, so creep at your own free will, but don’t obsess.
Checking out an online profile is one thing, but don’t give yourself away – meaning, wait to Follow, or send a Friend Request. Whatever you do, don’t mention something you saw only online: “I saw on Twitter you had tacos for lunch yesterday.” Hmm… stalker.
You know what else is creepy? “Liking” someone’s picture that’s two years old. Do that and you just gave yourself away; yep, you spent your entire Saturday night checking out all of my nail polish pictures.
I like to keep my online stalking to a minimum, at least before the first date so I can go into it with a fresh perspective. But once I get invested, I do my fair share of snooping (I solidly believe I was Harriet the Spy in a former life).
Lately, I’ve been messaging with this guy I met through Ok Cupid. It took a solid month before we exchanged numbers, and so far he’s used text sparingly, which I like. Nothing kills my interest like a slew of text messages all day. He’s admitted to reading my blog, but I find that flattering.
“If he were Ryan Gosling, you’d text him all day,” my friend said. Truthfully, I’ve never found Gosling to be hot (there goes my credibility), as I’m more of a Zac Efron/Channing Tatum type of gal.
This is where things turn grey, because everyone is different. You might meet someone who does everything online and in text messages that I hate – to each his own.
But once you get to the first date, the third or the tenth, you should always put your phone away when you’re with someone. Because no matter how you met, got to know each other, nothing on an iPhone screen should overrule a real-life date.
Read more of Holly’s advice for dating in 2014 on her blog, TheBitterLemon.com.