A woman texting while sat at her desk drinking coffee

12 Rules of Texting While Dating

Louisa

Written by dating expert Louisa. Last updated:

While modern dating involves a few more text messages than before, I promise you’re going to get out of this thing alive.

Today, we’re going to talk about how to gracefully embrace the rules of texting while dating, and we’ll start the journey by reminding you of the rules that haven’t changed and aren’t likely to.

In Person or On the Phone

1. Don’t Play Games

You should seek to express yourself honestly at all costs while texting a potential partner. You might find yourself wondering, “How long after the date should you text?” Don’t send mixed signals by waiting a certain number of hours to reply.

If you feel so inclined, text them or respond immediately if they’ve texted you. Successful relationships require both partners to convey their needs and personalities. Though the majority of this is done in person, see the pre-date texting phase as an opportunity to start expressing yourself.

a man receiving a text message

2. Mind Your Patterns

Learning from our past relationships has always been an important rule, and it’s just as applicable when texting. To make the most of your text conversations, look back into interactions past.

Where did you go wrong or right? Where did you lay it on too strong? Where could you have taken a little more risk? What did others do that you enjoyed or didn’t enjoy?

Explore these questions and bring your best self to the conversation.

3. Be the Texter You Want to Have

Once you’ve learned from your patterns, deliver the same type of texting performance that you want your potential partner to deliver to you. In all relationships, we should strive to be the partner we want to have.

Don’t like receiving ten texts in a row? Don’t send ten texts in a row. Exemplify good texting behavior that’s true to who you are, and you’ll be more likely to receive it.

Texter Beware

4. Ditch Old School Rules

With modern dating comes a new mindset. With the exception of those three classics already mentioned, successfully maneuvering the texting phase of a relationship requires an open mind.

Girls, you can be the ones initiating the conversation. Guys, feel free to send heart emojis and smiley faces. Getting wrapped up in outdated rules limits your self-expression.

The texting phase is an easy, no-risk opportunity to present yourself truthfully. Don’t squander it.

5. Be Aware of Who You’re Texting

Though texting might seem casual, it’s become a big part of how relationships evolve. When texting someone you want to date, stay aware of how many text conversations you’re upholding with other potential partners.

Not only are more conversations likely to stress you out, but mistaking the implications they have may leave yourself and others wondering where your loyalties lie. Look for a healthy cut-off point where you commit to texting one person, and don’t give in to all the options that online dating appears to offer.

6. Don’t Make Assumptions

Just like in person, people express themselves differently while texting. They perceive rules like these differently or don’t perceive them at all.

Don’t overthink why someone texts you late at night or you don’t hear from them for a day. If you’re worried the conversation isn’t going well, remember we all have lives that come with countless variables affecting how and when we text.

a woman waiting for a message on her cell phone at night

Texting Rules Before the First Date

7. Make Plans Soon

The meat of relationships happens face-to-face, so once you’ve started texting, make plans for the first date soon and make those plans specific.

Seek out specific times and places, and use confident language like, “I’d love to go for a walk with you at the park tomorrow at 5”, rather than, “Maybe we could get together this week”.

There’s nothing wrong with an open-ended invitation (flexibility to your partner’s interests and schedule should be respected at all costs), but offering up a date with specificity creates more interest and efficiency.

8. Don’t Talk Too Much

Conversations via text are best when they’re easygoing. We all know that texting huge blocks of text to each other is secretly exhausting. Though we always want to give our text partners something worth responding to, avoid asking too many questions at once, pairing a question with another talking point, and making the conversation about three different things.

9. Save Heavy Stuff for the Date

Learning about one another is the most fun and true when done in person. It’s preferable to keep the texting phase both light and brief so we can save bigger conversation topics for the dates themselves.

Try to save topics like family, values, work, and personal history for the dinner table. It leaves more to be excited about when seeing one another.

10. Avoid “Angry” Texts

Growing anxiety concerns of the modern age leave many of us needing some reassurance. When texting in the early stages of dating, keep the mood light with fun emojis and exclamation points rather than texting short, curt sentences that end in periods and could leave people nervous.

Over time, your partner will learn your natural texting style and be able to decipher when you’re upset or not.

The First Date and Beyond

11. Texting in Person

Remember that texting still has a presence when you’re actually with your partner on a date. Be sure to remember proper etiquette in person, too.

Whether you’re dining together or driving together, taking focus off your partner and spending your time with them by texting other people is a no go.

12. Follow Up Truthfully

Should you contact after a first date (and you should), do so honestly. If you’re not interested in seeing the person for a second date, kindly let them know. It may be uncomfortable, but see it as a chance to practice being honest with yourself and others. You’ll need to know how to do that if this whole dating thing is going to happen.

If you had fun, but those butterflies are keeping you from saying something that doesn’t sound stupid, then check out these examples of texts to send after the first date.

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