Like it or not, texting skills are a must in the dating world.
By Marina Margulis — Updated on May 21, 2023
Photo: etonastenka / Shutterstock
Face it, gentlemen: Dating success often boils down to your ability to text.
In “texts,” I include everything from regular messaging to social media communications like Tinder, Facebook, Instagram and others. Whatever your virtual congregation of choice, you must become the master of the pen (read: thumbs) to score yourself a date.
So what’s the problem? Why aren’t you at the altar yet, or at least dating the woman of your dreams? Lucky for you, I have some quick and easy fixes for whatever ails you.
Here are five texting mistakes that ruin a guy’s chance to meet great women:
1. You don’t know what to say
Sometimes you’re really at a loss for words. The good news for you, however, is that it’s texting. You don’t need to improvise. Come up with some openers, and write them out and keep them near/on/around you at all times.
Here, anything goes. Yes, you can plagiarize good openers from many sources, from obscure detective novels to Sunday morning sports talk shows. Just make sure you’re not quoting from a famous piece of writing. (Don’t even think about what Googling. Chances are, she’ll recognize many of them.)
Just keep two things to avoid in mind: Being creepy and being boring. Not sure if you are? Run your lines by a female friend. Women will spot creepy or boring immediately. And since we’re on the subject of boredom, we arrive at point No. 2.
2. She’s not intrigued
Your opener worked. She responded. You’re now texting back and forth for a few days/weeks, but there’s still no date. Not even a promise of one. That means you’ve managed to put yourself into a pen-pal zone. That’s the virtual equivalent of a friend zone in the real world.
You need to review your conversations. Are you discussing movies/weather/current events? Boring. Pretend you’re in a bar trying to pick up a girl. What would you do? Discuss the barometric pressure or flirt with her. It’s highly likely that you would go for the latter. Likewise, you have to send texts that are light and flirty.
3. She stays virtual
Does your new text interest refuse to set a date or cancel each date at the last minute? Or even worse, does she schedule and then not show up? Then we need to go back to point No. 2. She’s not intrigued. If she were, she would be bursting to meet you in person and get to know you better. Your texts need to portray the man she’s curious about; the man who’s easy to talk to, yet enigmatic and charismatic at the same time.
Look at it this way, if you see a shiny new car in the car dealership window that contains a sticker describing all of its specifications, would you want to step inside? Why would you? You already made up your mind that you know everything about this car and you’re fine with just looking outside. However, if the description contains only some vitals, you would likely go to see the rest because it intrigued you. It’s there that the salesman gets you with everything else that you’ve always wanted in the car but didn’t expect to find in this one.
Get the analogy? It’s just like that! you are the salesman. You want to intrigue her just enough to make her want to know more. It’s at the actual (not virtual) date that you should seal the deal.
4. Your texts make her uncomfortable
Remember the creepy factor we discussed in No. 2? That’s the one. Women have to feel safe, first and foremost. When you come on too strong or too intense, you intimidate women and they back away. So if her responses shrink to a mere “K,” examine your style. Better yet, let a female friend examine it. Coming on too strong will certainly push her away.
On the other hand, maybe your texts are just too bizarre for her to handle. Telling her that your ideal date is licking her big toe in a dark movie theater won’t necessarily have her running scared, but running away nonetheless.
5. Your text chats are losing steam
If she’s texting less and less before you even meet, she’s losing interest. The question is why. If this happens after a date, she’s not interested. If she were, she would participate fully.
You may try once more for a second date. However, if the answer is a firm “no” or an elusive “maybe,” move on. If, on the other hand, you didn’t even meet yet, ask yourself why she’s phasing out. Are you boring (see point No. 2)? Are you intriguing her? Are you portraying a guy she would want to know? Once you lose her interest, you need to regain it back quickly (remember the car analogy?) or lose it forever.
The good news, gentlemen, is that for any and all of your texts, you can preempt them. If spontaneous doesn’t work for you, don’t force it. This is the age of the internet. You can always find help choosing the right words. It’s once you meet that you need to shine on your own, but that’s a whole other article.
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Marina Margulis is a writer and matchmaker who believes dating should be easy and natural.