Dating in 2013 is pretty interesting.
We live in a world where we know far more about other peoples’ lives than ever before.
We can not have seen a friend for years, and yet still know who they’re dating, whether they’ve put on weight, and what they’ve done that evening. All a the touch of a button.
Facebook, Twitter, email, text message – the world is genuinely a very small place these days.
And with all those opportunities for contact, and contact-less communication, it can make Dating a very complicated world.
As part of my WORDS and GAMES experiments, I’ll be reading a number of different Dating Guides, and trying some of them out – including ‘The Rules’ – a book written twenty years ago about how to snag a man and keep him. Interestingly, the version of the book I purchased has been updated to include things like text etiquette and social networking – issues which genuinely affect modern day dating and first impressions.
Before I explore the book and give you my opinions (and perhaps experimental experiences) of ‘The Rules’, I wanted to discuss phone etiquette, from my experiences so far.
During the 30 Dates Challenge, my experiences texting boys were rather different to a normal dating situations. I had actively advertised for Blind Dates, recommended by friends, and freely given my phone number out to any guy volunteering to be a part of the Challenge. So every time I received a text or call from an unknown phone number, it was typically a new blind date opportunity.
Nowadays, the only unknown phone number contacting me out of the blue is Dominos pizza! And the only random phone calls I get are from PPI Complaint Management Companies promising me thousands!
Back in a more normal dating world (albeit one where the majority of my dates do know that I write a dating blog), unless a date is set up by a friend, I exchange phone numbers with guys I’ve already chatted to over Tinder messages before lining up a date.
There are three aspects of dating phone etiquette when it comes to a first date.
The first part is Pre-Date Communication.
Now, if I’ve already agreed to go on a date with someone, personally I’m not too fussed how much they talk to me or not. I’ve become seasoned enough to realise that even if you have brilliant pre-date banter with someone and still end up not attracted to him.
It’s obviously nice for someone to make an effort. But after my experiences with Henley Boy, I try not to invest too much of my time or excitement in the pre-date build-up.
One of Dapper Gent’s favourite dating comments is ‘manage your expectations’ … and the thing about pre-date communication, is you can over-egg your expectations.
By not over-thinking a date too much, you’re less likely to be disappointed by reality! It’s also a message I try to convey in a number of my posts – focus on what you’ll be doing on the date, rather than the person you’re meeting, and then if you end up fancying your date, it’s an unexpected bonus.
The next aspect of date phone etiquette is phone-use During the Date.
Everyone has different tolerance to phone use. As someone permanently attached to her iPhone, I don’t have too much issue with someone answering a text message on a date, or googling something. Those of you who read Blonde Ambition’s write-up of her date with Dapper Gent, will know she wasn’t overly impressed with his use of Google Maps to find his way to one of their date locations. I’m the complete opposite – I grab my phone at any opportunity – using it to trawl for train times, to check a topic of debate, or find out how to navigate between Tube Stations.
So I don’t really have a problem with phone use on a date, unless of course my Date spends more time on his phone than actually communicating with me. Back during the Henley Boy days I remember him getting a text during dinner, and reading it out to me, together with his response, as if to underline he wasn’t texting another girl. To be honest, that kind of behaviour is completely unnecessary! And if anything, especially in hindsight, just seems even more suspicious than simply saying ‘excuse me’ and replying quietly to a text!
Finally there is Post-Date Communication.
Now I for one, am never really a fan of phone calls. With the exception of HB, who ashamedly had my heart racing every time his name flashed up on my phone, during the week between our first and second dates, I tend not to answer phone calls from boys! Unless I’m in a situation where I can freely talk, which isn’t often, I’d much prefer to reply at the my own pace, and communicate over text message. I text a lot, and the frequency of my text isn’t necessarily an indicator of how much I fancy someone. If my phone buzzes with a text message, I tend to reply pretty quickly to it, and (in case you haven’t noticed reading this blog) always have a fair bit to say!
In this day and age, post-date communication can make or break whether one date turns into two.
The nature of Whats App, iMessage and Facebook mean that if you send through a message, and the other person has opened it, you can often tell that you’re being ignored. Now obviously everyone has different text etiquette, and different appreciation of a polite response window. Too quick a response or too slow – these can be the actions which determine whether you end up dating someone.
This month (despite it being arguably the worst dating month of the year, what will all the hideous facial hair around!), I’ve been fortunate to go on dates with several different men. And consider second and third dates with a couple of them.
I’ll go into detail about the effects of dating multiple guys at the same time in a later post, but one of the things I’ve been able to observe, having been at the post-first date stage with four different guys at the same time, is what works for me, and what doesn’t.
I’m not a game player.
If you check out Dapper Gent’s review of his date with Blondie, you’ll know that she likes to delay answering text messages, and then wasn’t at all happy when he tried to beat her at her own game and ignored her texts for two days!
I’d never do that with someone. In fact the only times I don’t reply to texts are when I’ve opened them whilst half-asleep, or forgotten to press send on my response! If I don’t fancy someone, (thanks the the HB lesson), I would never simply not reply back. Instead, I’d be very honest and explain that I’m not interested.
However, I do have certain expectations from a guy.
The best way to illustrate this is with actual examples – because I know you guys enjoy being able to put blog names to situations!
Remember Guy Fawkes? The lovely Army Officer who I went on three dates with at the start of the month. Very polite, well-brought up chap. Not only texted back immediately, but often called, and always left voicemails if I didn’t answer the phone. I’ve discussed how he’s very much on the rebound, and fresh out of a relationship, and would suggest that this is perhaps why he’s such an intense communicator – used to being able to phone a girlfriend whenever he wanted, and not think twice about the impression it gave. To me, that’s overkill, and unfortunately rather off-putting.
I might add, I was actually really honest with him, and outright told him on a couple of occasions that he might want to start playing a bit more ‘hard to get’ and remember we’re not going out. To which he has backed off. He still texts and calls, but with far more acceptable frequency.
Then there’s the other Army Officer I’ve dated this month. Dapper Gent’s housemate The Legal Eagle.
Now this is an odd one, because to some degree I have an informant, telling me what the Eagle has said about me post-date, and suggesting reasons for Eagle’s behaviour. Even before the date I was given a head’s up that Eagle is pretty shy, and that once he really liked a girl but never got round to texting her back. So I had a good head’s up that he might be rather lacking in the post-date communication department.
But putting aside the nice things Eagle has apparently told Dapper about me since what I thought was a rather successful date last Sunday, in terms of Eagle actually communicating with me, I’ve heard from him three times in the last week, and all in response to texts from me.
Admittedly, because Dapper had warned me Eagle was shy, I pre-empted things, sending him a text on Sunday evening telling him how much I enjoyed the date. He replied some time later, briefly saying something similar. I replied, and didn’t hear back.
Two days later I texted again, and only received a response another two days later, when Dapper called him out on not actually replying.
I got a text the next day, but when I replied and tried to start a conversation, it fell flat.
Now, if you are post-first date, and you didn’t kiss on that date, you are in a rather vulnerable position. Because you genuinely don’t know if that person is attracted to you. And if you actually rather like him, then it’s easy to read into his attraction or lack of, by looking at how eager he is to communicate with you.
No matter how keen Dapper has said Eagle is, surely the fact I’ve had three (rather forced) texts in seven days should say it all?
Which is definitely a shame, as I’d actually had him pegged as one of the most eligible matches I’d encountered in the entire five months of 30 Dates! But then maybe that’s because he seemed to be a tough nut to crack? We all want what we can’t have, right?!
Finally, there’s Mr Mauve – the first of my 12 Dates of Christmas, who I hope to tell you about shortly.
Now, our communication has largely been pre-date rather than post (for the very fact that our date ended at about 1am this morning!) but he managed to hit the nail on the head with text communication before the date.
Because of our busy schedules, we had to organise the date two weeks in advance, which is often the kiss of death for a first date. If you leave it to long, other things come around, and several times during 30 Dates I found myself being cancelled on by guys who I’d made plans with too far in the future.
However Mr Mauve managed to keep communication an acceptable constant in the lead up to our date.
He didn’t text every day, but he would always be the one to initiate the texts. And if I replied promptly with equally open content, we would end up having a text conversation for half an hour or so, each replying relatively quickly to the other person’s reply.
It was polite, interesting, but not too over the top. Enough that I felt comfortable around him when I met up with him last night in London, but not overkill. And enough that we’d established a communication norm with one another, so that after the date, on our respective trains home, it wasn’t weird that we then sent each other a few text messages.
The moral of my stories?
1) Text rather than call – that way the person can reply when they want to
2) But because a text allows you to reply when you want to, don’t leave it too long, else the other person will think you don’t actually want anything at all!
3) Remember people can see when you’re ignoring them. Be the bigger man or girl. If you’re not interested just tell someone. Don’t leave them sitting around, waiting for days to hear back from you.
4) If you genuinely have a reason for not replying, then explain yourself.
5) Don’t read too much into the pre-date texts … but don’t be too naive when it comes to post-date texts … or a general lack of!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx