My experiences recently seem to have a similar theme – what amount of communication do I expect and how these expectations can get me into trouble.
I’ve had on and off blog conversations about this as I’ve explored various opinions and insights. There are a huge variation of opinions, but most tend to agree on the following:
- Constant texting before you’ve met each other is a red flag. Meaning, every day, without much pause, throughout the day and night. Many of us don’t like this even later in a relationship (myself included).
- Someone who challenges why you aren’t responding quickly enough is also not a good sign early on (and I don’t mean – “hey haven’t heard from you for three days, everything okay?”)
Those are the only commonalities. I’m open to other universal truths if anyone cares to suggest one.
The thing that has genuinely puzzled me the last few weeks is the comments people have made along the lines of: if someone is in daily contact they are needy or clingy. I can recognize needy and clingy and daily contact doesn’t necessarily feel that way to me.
So what does needy and clingy feel like? Constant texting, non-stop throughout the day and evening – because it signals to me the person doesn’t have enough in their life already and I’m going to become their sole focus. Someone who is always asking me what I’m doing – because especially very early on, it signals that they are actively trying to suss out if I’m dating others, and it feels too intrusive for me. Someone who keeps texting even when I haven’t responded – which is just annoying. I have a busy job and while I can manage to send a few texts in a day, I can’t have a conversation.
There are other red flags about the content of texts, but I’m going to focus on frequency.
The overwhelming majority of men I’ve met on a dating site tend to be in contact every single day – before and after I’ve met them. As you all know, these men have run the gamut from just wanting a hookup to hoping to be in a relationship right away. Some have been needy, but many have not.
So how does it happen with such a broad spectrum of men?
I woke up with some insight, and it has everything to do with how I’ve been meeting men.
When you meet someone on a dating site, if you don’t text daily you will lose their attention. There isn’t a sense of slower pace usually. Here’s the key – once you connect with someone and start a conversation, you’re having a conversation. You’re not only sending a text every two days. Well if you do, it’s going to take weeks.
Generally speaking, once people start texting, you have conversations in spurts. Initially you might spend 15 minutes or even an hour texting back and forth on the dating site. I do this (and don’t mind) because I’m trying to suss out the following:
- Are they who they say they are?
- Do we have some compatible interests?
- Can they carry on a conversation (believe me, as much as texting is a weak communication medium, many cannot)?
- Are we looking for similar things?
- Do they exhibit any major red flags (sexual talk right away, over the top compliments right away, etc).
Once I suss this out – and it doesn’t take very long often, depending on how much you message back and forth it can be an hour or a couple of days – I like to move to phone or text.
Sometimes people make a date while still on the dating app, but there’s risk with that, because you haven’t really established who they are unless they’ve given you that information.
Phone is good, but texting is sometimes even better, because once I get the person’s phone number I am able to do some research to make sure they are who they say they are. While men may not think about safety, I do.
I do my research. I search their number on Facebook, as most people don’t realize you can be searched this way unless you turn it off. If I have their last name I look them up on LinkedIn. I might see if they have a Twitter and Instagram account. And this isn’t about me stalking their social media sites to see what their ex girlfriends looks like, it’s all about establishing they are a) real, and b) are who they say they are.
But here’s the point.
Once you’ve moved to text, if you have communicated with any frequency on the dating site, that pace often carries over to texting. For example, if you’ve had short (15 minute) messaging sessions on the dating site daily, if you move to text, suddenly going silent seems counter-productive when your goal is to secure a date.
Some people believe once you set a date there’s no need to communicate daily. I don’t disagree, but for me it’s more about what kind of cadence we started with. It’s when something changes it feels weird and unsettling.
Let me know what you think – as I said, I’ve been tossing this around in my head for a couple of weeks, so curious whether this resonates.