There is nothing more convenient than texting.
With the swipe of a finger, I can send a quick encouragement to a friend, reminder to a co-worker, or love note to my hubby.
And the craziest part is that I can hardly remember the time before texting.
The past 20 years have completely revolutionized our culture. With the introduction of smartphones, social media and other technological advancements, we’re living in a completely different world than the one in which we grew up.
We’ve moved past the days of writing letters, past the hours spent talking to our crush on AOL Instant Messenger, and on to emojis, FaceTime and Google hangouts. And with each of these major technological changes comes a major shift in our communication, our interactions, and in our relationships with one another and with the opposite sex.
But behind the “safety” of a cell phone, it’s not uncommon for communication between two people to go downhill fast. If you’re hoping to keep your interactions with the opposite sex healthy and drama-free, here are some text message patterns you need to avoid:
The Going Nowhere Text
“What are you up to?”
“Not much just relaxing at home.”
“You doing anything this weekend?”
“No, I’m wide open.”
End of conversation.
OK, maybe it doesn’t happen exactly like this, but it sure does seem like it. You know exactly what I mean, don’t you? It’s the text interaction that ends up going nowhere, because it’s a series of text messages that keep you interacting with someone, yet without really accomplishing anything at all.
This kind of text message keeps you connected with the person on the other end, but it never actually deepens your relationship, because this kind of interaction never follows through or takes initiative in taking next steps.
Why ask someone what they’re up to if you’re not going to follow up with an interest in hanging out with them? Why continue interacting with someone but never take the time to follow up with real-life relationship?
A healthy interaction between two people of the opposite sex always has a goal in mind. A person who is constantly “checking in” with you without actually taking initiative to get together or deepen your interactions is keeping up a relationship that is clearly going nowhere. Your time would be much better spent investing in relationships and people that actually invest in you.
Ditch the going nowhere texter, or you’ll end up sitting around for a very, very long time.
It concerns me how common this has become in our culture, and even more concerning to see how this has slowly seeped into the Christian culture as well. It’s not uncommon among millennials for inappropriate pictures and sexual conversation to become part of an interaction between a male and a female.
What worries me the most about this pattern of interaction is that a relationship that starts out unhealthy stays unhealthy. To me, the sext reflects an attitude of selfishness because the goal of the interaction is all about getting something for yourself.
The ability to respect yourself and others enough to see sex as sacred and worth protecting (in any form), is the sign of a healthy interaction. Anything else is less than that, and it’s worth walking away from.
The Stringing You Along Text
The “stringing you along” kind of texter only has time for you when there’s no one else around. This kind of texter drops off the face of the earth for months or even years at a time, and then randomly pops up to check in when they’re bored or all the other options have been used up.
It might be that random text on the rebound after a breakup, or on a quiet weekend when everyone else already has plans. But the pattern of this text interaction can be identified because it’s one that keeps you on the back burner until they need something from you.
Take charge of your life and relationships by only saying yes to interactions with people who also say yes to you.
The Nobody Has To Know Text
After a talk I gave at a church recently, a young woman approached me who was really confused by the text interactions she was having with a guy from her church.
Though he had never once asked her on a real date, according to her, they had the warmest, most intimate conversations via text. He would send her sweet messages, compliment her and even flirt with her over text. But then when he would see her in real-life, he’d act as if she didn’t even exist. He wouldn’t approach her, interact with her or even glance her way when there were in a group setting.
Now you can make excuses for him all you want, or even chalk it up to being shy, but this pattern of interaction is too common not to address.
From what I know of healthy relationships, they’re not vague or ambiguous, and they definitely don’t need to “sneak around.” With healthy relationships, what you see is what you get, both behind the screen and face to face.
If you’re caught in a pattern of interacting with someone that’s causing you confusion or doesn’t match up with real-life actions, then maybe it’s time to do something about it by either taking a step back or calling it out for what it is.
Take inventory of your text interactions with the opposite sex and save your time for life-giving relationships that reflect maturity, respect and health. Even in text form.
This article originally appeared at truelovedates.com. Used with permission.
Debra is a Licensed Professional Counselor, relationship expert, speaker and author of several books, including True Love Dates. Debra is also the creator of the popular relationship advice blog TrueLoveDates.com, reaching millions of people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.