Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] Do You Give Good Text? – Vanessa Tai

When you’re getting to know someone new, texting is probably your main mode of conversation. As convenient as texting is, it can also be a potential minefield. Before you pick up your phone to WhatsApp your crush, be sure to refer to this handy checklist.

I have a love-hate relationship with WhatsApp. I appreciate how convenient it is to talk to groups of people at the same time, and how the hundreds of emojis liven up any conversation. What I hate is how the “Last Seen” function has the ability to send you into an emotional tizzy. You know what I mean. When you send your crush a message and he’s “Online” but not replying, it can really mess with your mind. Worse, when you see him “typing…” but then he stops and doesn’t send the message. It’s like, DUDE WHAT WERE YOU GOING TO SAY?!

Now I won’t consider myself a texting guru by any standards. (If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide, there are actually plenty of books on how to be a great texter.) However, there are a few lessons I’ve picked up in my years of texting guys that I hope will be useful for you, or at the very least, help you be less anxious when you next text your crush.

First, who initiates?

As Denise rightfully pointed out, there’s really zero shame in asking a guy out. However, if you find yourself always initiating a text conversation with him, it’s highly plausible that he’s just not that into you. Here’s the thing – if a guy is even mildly interested, he WILL get over his shyness/busyness/whatever to contact you. If he doesn’t, well, dust off and move on. This is why it’s always important to have options.

Maintain several text conversations

When you’re casually dating around, it’s the best time to talk to as many people as possible. Why? First, it takes your mind off that one guy you’re more interested in than the rest. Second, you could be pleasantly surprised – the other guys could actually be way more interesting. Third, it’s just fun! I don’t know about you, but I actually find it de-stressing to have random chat conversations with people I don’t know that well. It reminds me of the good ol’days on IRC and ICQ. Not sure where to find willing chat partners? Check out dating apps like Tinder or our very own local version, Paktor. Not sure what to talk about? Here’s a pro tip …

Be funny

Some of the best conversations I’ve had were with guys who didn’t ask me run-of-the-mill questions like “How are you” or “What do you do?” Instead, we jumped straight into talking about things like travel, books, music, the worst dates we’ve been on … you get the idea. There’s actually a way to steer the conversation to make it more interesting. For example, when someone texts to ask, “How was your day?”, instead of simply replying, “Good! Yours?”, you could relate a short and funny anecdote about something that happened to you that day (perhaps you spilled coffee on yourself before a big presentation or you fell asleep on a stranger’s shoulder while on the way home). It doesn’t have to be anything major or significant, but it invites the other person to share something funny about themselves too, and that gets the conversation flowing more smoothly.

What about sexting?

In a word, “No”. I don’t do it, don’t think I’ll ever do it, and I strongly encourage you not to do it either. It may seem like harmless fun to send your crush a picture of your cleavage (or more) but just the thought of the possible repercussions is more than enough for me to toe the line. Type “ex girlfriend pictures” in Google, and you’ll see scores of images of women who entrusted their intimate pictures with someone who ultimately betrayed that trust. Don’t sext. There are other ways to get a man’s attention.

Finally, my golden rule …


material world_drunk text

Unfortunately, I learned this the painful way. On more than one occasion, I’ve texted guys when inebriated and ended up ruining perfect text relationships with gibberish messages or spammy chunks of text. Of course, you could argue that if the guy has decided he likes you, one or two drunk conversations isn’t going to change anything. And I agree. But if you’re just getting to know somebody and feeling them out, wouldn’t such behaviour annoy you? This is why I’m entrusting my phone with my pals the next time we go for a round of drinks.

Having said all this, texting is merely one way of getting to know someone better. The best way to really get to know a person is still meeting face-to-face and doing things together. After all, body language accounts for between 50 to 70 percent of all communication. So, put down that phone and go out already! In my next edition of Love In Lines, I will be talking about why it’s important to date widely. Keep a lookout for it!

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Vanessa Tai talks about navigating the often-confusing world of singledom. Stay tuned for more!

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. 

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