Text messaging is fast-becoming the new first step in dating. In fact, most singles are more inclined to text someone first - rather than call - after swapping numbers. Phone calls only come into play nowadays as relationships escalate and people start to let their guards down over a period of time. To help you navigate dating in a digital world, here are some golden rules for text messaging etiquette.
1. Always mention who you are when texting someone for the first time. The fastest way to get yourself rejected is by assuming someone knows who you are when in fact they may not even have your phone number saved in their phone.
2. Don't freak out when someone doesn't respond right away. You won't know for sure at what point in time your message was read or under what circumstances, so try to be mindful of other people's busy schedules.
3. Text people back in a timely manner. This is just common courteous if you want to stay one someone's dating radar. A failure to return a text message back in a timely manner, if at all, can be perceived as a lack of interest.
4. If you text someone twice and they still don't respond to you, then it's safe to assume that a) they're just not that into you or b) they don't have as much time for dating as they may have believed. If someone really likes you, they'll be sure to follow up with you one way or another, sooner rather than later.
5. Don't leave people hanging in the middle of a text conversation. We know you do it; we have all done it at some point in time - have full blown conversations via text message. But if you've got to run to a meeting or are otherwise preoccupied, have the common decency to at least mention that you may not be able to respond right away because of an appointment or bad reception even.
6. Text messaging should never replace real conversations. While it may be acceptable to have trivial conversations via text message, save the serious conversations for in person or over the phone.
7. Never text in ALL CAPS. Depending on the context, writing in all caps can be misconstrued as angry yelling or eager excitement.
8. Avoid ending every text message with a smiley face. While emoticons certainly have their place in text messaging, try not to go overboard with it. Use them appropriately in instances when your "tone of voice" might be misconstrued.
9. If you're going to ask someone on a date or want to make plans to see someone, pick up the phone call. While text messaging is the first step in the dating process, it should at least end with a phone call, whether you're testing phone chemistry or making plans to meet.