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Text Me, Maybe?

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Any person age forty and over will eagerly remind you that dating has changed since the invention of texting—but perhaps not in your favor. “You young people are always texting! You know, when I was your age,” they say with a sage wink and a smile, “we used to talk on the phone.”

But have you ever really thought about how different dating would be if your only choice of communication were picking up the phone?

Imagine a dating world without the random “hey” from your new male acquaintance that will light up your screen 12:00 AM Friday night or those vague “what you up to?” texts you receive on Monday afternoons?

Rewind 20 years ago and a man who is interested in you wouldn’t call you just to say a few inconclusive words and then hang up. Whether he is calling you to chat or to ask you on a date, chances are when calling on the phone there will be some kind of clarification as to why he’s communicating with you in the first place.

And yet, here we are, dating in a world where men text ambiguous messages. Men text when they are interested, bored, lost, or just looking for some action. Needless to say, it’s important to be able to identify which is which. So let’s do a breakdown of some classic texting lines to help navigate a budding romance, which thanks to texting can often be fraught with ambiguity and purposeless flirtation.

1. “Hey.” If its after 12 AM, this is equivalent to a booty-call. If its important there will be a follow-up sentence. During the daylight hours, a good technique to root out the reason for the “hey” is to reply with “Hi, what’s up?” Otherwise, “hey” is for horses.

2. “You’re cute ; )” This may be true, but if he hasn’t gotten flirty with you to your face, he is being non-committal and a pansy to boot. If guys knew how attractive verbal affirmation is to women, I’d like to think they would have kicked the texting habit years ago. Is there an emoticon for “not impressed”?

3. “I’m at the gym lol/I’m at lunch lol/ I’m tired lol.” This is boredom. Respond at your own risk.

4. “Want to get dinner later this week?” Okay now you’re talking! He’s clearly interested in going on a date with you. Feel free to say “yes” or say “no,” but at least you haven’t used up half your data allowance to find out his intentions. This should be a point in his favor.

Remember, there is never an obligation to reply to a text. If he’s being coy and unclear, you have every right to be as well. While our venerable forbears may boast of simpler times, confusing messages between men and women are somewhat timeless. That’s where girlfriends come in. There is sanity in numbers.

(Photo by garrynight)