Texting Is the Death of the First Date

I did something that I don’t usually do — I tried to prove myself wrong.

As a dating coach, the advice I give is what I know to work. Even if it works 90% of the time, I’ll still advise it. Especially since I can’t, of course, control how other people react.

I often call texting “the death of the first date” or “the place where dates go to die.” (I’m not usually this morbid. Promise.) So as I managed my own Bumble account, I wanted to prove myself wrong.

I was chatting with a guy who, after a few messages back and forth about our dogs and weekend plans, asked for my number. Actually, he said, “Maybe you’d like to meet up?” (While I’m glad he asked, I have a personal pet peeve with the “up.” Are you trying to make it seem more casual? I’d just like to meet. Period.) Regardless, I replied, “That sounds nice!” Then, he asked, “Why don’t you shoot me your number?”

Normally, I would advise a client (or myself) to say, “You know, it actually helps me stay organized to arrange the details on here, but I’m happy to plan something for this weekend.” It works like a charm. It pushes for the date while keeping the communication on the dating app so the conversation doesn’t go into the texting abyss, as it so often does.

But I decided to use this as an opportunity to re-assess my views. I realize that this sample size of one cannot draw conclusions, yet the behavior I saw was exactly as I predicted it would be:

Him: Hey this is your bumble prince (The lack of punctuation when writing to a writer is not lost on me.)

Me: Can you really be my Bumble prince if you don’t have an iPhone? 🙂 (His texts were green, meaning that we’re not using iMessage, meaning that he doesn’t have an iPhone.)

Him: Yes ma’am! I make up for it

Me: We will see!

Him: Haha I’m already getting judged

Me: Not at all.

Him: Just giving you a hard time!

Me: I got it!

Him: I feel like you’re probably more sarcastic than me. (Should be “than I,” but I’ll let this go for now.) Or maybe sassy is the right word

Me: I am 0% sarcastic. I actually hate sarcasm. Sass I have in spades! (And yes, I did use the spade emoji.)

Him: How come you don’t like sarcasm?

Me: I often find it mean.

Him: Love sass! Ahh yes I can see that. I am definitely not mean

But I’m not sarcastic a lot

Sassy for sure

How’s your day going? (Note: This is where things always go downhill.)

Me: Super busy actually!! (Note: It was 1 PM on a weekday!)

Him: Ohh well then I can text you later

Me: Great!

After one more “How’s the day been??” three hours later, when I was still working, and I responded as such (though very nicely), he was never to be heard from again. Yes, I could have pushed things along if I wanted to. But I didn’t.

As I told a client recently, texting before a first date is like driving a new car off the lot — it depreciates immediately. I’d venture to say that once the phone number is given on the app, there’s a 60% chance that the first date will no longer happen. Why? People get lazy. They text, “How is your day?” vs. “Let’s confirm our plans for Sunday. How’s 4 p.m. in Shaw?”

Or someone says something that gets misconstrued. Or someone sends something inappropriate. You might be thinking, “Wouldn’t I want to know if someone is like that before we meet?” Sure. But I still want you to just get to the date in order to make the assessment for yourself.

So, as much as I wanted to prove myself wrong, I stand by my advice to keep the date planning on the dating apps and then only exchange numbers at the last minute for contingencies. People get in their own way without knowing it. Don’t let them.

This article originally appeared in the Duluth News Tribune.

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay.

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  1. This really was a salve for me. I sit here on my patio at 7:30 on a Friday night having suffered a canceled date due to a misconstrued text earlier today. I do feel I dodged a bullet of a big baby. That said, I am lamenting the lack of texting of a hot date in two days. Thank you for helping me to sit on my hands and just feel the anticipation/excitement. Less texting, more build up!

  2. So glad that these words helped as you were dealing with last night’s disappointment. Moving from texting to talking/virtual chats/in-person after you get a sense of a match is often a better way to go. Not as much build-up, but it’s often a better use of your time and your heart. Most of all, bravo to you for realizing that there’s a man more worthy of you out there still to meet!

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