*Editor’s note: This article was originally published on November 4, 2020.
You’ve swiped right. You’ve decided to GOYN. Now what? We asked our friend Damona Hoffman – certified dating coach, host of the Dates & Mates podcast, and The Drew Barrymore Show’s dating guru — for her tips for flirting over text to take things from first impressions to first date.
Finding a date today means not only mastering the art of the swipe but building a rapport over text. Here are 10 ways to heat up the connection to move your match offline and into the real world.
#1 – Get Your Emoji Game Right
Emojis can be a great tool to convey tone and intention when used appropriately. Make sure you are choosing the correct emoji to clarify your intention on any sarcastic or flirtatious statements.
Emojis fit best at the end of a statement and try not to overuse them. One is usually enough in a single line and you should only add an emoji on approximately every 3rd or 4th reply to avoid looking like a 12-year-old girl who just got her first phone.
#2 – Let’s Get Visual
Using gifs, photos, and memes can be an excellent way to create connection, gauge your date’s sense of humor and forward the conversation beyond the mundane. Making your date laugh is an excellent way to bring them back to the conversation if the thread has gone cold.
#3 – Avoid Generic Questions
Phrases like “How are you?” and “What’s Up?” and “Wyd?” that have open-ended, non-specific responses are a weak texting stance. Instead try to text questions that are based upon a past conversation, shared experience or specific event. Definitive statements are also appropriate and effective in building rapport as text threads that consist only of questions and answers can become tedious.
#4 – Know When to Walk Away
A texting thread has a shelf life and once you’ve worn out your texting welcome, it can be hard to re-interest that person in talking to you.
If you begin to get one word or one emoji responses, you have probably come to the end of that text thread and it is best to leave the conversation alone until the next day or later.
#5 – Show Your Personality
Write the way you speak. If you are trying to be overly eloquent and perfect with your grammar and punctuation, you will have a harder time connecting with a date.
Don’t be afraid to capitalize a single word for emphasis but make sure you do not text in all caps (read: SHOUTING.) You can also add extra letters or write a word differently than it’s spelled in the dictionary to make a word read the way you want it to sound.
Example: I’m excited to see youuuu! – which conveys excitement in the extra vowels.
#6 – Use the Rule of Thumb
The general rule of thumb is to write no more than 3 sentences per response, or approximately the width of your thumb. If your texts become too dense they will be hard for your date to read and respond to.
Certainly do not send multiple chunks of text if you don’t get your entire point across in a single message. If you find yourself wanting to write text novels, you should ask yourself if what you have to say would be better conveyed in a call.
#7 – Avoid Text-Baiting
Text is never the mode of communication to have a serious conversation or engage in a fight. Be very careful with passive aggressive “text-bait” that tries to provoke a response from your date.
#8 – Don’t You Dare Drunk Text
Once something is in writing you can’t take it back. You might think you sound cute and clever but chances are that text will not look the same in the light of day. Hold the text for the morning and see if what you had to say is still as funny or relevant then.
#9 – Callback to Move Forward
Even if your text thread dies out, it can be restarted again by calling back a shared experience or interest or by asking a thought-provoking question. Go back to the last place you had momentum in the conversation and figure out what your date responded to. It could be a specific event, topic, or simply the tone of the text.
#10 – Spellcheck Siri
People have become very unforgiving of egregious spelling errors and grammatical errors like the misuse of Two, To, Too and Your, You’re or Their, They’re, There. This could be the difference between a second date happening or not. Try to give your texts an extra read to make sure they say what you mean and Siri took dictation correctly. That extra effort conveys to a date that you think of them highly and want the relationship to work.
Final Words of Wisdom
Texting is a key part of the dating process today but remember that ultimately, a text is just a stop along the way to build a connection. Once you’ve had a few text sessions, pre-screen your date on a phone call or video chat date to set yourself up for success when you meet face-to-face.