These days, SMSing is more popular than ever; the number of messages sent in South Africa in March 2000 was 15 million for that month alone. Imagine what that number is now! The problem?
‘It lets men put less energy into dating and establishes a pattern of laziness once you’re a couple,’ says Brenda Shoshanna, PhD, author of Zen and the Art of Falling in Love (Simon & Schuster). We explore the pitfalls of unspoken exchanges and how to deter a guy from relying on them.
TECH TROUBLE 1
He Won’t Take Chances
When a guy sends a vague SMS, like ‘Let’s hang out,’ the onus is on you to specify the plans. ‘Men slack since they can drop the ball in your lap with an ambiguous note,’ says Shoshanna. While some guys use SMSes as a rejection buffer (‘If you’re not into him, you just won’t respond, which is easier for him to handle than hearing you turn him down,’ explains Shoshanna), that can become routine. Put the brakes on by writing back with ‘Call me later,’ suggests Hilarie Cash, PhD, co-founder of Internet/Computer Addiction Services.
TECH TROUBLE 2
There’s No Connection
You know the thrill of talking to men on the phone – the sexy laughter and enthusiastic tone? Well, it all falls flat in typewritten form. ‘SMSing lets guys avoid intimacy,’ says Cash. ‘Your communication is shallow.’
Plus, research shows men SMS to manage relationships, whereas women do it to bond. Translation: While he’s limiting your interactions, you’re left craving more. So next time he calls, give him positive reinforcement. Say ‘It’s so nice to hear your voice,’ suggests Cash.
TECH TROUBLE 3
You Can’t Read Him
‘Since you never hear a guy’s tone in an SMS, it’s difficult to decipher his feelings,’ explains Cash. So ‘I had fun last night’ might mean either he’s feeling you, he enjoyed hooking up, or he’s not interested but wanted to be nice. During a conversation, the articulation in his voice would clue you in. Encourage him to call by ignoring his texts but responding promptly to his voice mails.
TECH TROUBLE 4
He Avoids Conflict
Say a guy wants to cancel plans. ‘He blows you off via SMS so he won’t get chewed out,’ says Cash. Or ‘if it’s getting too serious for him, he can write less to push you away without a messy fallout,’ says Shoshanna.
Show him he can’t disrespect you by telling him ‘It would’ve been nice if you’d called to check in/say you could not make it.’ The verdict: If he still won’t call after you’ve asked him to, stop replying. He’s not invested enough to step up.