Texting and dating someone you’re attracted to remains perplexing for many.

In an era where calling has been relegated in importance and instant messaging is the norm, you’d think things would be simpler. After all, we only have to read what’s written on a screen and not worry about how to speak, what our voice is like, or respond instantly as we do on a call, right?

Yet the majority of people find texting a more complicated process. Gone are the days where the only way to arrange a date with somebody was to call their home landline. We’ve ushered in a medium that seems to complexify getting someone out on a date rather than ease it. Our technical prowess has increased but our dating prowess has arguably worsened.

Picture this familiar scenario: you met someone you like, sensed there was a vibe, even flirted with them and secured their digits.

Now with their number in your phone, thoughts suddenly race through your mind. What should I text them? How often should I message? Should I call them? Do I need to be funny or not?

I’ll answer these questions and much more in this special guide on texting and dating. Let’s examine the principles of texting which will allow you to smooth the process from getting someone’s number to getting them out on a date.

Texting and dating principles

Don’t text someone too much

We’ve all been there. You feel like you’ve got so much you want to say or you have some funny anecdote/story you want to share with the other person over text.

Part of this compulsion stems from the asynchronous medium of texting (since both parties messaging each other rarely occurs at the same time) allowing for more time to think and say what you want.

The problem is you risk gushing forth a lot and blowing the other person’s phone up. As such, refrain from sending too many messages in a short period.

As a general rule of thumb, stay away from double-texting and allow for a back-and-forth between you and the other person.

Texting And Dating Much

Don’t send longer messages than the other person

Related to the previous one, along with not texting too often, you also don’t want to send very long messages each time you text.

People receive all kinds of messages on their screens daily that they have to check. This includes emails, social media posts, DMs, and texts from others.

The last thing they want is to have to read a long message on a text chat like it’s another work email.

Avoid spewing long paragraphs of text unless necessary. Keep your messages succinct and concise.

One way of assessing whether you’re texting at length or not is the ‘bubble test’. On each side of your messaging app, texts are split into coloured bubbles. If you scroll through a chat, it quickly becomes apparent which person is investing more from the length of the bubbles.

In an ideal situation, the messaging bubbles will more or less be of equal length for both.

Either way you generally want to not text longer messages than the other person. This isn’t always possible in reality but holding this principle in mind will be useful in ensuring you don’t over-text.

Don’t text a lot at night

This one will surprise you.

Many people text a lot at night—this is often the time they have to themselves and their phones.

The problem is if you message a lot at night, you can come across as someone who’s got nothing better to do than sit by their phone and text away.

Especially on weekends, texting late signals a lack of having a life whether true or not.

In most cases, a single text at night (if at all) to someone you’re looking to go out with suffices. There’s enough time to text more the next day.

This will be an uncomfortable principle for many and some people will outright disagree. But implement it before you discard it—chances are you’ll see your response rate and date acceptances improve.

Texting And Dating Night

Don’t be weird

Obvious right? You’re probably reading certain that this doesn’t apply to you and your texting 100% isn’t coming across as strange.

But sometimes what we message over texting can come across differently than if we say the same words face-to-face.

Take jokes for example. Saying “You must be a hit at parties” in person to someone recounting mundane affairs would go down well with most as sarcastic humour and spice the conversation up.

Yet messaging the same words over a text chat could be taken as an insult by the recipient.

The reality is a harmless tease delivered with a wink and a grin in the flesh can come across as uncalibrated over text.

This DOES NOT mean you should never joke or banter when texting and dating, doing so is still good in separating yourself from boring chit chat (see below).

But you ought to be careful in making sure you’re calibrating your texting to the person so that they know what’s texted is delivered in good faith. An emoji here and there can help convey humour better if needs be.

Another way you can come across as weird is by trying too hard.

For instance, trying to be too clever in your response or harping on about some aspect of your life because you think it impresses the other person can be cringeworthy.

Understand that over the course of your dating life, if you text lots of people it’s almost impossible to avoid having someone perceive at least one of your texts as weird in their eyes at some point. We can’t control what someone thinks about us, especially when the communication medium itself lacks paralinguistic cues.

But we can always refine and learn how to calibrate our texts better over time.

Don’t be boring

Even though you don’t want to be weird while texting, on the flip side you don’t want to be boring either.

Texting is about finding the balance between taking risks to separate yourself from the banality of other people messaging your interest whilst avoiding creepiness.

Find ways to stand out with your texting and dating but not too much that it’s borderline strange.

For example instead of asking “How’s your day?” you can ask “What adventures have you been up to this weekend?”. Instead of indulging in basic chit chat, make a (calibrated) joke or tease.

Sending photos of what you’ve been up to is also a good way of standing out. If you’ve been to an event, festival, hangout or have just come across something interesting, snap a photo and send it as a ping. It can be a good way of showing you have a life and building interest from the other person.

Remember the overall vibe of your texts should be lighthearted. Neither person wants reading messages on a screen to feel like another chore. Our messages should be a reprieve from the stresses of the day, not extra cognitive work.

Texting And Dating Boring

Don’t call someone randomly

This is for the few of you out there considering doing this—avoid randomly calling someone you’ve just got a number from.

The reason is twofold.

Firstly, the dating and communication sphere has changed from decades past. In a pre-mobile era, people had to call somebody’s home phone to set up a date. Now with the universality of smartphones, texting is the norm between new people and acquaintances.

Secondly, calling someone out of the blue that you’ve yet to get to know well is abrupt. You’re forcing the other person to stop what they’re doing in their day and spend time talking to you. They don’t even know how long you plan to be on the phone with them.

The combination of the two can leave an out of the blue caller coming across as desperate.

Of course if you’ve mentioned when you’re going to call someone during your meeting with them, it’s fine.

But avoid those ‘cold calls’ until you’ve dated them.

Don’t be needy

This is a very important one and a mindset that should pervade all your texting and dating convos.

Astute readers will have noticed that being non-needy is at the heart of some of the other principles. The main reason we don’t text too much or send very long texts is to avoid coming across as needy.

Nothing’s more unattractive than a needy person. And in this day and age, it’s easier to come off as needy over text than in person.

Along with following the other principles, avoid other generalities that display neediness. If someone doesn’t agree to your first date request, don’t immediately make another one for a different day. If someone ghosts you, don’t text them half a day later begging for their attention.

Texting And Dating Needy

Raise curiosity

“Curiosity is the lust of the mind” wrote Thomas Hobbs.

Like humour, building intrigue is one way to stand out from the herd.

Not divulging everything about what you’re doing or who you are is a great way to build mystery. Reveal enough information but not too much that the other person feels they’ve got you figured out.

Another way you can implement this is through your response to their questions. After questions, you can often lead towards a date (see below) by saying that you’ll tell them your response in person or that you need to give them your honest opinion face-to-face.

Lead towards a date

This is also one of the most important to internalise: when texting for dating, the focus should be on agreeing upon a date with the other person.

As mentioned, texting and dating is not about becoming someone’s chat buddy, you have friends and social media for that.

When it comes to dating, texting is just a means to an end. Do we really want to spend extra time in our lives looking at abbreviated pixels on a screen or do we want to enjoy the other person’s company in real life?

When you sense that someone is invested enough in you and you in them, ask them out.

The key is to find the balance between not rushing a date request and coming across as needy but also not indulging in long conversations that you become virtual pen pals with one another.

So if you’re texting someone that you know you want to meet, don’t beat around the bush, lead towards a date.

Texting And Dating Lead

The most important determinant behind successful texting

We’ve covered the texting principles which will improve your texting and dating success in no time.

But it’s vital you understand an important point behind texting and dating someone you’ve met in real life, something that underpins all texting convos:

Remember this golden rule: the most important determinant in whether someone texts you back or not isn’t whether your texting is ‘perfect’, it’s whether they were into you during your conversation in person.

Therefore the best way to secure a date with someone you’re attracted to is to ensure you make an impact through whichever method you first meet them.

As discussed, texting is supplementary to attraction built in person and is about getting someone out on a date, not being their chat buddy.

Understanding this golden rule is important as it’ll allow you to text with realistic expectations and calibration. You won’t expect the principles to suddenly transform a so-so interaction you had with someone into an eager date, there are no magic texts (see below).

But you will get more people you’re interested in out on dates than before and gain a deeper understanding of relationship dynamics in general.

Texting And Dating Determinant

Bonus: Reviving a text convo that has ghosted

Whether you’re a man or woman, we’ve all experienced the familiar territory of being ghosted over text.

The first thing to understand is that this is normal: everybody gets ghosted at least some of the time.

When you think about the amount of people we’re all messaging at any one time across apps, platforms, and social media, not everyone is going to be able to keep up their initial interest in you over text. Not to mention there may be extraneous reasons in their life that prevent them from texting and dating us that we don’t know about.

It’s also paramount that you maintain the principle of non-neediness. This means not texting again and again like your life depends on their reply but holding an attitude of “I’ll message one more time. If they engage, cool, if not, no big deal I’ll move on.”

So what should that text be?

For starters it shouldn’t be sent too soon after your last message. Waiting a couple of days or so is usually best to avoid the air of neediness.

When it comes to the message itself, there are two options.

You can send a question attached with humour. For example jesting if they’ve been kidnapped or run away from the country.

Or you can send them a photo text discussed earlier of something interesting you’re doing.

The idea with either type is again to stand out in a positive way and rebuild engagement.

However, it’s essential you understand that when you’re in the ‘revival’ stage, the chances of you continuing a text convo with someone and getting a date are slimmer. There’s NO magic text that can re-engage a person’s interest and anyone who claims otherwise is a charlatan (who probably wants to take your money).

Send the text without high expectations and treat any reply as a bonus.


Texting and dating is a mental minefield. With the complexity of sources out there in the attention economy, many question whether their messaging is good or bad and often come away confused.

Yet there are principles we can follow to master the art of texting and go out on more dates with people we’re interested in.

The first rule to grasp is understanding there are no magic texts to get someone out and that the most important determinant in this process is the impact you made with them when you met in person.

Then there are a core set of texting principles that will help you become a smoother texter. Avoiding neediness and leading towards dates are two of the most important to follow—they will help you date more of the people you want.

A final word: for some reason, a very common habit among people who want to develop their texting skills is that they know they shouldn’t send a message but do so anyway.

This phenomenon stems from the high of getting a number and then immediately having a sense of entitlement in wanting the person to respond or come out on a date with you. This neediness is very apparent among many (particularly men).

Until you start seeing better responses from your texts, going on more dates as a result, developing an intuitive sense about why you’re sending a text, then stick to the principles, don’t deviate.

Let me know how this guide helps you. If you have any feedback or dating questions, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer your specific case!