New Relationship Rules: Texting & IMing

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New Relationship Rules: Texting & IMing
A guide to good communication etiquette. How often to text, call and IM.

 

TEXT MESSAGING
MEN If you are setting up a new girl and you want to get her all tingly before dropping in, go for it. If you've been out with her a few times, DON'T text! Dicking around with a lot of "Where are you going next?" messages, rather than calling and making a concrete plan, proves you're a lazy S.O.B. who's not interested in commitment. (Calling continues the charade much longer.) If it's later in the relationship, unless you are too drunk to speak, DON'T text! If you take the time to text, she'll think you've got time for other things—like driving her injured mother to the mall. If you DO text: Never use punctuation faces. If you have ever used a punctuation face, put this magazine down immediately and go buy a breast pump.
WOMEN Text all you want. Just don't expect more than one-word answers. Unless you're propositioning us—then expect a call immediately.

INSTANT MESSAGING
MEN If you indulge in this daytime devil, you probably send porn to friends, jokes to colleagues, and confessions to your clergy. Don't send any of these to your girl. IM her evening plans, dinner reservations, sweet nothings. Again, never use punctuation faces.
WOMEN Don't IM us what shoes your boss is wearing, or how short your coworker's skirt is—unless she's cute and you have photographic proof. Do IM us things that are mutually interesting—for example, specific things that you want to do to us. Feel free to come up with new ways to use punctuation faces for that.

With all the communication tools we've been given, it's important not to dilute the message. As Chief Ten Bears says in The Outlaw Josey Wales, "There is iron in your words." Let’s try to keep it that way. Once words lose their strength, they lose their effectiveness, and the only way to get it back is to move miles apart, live in desolate shacks, and send letters via that guy on horseback—who certainly wouldn't look out for your mother along the way.

Communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. At least that's what's been shoved down the throats of the love-hungry for decades. And perhaps it was true 150 years ago, when the best way to communicate over any real distance was to write down your thoughts, hand them to a dirty guy on a horse, and have him take off into the remains of the day.

Now, in a warm and fluid world of cell phones, text messages, and IMs, anyone can reach out and touch you, anytime, anyplace. Significant others, naturally, are hands-on. They "just want to hear your voice"—so it’s a quick call during the day. Or a text message between office and gym.

In the beginning, you reply with the vigor of a porn star on Viagra: "I miss you, too." But soon the "I miss you" turns to "where are you?"—a bill among the love notes. For men, the cell phone becomes a homing beacon. Like Martha Stewart with that pesky ankle bracelet, we can't stretch our legs without getting zapped.

Women find comfort in words, a comfort they deserve. But men are more "reactive" communicators, and thus we use cell phone and "Crack-Berry" to pacify: "Hey, honey, just wanted to let you know I’m going to go get a bikini wax and a new banana hammock."

Or in emergencies, like when you need her to pick up another bottle of Haitian rum, or you just ran over her mom with your car and you need to beg forgiveness while driving to pick up another bottle of Haitian rum. Or to lay down a booty call. In that spirit ...

PHONE CALLS
MEN Answer at least half the calls she makes to you every day. A good rule of thumb is: answer the first one, ignore 2, 3, and 5, and answer 4 and 6. Lob a call of your own over during the day. If you time it right, it will be like sending flowers.
WOMEN It's hard enough for guys to feign interest about "what Linda said to Jill" when we're in your sightline. Stick to the basics. Make half the calls you feel compelled to make; talk for half the time. However, if we're already at a high call volume, don't cut down too much if not hearing from us will make you panicky. If you slow down, we'll slow down. If you stop, we'll stop.

TEXT MESSAGING
MEN If you are setting up a new girl and you want to get her all tingly before dropping in, go for it. If you've been out with her a few times, DON'T text! Dicking around with a lot of "Where are you going next?" messages, rather than calling and making a concrete plan, proves you're a lazy S.O.B. who's not interested in commitment. (Calling continues the charade much longer.) If it's later in the relationship, unless you are too drunk to speak, DON'T text! If you take the time to text, she'll think you've got time for other things—like driving her injured mother to the mall. If you DO text: Never use punctuation faces. If you have ever used a punctuation face, put this magazine down immediately and go buy a breast pump.
WOMEN Text all you want. Just don't expect more than one-word answers. Unless you're propositioning us—then expect a call immediately.

INSTANT MESSAGING
MEN If you indulge in this daytime devil, you probably send porn to friends, jokes to colleagues, and confessions to your clergy. Don't send any of these to your girl. IM her evening plans, dinner reservations, sweet nothings. Again, never use punctuation faces.
WOMEN Don't IM us what shoes your boss is wearing, or how short your coworker's skirt is—unless she's cute and you have photographic proof. Do IM us things that are mutually interesting—for example, specific things that you want to do to us. Feel free to come up with new ways to use punctuation faces for that.

With all the communication tools we've been given, it's important not to dilute the message. As Chief Ten Bears says in The Outlaw Josey Wales, "There is iron in your words." Let’s try to keep it that way. Once words lose their strength, they lose their effectiveness, and the only way to get it back is to move miles apart, live in desolate shacks, and send letters via that guy on horseback—who certainly wouldn't look out for your mother along the way.

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