Everyone knows about DWIs. In case you are one of the few who has never taken a driver’s education class, a DWI stands for driving while intoxicated. If you’re found in violation of operating any motorized machinery after or during the consumption of alcohol or other drugs the penalties including jail time and fines are heavy. However lately I’ve been wondering if the consequences for another “DW” should be heightened. Although this “DW” has nothing to do with driving, instead it has to do with dating. I’ve decided to call it, DWT or dating while texting. In several states, driving while texting is illegal, and I’m starting to feel like maybe dating while texting should also be banned.
The popularity of sending brief messages via cell phones to other cell phone recipients has rapidly increased over the past several years. It’s a major convenience when you don’t want to talk but just share information or a quick thought. Unfortunately, it has started to become a fixture in the dating culture and no one has come up with etiquette or rules for DWT. For example, how soon does one text a romantic interest after receiving their phone number? Right away? Several days later? Do you call before texting? Do you even call before the first date or should this all be handled via text? And once you start dating, how is a relationship maintained via text? Is text appropriate to discuss relationship issues? What about break-ups via text?
I realize that I’m quite old-fashioned when it comes to dating. I like for relationships to be inter-personal and feel that open communication allows for the best success. Texting can hinder this type of communication because the messages have to be brief (usually 160 characters or less) and you can’t always pick up the person’s tone (are they angry, sarcastic, joking, etc.). This leads to potential misunderstandings which can cause stress to a relationship or at worst, its dissolution.
In my own personal dating life, this has been displayed in many ways. I have met men at an event and given them my phone number. I’ll receive a text message, a few days later stating, “What’s up?” or “Hey.” No introduction. No, “Hi Lasana. My name is (insert name here). It was nice meeting you at (insert event). Would love to chat with you sometime. When’s a good time to reach you?” Nothing. Therefore, I’m left clueless as to who the text message is even from until we’ve gone back and forth a few times. I’ve also had arguments via text only to find out when speaking to the person later that I misjudged their message or its intent.
It just seems that DWT is now used as a way to be passive-aggressive or to give one “technological courage” as it often provides the texter confidence to contact or say certain things they would never be able to over the phone or in person. As DWT continues to increase, it is important that we as a society figure out how to best fit this new technology into our dating practices in a way that works best for all parties. Until that happens, if you’re dating me, please pick up the phone and make plans to see me in person.
What do you think of DWT? How has it affected you in dating or in your romantic life?
Photo: Mr. Thomas / Flickr