Dating: When to Text and When to Call?

Posted by in breaking up with grace, communication skills in dating, dating after divorce, online dating after 40 | 2 comments

when to text and when to callTechnology is a double-edged sword. Texting is easy, quick, and fun. But it can also serve as a substitute for real personal connection, and in my opinion, that’s when it fails miserably. I see many couples substituting texting for connecting authentically with each other. Misunderstood texts can ruin relationships.Whether you’re in the courting phase or in a long-term relationship, it can be confusing to figure out when to text and when you should just pick up the phone and talk or meet in person. So, how do you know when to text and when to call?

When to Text and When to Call?

Talk by phone or in person when…

1. Conveying emotions. My basic rule of dating etiquette is to speak your feelings, not text or email them. Emotions are difficult to convey by text, and nuances often get lost. If you have something important to say, speak it, don’t type it. “I lv u” is so much better whispered in her ear than popping up on her iphone. “i am angry at u” is better said face-to-face, even though it’s much easier to hide behind the safety of a text.

2. Confronting/difficult conversation. People notoriously shy away from difficult conversations. It’s so much safer to write it than speak it when the stakes are high. I encourage you to set aside some face-to-face time instead. It might be scary, but if you have the right skills, confrontation is not as bad as you think. It’s an opportunity to bring you closer. And it’s really about being honest with each other, which is one of the cornerstones of a great relationship.

3. Breaking up. Remember the Sex and the City episode when Carrie Bradshaw is shocked by the guy who breaks up with her in a Post-it? A breakup  text is pretty much the 21st century version of that Post-it breakup. Please have the courage to say the tough things to each other. Breaking up should be done with dignity. Do it in person.

Text when…

 1. It’s informational. Text to tell him you’re going to be five minutes late. Text the address where you’ll be meeting for a date. Simple informational texts can be a good substitute for talking.

2. You’re thinking of him/flirting. Let him know he’s on your mind. It’s fun to flirt by text. “Ur sexy”. “Can’t wait to c u.” Texts like this can be fun and flirty in between dates and phone calls. Just letting him know you’re thinking of him can make his day. When he texts you that his temperature is elevated,

it can bring a smile to your face.

But be careful not to text too much. And don’t get anxious if he doesn’t reply immediately. You can kill the relationship with anxiety. One of my clients received an inordinate amount of texts the day after their first date. He got angry when she didn’t immediately reply to his flirty texts even though she said she was at work. Bad move! He was history before they even had a chance at a relationship.

A talk/text/email dating story

‘Anne’ initiated contact with a cute guy she met online. They quickly progressed from email to IM on the dating site. Their first phone call was followed, two days later, with a video chat. He lived a few hours away, so this was a great way to see if there was any physical attraction. Bingo! The attraction was strong. My client was excited. Finally, a guy she could connect with, someone with potential!

Flirty texts followed, back and forth throughout the weekend. This was fun.

They had their first date a few days later. There was attraction, and the conversation flowed.

Second date a week later. All was going very well.

And then the texts began. Nonstop texting. And the initial heat was missing.

Instead of ‘good morning gorgeous’, she got, ‘good morning!’. Instead of a morning call on his way to work, she got this text: ‘one more client and then lunch!’

The relationship had taken a sharp downhill turn for Anne.

Frustrated with all the texts, she texted him back, “Enjoy your day. I prefer talk to text. Speak to u soon.”

And she heard nothing from him for several days.

She finally wrote him an email:

“I’m not sure what’s going on, but you dropped out of communication suddenly and with no explanation.

If you’re angry/upset with me about something, I’d like to have an open discussion.

We went from ‘hot’ to ‘not’ in a few weeks’ time. I am really confused about what’s going on.

It doesn’t feel good to me to have you just drop out of my life without talking about what happened. Please give me the courtesy of an explanation.”

He immediately called. He claimed that nothing was wrong, and they spoke for about an hour.

And then the texting began again. No calls, only texts.

My client was frustrated with this type of communication. What happened to the potential of a relationship?

I advised her to let him go. He was communicating in a very immature way. At this rate, there was no way to escalate the relationship. You can’t develop intimacy through texting. And he was giving her crumbs.

No one deserves crumbs from anyone.

She left him to make room for a better relationship with a better fit partner.

When do you call and when do you text? Have you ever had a misunderstanding because you texted instead of talked?

Please leave your comments below.





  1. I had terrible experience when the guy called and text every morning sweetie love etc..only after one date. I stopped him from calling & texting everyday, 2 have real connection when i meet him, but that turned him away from me. He never did really want to connect or give an inch and i was right on the money about stopping the text & phone immediately!

  2. Leah, it’s important to realize that when someone texts nonstop after only one date, and calls you sweetie as if you’re already in a relationship, it’s a big red flag. It can feel really good to get all that attention, but in truth, it’s wishful thinking. Healthy relationships progress at a much slower pace. You have to get to know each other in order to love one another.

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