These days, nobody makes phone calls. Text messaging, either through SMS or WhatsApp, is the preferred medium of communication. No phone calls means you cannot judge the tone of voice or the intention of the person making the call. Text messages are more ambiguous because there is more scope of misinterpreting what the other person typed. So, it is important to follow a code of ethics which many are not aware of. Here are some of them:
Don’t start your messages with ‘Hey wassup’
With something as trite as this, you are not exactly laying a conversational bait. The person is likely to reply: ‘Hey I’m good. You?’or something like that. And then you are at a dead-end. It is so much more interesting if you can be innovative with your opening line. Try making a reference to your previous encounter. For example, if you last met her at a movie theatre, ask her how she liked the film or tell her what you thought of it. That’s a great conversation opener. Or tell her something funny that happened to you that day. Or something a common friend told you. There are so many ways to start a conversation other than a ‘Hey wassup’to which I am quickly growing allergic to. It is like setting your email password 123456. It is just plain lazy.
Don’t make spelling or grammar errors
This is a great put-off. You might be a delightful fellow with an astounding intelligence and an impressive collection of Humphrey Bogart movies. But the market value of all this dips if you spell Humphrey Bogart as Humfrey Bogert. Also, don’t use abbreviations. First, it takes a lot of brain massaging to untangle ones like LY and BRB and TTYL and, second, it gives the impression that you are a hormone-driven, Justin Bieber-crooning, overexcited teenager with gelled hair and baggy pants. Believe me, it is not exactly a girl’s idea of a knight in shining armour.
Don’t use too many smiley faces
This is a personal preference. Too many smiley faces make you look frivolous and like you are exercising your funny bone a tad too much. Everyone likes a dignified guy who is confident enough to make a joke without having to punctuate it with a smiley face.
Don’t write too long messages
Keep them brisk and to-the-point. Don’t fit in the Mahabharat into a text. Also, if your message is too long, you are talking too much about yourself. It is much more interesting if you are the person asking the questions instead of the one answering the unasked ones. Another big no-no: Don’t forward long WhatsApp jokes, no matter how funny you found them. In this world where people are collecting speeding tickets like they are stamps, no one has the time to read an essay masquerading as a joke. If you are hell-bent on relaying it, do it in person and not over WhatsApp. Although, please do make it look spontaneous. Nobody likes a person who recites a joke like it is a poem. And please don’t laugh at your own punchlines.
Don’t carry on the thread for too long
It can be fun to exchange flirtatious messages but make sure it culminates in an actual date. Or you run the risk of the chemistry fizzling out. And don’t lean too much on the person’s messages. You can always judge a person better when you are able to assess subtle cues like facial expressions and gestures. Someone who is great at SMS flirting might turn out to be a dud when you actually meet him. Or someone whose messages read like a Socratic dialogue can actually turn out to be a sparkling conversationalist. In short, treat the messages as a compass to point you in the right direction but not as a ruler to calibrate exact measurements. He might surprise you in the measurements department.