Regulars

The Nerve Debate: Text or Call?

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Here’s the deal: if a guy wants to date me, he needs to pick up the phone and call. At this point, being a grown-ass woman and all, I figure that if a guy tries to make plans over text — to use a cliche I hate — he’s probably just not that into me. I understand texting is convenient, but I like to feel that a guy is making at least a little effort. If he’s texting before we’ve even gone out, it makes me think he’ll be pretty lazy going forward.

 

 

 

It’s not lazy, it’s considerate! Texting doesn’t put the other person on the spot. It keeps things appropriately casual, for having a drink with someone you don’t know that well. It’s not a marriage proposal. If you call someone to ask them out, they maybe feel pressure to say "yes" when they feel "no." Or feel flustered and push you off, when if they reflected more calmly they’d probably go for it.

 
 

If I gave him my number, I probably wanted him to ask me out.

 

 

 

Always?

 
 

Okay, not always. I gave someone my number last week I didn’t want to go out with, but in most cases…

 

 

 

See, if that guy called you, you’d be stuck talking to him. If he’s gracious enough to text you, you’ll be able to put together a polite brush-off.

 
 

Getting off the phone is easy. And if he called me and asked me out, there’s a chance I might be so impressed with this courage that I’d at least give it a chance – a chance I wouldn’t give if he’d texted, which he did, and I gave him the polite brush-off.

 

 

 

Why should this be such a big deal that it requires a display of courage? Does he need to bring you the heads of the hydra while he’s at it?

 
 

If it doesn’t require any courage, why not just do it? Why is texting so much better than dialing a number and having — God forbid — an awkward, three-minute conversation?

 

 

 

Having a phone conversation isn’t the worst thing in the world. I’m not against calling someone, but depending on context, it can be very appropriate to text someone.

 
 

But initially, if a guy can’t pick up the phone, call, and ask me out, there are probably a lot of things he won’t do if we do end up dating. My friend Scott, a thirty-two-year-old in Brooklyn, said "If I really like the girl, absolutely I’ll pick up the phone. Less so if I’m lukewarm."

 

 

 

At this point, I don’t want to be asked out the same way thirteen-year-olds finagle blowjobs on the playground.

 
 
 

They do that by text? Good lord. But regarding actual adults, I’d hesitate to project any idea of future behavior from something like that. Why make it bigger than it is? Who calls anyone these days anyway? Calling is not what it used to be. At this point, you might as well send a singing telegram, no?

 
 

So if you really, really like a girl, you’d still ask her out by text?

 

 

 

My likelihood of texting versus calling wouldn’t be affected by how much I liked her. And if she was going to blow me off, then why should I try to convince her otherwise? It’d be her loss, wouldn’t it?

 
 

People are quick to dismiss others, all the time. Had you called, you could’ve charmed her on the phone, then probably gotten her to say yes, and then charmed her in person.

 

 

 

Why couldn’t I charm her by text? And, I wouldn’t text a girl for something serious.

 
 
 

Oh, like asking a girl you like out on a first date?

 

 

 

A first date’s not serious. If I were inviting her to a wedding or something, I’d call.

 
 

How would you ask her out via text? What are the exact words you’d send?

 

 

 

Shit, I don’t know. Are you asking me to ask you out?

 
 

Yes, ask me out.

 

 

 

So, Emily, this is probably totally inappropriate since we’re kind of coworkers and stuff, and I know we have our differences about texting, but if you’re around this week, do you feel like having a drink? We can have out the argument old-fashionedly in the flesh.

 
 

Wow, that would be two whole text messages! I’m sure that’s longer than 160 characters.

 

 

 

Yeah, I usually go over.

 
 

Also, no: I’m not around this week. Sorry.

 

 

 

See, now if we were on the phone, you could say, "When are you free?" But if you texted that back, it might verge on creepy/too much.

 

 

 

Why? What’s the difference?

 
 

If I write back, "Sorry, I’m not around this week," you have no idea if I’m really sorry. If we were on the phone you might hear, "Sorry! Oh, I’m not going to be around this week."

 

 

 

So I could pick up more nuance. Yeah, maybe so. But why should it be such a mind game? You could just text back, "I’m not around this week, but next week?"

 
 

And then we’d spend the next week texting to find out when we’re both free, where we’ll go and what we’ll do, when it all could have been decided in one five-minute phone call. Then, I’d probably decide that I’d already texted too much with you. Too much talk, not enough action.

 

 

 

You’re reading a lot into some pretty minor distinctions. Also, you sound like a fast texter.

 
 

Yeah, I’m super-fast, because I text-message with all my friends, my family. I want a potential date to be different, special, exciting! I’ve had too many relationships and potential relationships ruined by the miscommunication that comes along with technology. If a guy is really interested in dating me, he should pick up the phone. I don’t want my relationships to happen over text message.

 

 

 

But "relationships" and "asking for a drink" aren’t the same.

 
 

Any time you have relations with someone, it’s a relationship. And drinks always have the potential of turning into more. So why start off communicating in an unclear way?

 

 

 

What’s so unclear about "would you like to have a drink?"

 
 

That is clear, sure. But it just doesn’t seem so… enthusiastic?

 

 

 

How enthusiastic do you want someone to be? If they don’t really know you…

 
 

Very! I’ve just been on too many bad dates, set up with bad communication. I’ve been on dates that I’m not even sure were dates. And been out for drinks with people who probably thought we were on a date and I didn’t. If a guy calls and says, "Would you like to go out with me?" I know we are going on a date, and can proceed accordingly.

 

 

 

Wouldn’t it be weird for someone to be super-enthused when they don’t know you at all? I mean, Emily, you’re special, we’re all special, but…

 
 

I get what you’re saying. But dating sucks. It’s a pain in the ass. It’s confusing and more often than not it’s a let down. Why not make it a little more clear, a little nicer, at least in the beginning?

 

 

 

Let’s make a deal: next time you want to ask a girl out you call her. And next time a guy I like asks me out over text I’ll say yes. Then we can compare notes.

 

 

 

The last time I asked a girl out, I did call her, because it was the right thing for that situation. I just wouldn’t want to rule out texting.

 
 

Why not? You want that person to go out with you, right? Say she’s on the fence, you call, she’s impressed by the fact you call and says yes. Then you go out and she’s surprised at what a good time she had with you. Whereas if you texted, she could have easily said, "I’m busy, sorry" and never gotten to know how great you are.

 

 

 

If she’s impressed by calling, she must be easily impressed. Who knew it was so easy?

 
 

It is! In this day and age, a guy who calls is very impressive. I went out with a super-dorky guy when I first moved to a new city, just because he worked to track down my number from some mutual friends and called… on a Sunday morning! I thought, "Eh, why not give it a chance?" I wasn’t into it, but at least I didn’t discount him before we went out.

 

 

 

I’m tired of going out with guys who don’t think I’m a big deal. And I don’t mean in the "Emily Farris is a BIG DEAL!" kind of way. I mean, for all I know a guy could be mass texting "Do you want to have a drink this weekend?" to five different girls.

 

 

 

How big a deal do you want to be to someone who’s never really hung out with you? If it’s just about hanging out with someone for the first time, do you really need the supposed validation of being called?

 
 

Well, Pete, women often make a big deal out of things that men see as not a big deal. Get used to it.

 

 

 

I don’t think that follows. Again, if it’s just about hanging out with someone for the first time, do you really need the supposed validation of being called? Or do you just say, hey, modernity, let’s give it a try…

 
 

I asked this question on my Facebook status, and every woman who commented agreed (except the married ones, who didn’t get it). I also don’t want to G-chat with someone I’m dating or IM all day. It all comes down to the idea that there is too much technology involved in our relationships. I’ve been giving modernity a try for a long time. I’m over it.