Dating in Your 40s: Texting Etiquette and Unspoken Rules

A woman dating in your 40s texting a guy on a dating app to meet up while she drinks coffee.

Like it or not, there are many unspoken rules of texting. You may not agree with each of them, but when you’re getting to know somebody, it’s best to follow them to make the best first impression.

Texting etiquette has changed a lot in just a few years, so if you’re recently single, you might have some catching up to do. But even if you’ve been dating for a while now, it never hurts to do a quick refresh. To make sure you’re following the proper texting etiquette, follow these 10 unspoken rules of texting.

1. First thing’s first: When you get a text, respond to it.
Try to make a habit of responding to every single text you receive. You don’t have to reply the moment you receive it, but don’t ghost people, a.k.a. cut off all communication and completely disappear. And yes, you should respond even if it’s to (politely) say that you don’t think you’re compatible and you’re not interested in dating them.

2. Keep your texts short and sweet.
Don’t overwhelm someone with a wall of text. Think of texting as your means of communication between dates. You want to keep in touch, show that you’re still interested, and plan your next date, but you don’t want to run out of things to say. Try to strike a balance between available and interested, but still intriguing and mysterious.

3. That said, keep your texts proportional to theirs.
If they write a wall of text and you respond with “Ok” or “Ha,” it won’t make them feel good. That said, if you’re on the receiving end of an “Ok” or a “Ha,” there might be a reason.

4. Use proper grammar and don’t use abbreviations.
if u txt like this u def wont b taken srsly irl lol. The occasional “omg” is okay, but don’t overdo it. Bad grammar, typos, and abbreviations read as lazy, and will make them wonder if you’re lazy in other areas of your life, too.

5. Don’t use all caps, either.
THERE’S NO NEED TO USE ALL CAPS, BECAUSE IT MAKES IT SEEM LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING. If you really feel the need to shout at someone, maybe the conversation should be happening in real life.

6. Watch your tone.
Of course, you know the tone of your text. But when someone is still getting to know your sense of humor, your sarcasm won’t necessarily come across via text. They could take your sarcasm literally, or worse, be offended. Until there’s a font for sarcasm, it’s best to avoid it.

7. Don’t get too deep or personal.
Texts are meant to be lighthearted, fun, and flirty. You can ask how their day is going but save the deep questions and personal stories for the date.

8. If you don’t receive a reply right away, don’t panic.
There are a number of reasons why people don’t respond to texts right away: they’re busy at work, their phone is dead, they forgot their phone at home, or they read your text and meant to respond but forgot to. Not getting a reply right away doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not interested, so don’t panic and assume the worst. And definitely don’t keep texting them until they respond, because that will push them away.

9. Text during business hours.
When you’re getting to know someone, keep your text conversations between 9 am-5 pm. Basically, don’t text them super early in the morning or late at night.

10. Whatever you do, don’t call them.
We know, we know: Phone calls are a basic form of human communication. But in today’s world, a phone call from someone you don’t know very well (or even someone you do, for that matter) can be awkward. This is one of the unspoken rules of texting might divide some people, but in general, don’t call someone until you get to know them better. Then, if they say that they like phone calls, go for it!

As you get to know somebody better, you can amend these rules, but, when you’re first getting to know somebody, it’s best to follow them the best you can. Trust us: A little bit of texting etiquette goes a long way.

Elizabeth Entenman

Freelance Writer

Elizabeth is a freelance writer, editor, and advertising copywriter in Brooklyn. Right now, she’s probably somewhere Instagramming her dogs.

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