She then decided to enlist the help of a professional in the emerging field of dating courses focused on texting.
Shortly after Abby Norton met someone she liked on a dating app last July, the 24-year-old editor took a two-week trip abroad. Because of the different time zones, she and her boyfriend had a hard time establishing a texting routine while she was out of the country, although they exchanged a few messages a day.
Once Norton returned to Minneapolis, where she lives, the two began seeing each other, but the text messages still seemed unsatisfying, continuing “only a few times a day despite being in the same time zone.” This made Norton anxious. “Things came to a boiling point one night when I found myself crying” after not hearing from him for “a day or two” – mainly, she said, because “it occurred to me that I probably needed to sort out the internal issues they had. brought me to this point of insecurity and anxiety.”
She then decided to enlist the help of a professional in the emerging field of dating courses focused on text messaging. She took a course called the Text Message Communication Healing Crash Course, offered by licensed therapist and dating coach Kelsey Wonderlin, who lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
Wonderlin, who has been offering dating courses since fall 2021 but began specifically targeting texting issues starting in September, is one of several dating coaches trying to provide clients with the written communication skills needed to bring matches for the real world. Among the questions they try to help answer: What is the most accurate first message to send on a dating app? How to flirt in a way that isn’t too scary? What if people just don’t respond?
With 180,000 followers on Instagram, Blaine Anderson, a dating coach in Austin, Texas, has always found texting videos to be a hit with his mostly male audience. That realization, in addition to her personal experiences receiving strange messages on dating apps, inspired her to launch a course in August called the Operating System for Text Messaging, “to eliminate men’s stress and anxiety when communicating with women over the phone. through messaging or text,” said Anderson, 33.
According to Damona Hoffman, a dating coach in Los Angeles and New York and host of the Dates & Mates podcast, many people get stuck in what she calls the “message relationship.” Texting has become a phase of the relationship, she said, and her Dating Accelerator program, which costs $1,297 and combines live sessions and video lessons, teaches people to avoid it.
Despite the widespread use of dating apps, experts like Hoffman, Wonderlin and Anderson believe that our society still lacks digital communication skills. The reason, according to Wonderlin, is that there is no place where people can learn how to start and maintain a healthy relationship. Instead, they have to figure things out on their own.
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After all, texting is a relatively new medium of communication. “Our brains aren’t wired to think” about messages longer than 100 characters, Anderson admitted. While texts are convenient, they lack the texture and depth of face-to-face conversations. “Distilling our complex and subtle feelings into text messages is difficult, and people end up saying the wrong thing inadvertently.”
For Hoffman, it is not surprising that people are struggling. While many people like to send text messages for reasons of practicality and efficiency, there is a lot of room for misinterpretation. And asking friends for advice can also open a “Pandora’s box”. While one friend might tell you to delay a reply so as not to show neediness, another might tell you to send multiple messages to show interest. That’s where the confusion starts.
“Education in healthy communication has always been lacking,” Wonderlin points out, “but as people meet online today and start exchanging messages,” they have become the means by which people form their communication patterns in relationships. And since many prefer to communicate via text rather than talking on the phone before meeting, “it’s important to set the tone early on for healthy, reciprocal communication.”
Anderson’s two-hour video course costs $149 and is divided into seven modules that cover common scenarios from chatting offline to getting a second date. The course mainly focuses on the psychology behind the different messages and provides text templates.
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Wonderlin’s video course costs $333 and takes students through five modules. It starts by addressing the importance of creating healthy communication early in the relationship, then covers different types of messages – the dry text, the excited text, the compulsive text, the distracted text – and helps students understand what a relationship is. red flag and what your particular message writing style is. It also teaches you to avoid despair when someone sends you a one-word reply or doesn’t respond right away.
Dan Leader, a 36-year-old engineering manager in Detroit, signed up for Anderson’s course in December “because I wasn’t turning a lot of matches into dates, and when I did get dates, they didn’t lead to second dates,” he revealed. Since taking the course, “I now write with purpose and intention,” he said. “I ask questions to get to know the person and so they can get to know me. Then I make a clear plan to arrange a meeting at the appropriate time. I no longer feel the need to keep up with small talk.”
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