Dating is confusing.
I doubt there’s a person reading this who would disagree with that statement. Because it’s true.
But there is a very specific subset of rules that apply to millennials on the search for romance, and let me be the first to tell you – I don’t understand them.
Well, I understand them. I’m just bad at them.
The rules I’m referring to outline just exactly what is acceptable and not acceptable to do while texting your potential new romantic interest.
I’m talking about the painstakingly pointless crap your high school friends still share on Facebook that breakdown who should text first, how quickly you should respond and how you should never ever send two texts in a row.
If you think I’m kidding, check it out for yourself. There is literally a Huffington Post article titled, “The Do’s and Don’ts of Texting Your Crush.” There are Buzzfeed articles, Match.com links and magazine spreads devoted to the art of texting someone you like.
Correct me if I’m wrong here, but wasn’t the point of improving our communication technologies to, well, communicate?
So why should I have to debate whether or not to send the first text in a conversation? If I want to talk to someone, I’m going to. Why does it matter if I initiated the last conversation or if they sent the last text of the previous conversation? Especially if all I have to do is type the letters “h-e-y” and hit send.
While we’re on the subject, do people really keep track of those things? Who has the time to make a mental record of who started a conversation and at what time and who said goodbye first and if there was a smiley face and…the list goes on and on.
Speaking of smiley faces, let’s talk about emojis.
According to emojipedia.org, there are 1,851 emojis available on the iPhone keyboard. Nearly 2,000 of these little caricatures and they all have different meanings.
There are 22 smiley faces with varying features, from a smirking smile to a full-toothed smile to a blushing smile. And they all have very different meanings within a text conversation.
Use the wrong one and your text goes from playfully friendly to subtly sexual in the blink of an eye (or wink of an emoji).
The worst part is everyone interprets these little emoji faces differently. There isn’t an emoji manual that we all universally use. It’s totally subjective and extremely headache-inducing.
To all of my fellow millennials out there struggling right along with me, I have a proposition.
Let’s create our own set of texting rules and try to get them to catch on. I’ll start up a petition and a GoFundMe account to raise marketing funds.
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far: Ask yourself, “Do you want to talk to *insert name of whoever it is that’s been making your palms sweaty lately*?” If yes, send them a text. If no, do not send them a text.
Also, I think we could do away with the emoji keyboard and go back to the basics. It’s hard to misinterpret the classic smiley : ) and the classic wink ;).
But that’s something we can discuss after our new rules start to pick up some traction.
This story first appeared in the April 27th, 2017 issue of The Vantage