We get it — if you learned the ins-and-outs of dating decades ago, before you got married, getting back into the swing of modern swiping and digital connections presents a steep learning curve. But if your post-divorce goals include meeting a partner to share your life with — a relationship that goes the distance, investing in the new rules of dating should be your next priority. One key area where most men fail to hit the mark is with the phone. While previous generations might have looked forward to (and, ahem, waited for) a nightly dial to catch up or have meaningful conversations, texting via blue one-liners and many clever emojis is quickly becoming the new normal.
Not sure how to exercise your thumbs in an effective way? Here, relationship experts and therapists give their candid advice on the new golden rules for making phone calls. Now you don’t have to question if you should text, ring, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Facebook messenger or send a carrier pigeon when you’re into a woman:
Why Are Phone Calls Becoming Outdated?
Psychotherapist and author of The Relationship Fix, Dr. Jenn Mann says that, just as norms in business shift over the years, so do the aspects of dating. Considering more and more people are becoming more comfortable with emerging technology, good ‘ole fashioned telephones are considered, well, an ancient practice that’s meant for only very specific situations. It all has to do with the message and tone women might perceive a ring radiates into a could-be relationship. “If you meet someone at a party, event or restaurant, most people, in this day and age, text before they call. Calling can sometimes appear aggressive or catch people off guard. Even just a text, asking when might be a good time to call, can make for a gentler introduction on the phone,” she explains.
Relationship expert Elena Burnett also warns that making a phone call too early into the flirting — or courting — period can put you at risk of expressing more vulnerability than your potential mate has earned. That’s why text messages are designed to be more impersonal, she notes, because they give you a sense of control over when and for how long you want to carry a conversation, allowing the relationship to move slower. “To call a woman indicates you are willing to give her your total attention, an act of sacrifice that takes you away from accomplishing other things during that time,” she says.
Rule No. 1: Use It As A Gut-Check Before A First Date
If communicating and taking note of a woman’s laugh, the way her voice rises and falls with conversation, how she hesitates at certain topics or leans into others, is important to you — well, Dr. Mann says that’s a great way to approach a relationship. But the first time you should have that deep discussion is in person, not on the phone. The exception to this rule is when you’ve met someone on one of the many popular dating apps, from Tinder and Bumble to OkCupid, Hinge and beyond. That’s because talking on the phone can serve as a gut-check, giving you a blind glimpse into her personality before wasting your time, money, spirit or heart on a date that is bound to go sour. “If you have met someone on a dating app, the usual protocol is to first text and then talk on the phone before asking someone on a date. It is important to see if there is good talking chemistry before meeting in person. Most women feel safer after talking on the phone first,” she explains.
Rule No. 2: Early in a Relationship, Only Use Phone Calls to Make Plans
After that introductory call and first date, though? Burnett echoes Dr. Mann, adding that calls, FaceTimes or any type of vocal communication over the phone should be reserved for emergencies and for getting down to the business of planning your next meet-up. “Never ask a woman if you can call her, but find out when she has free time. Take the initiative and don’t use the phone call to chit-chat too much. Phones should be thought of as for emergencies only. Call to invite her out and leave the small talk for when you meet up,” she explains.