If your date’s “What’s up?” text has you thinking WTF, you’re not alone.
Case in point: the growing popularity of HeTexted.com, a website where you can upload a screen shot of your textversation and allow commenters to weigh in on what he really meant. The site currently boasts more than 1.2 million monthly unique visits, as well as a soon-to-be-published companion book, He Texted: The Ultimate Guide to Dating In the Digital Era, a self-help guide designed to help single women navigate the increasingly complicated world of Instagram hearts, Facebook likes, and emoji-filled texts.
While a site to help you navigate the digital dating world does sound brilliant, we still wonder, at what point does it border on overanalysis? Experts agree that there’s nothing’s wrong with occasionally looking for a second opinion to decode your date du jour, but they caution that relying too much on external influences can harm your relationship.
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“Everyone who offers her opinions on your relationship is coming from her own perspective and bringing her own baggage,” says Jordan Harbinger, a relationship expert and owner of The Art of Charm. In person you take your best friend’s glass-half-empty outlook with a grain of salt because you know she’s coming off a bad breakup. But because you don’t have a clue where anonymous commenters are coming from, you may give their opinions too much weight when it comes to their advice on your own dating life. [Tweet this fact!]
And even if every commenter says that the text you uploaded sounds awesome, it can still be problematic feedback, Harbinger says. The more you talk and analyze the man you’re seeing, the less you’ll think about him as an individual. If you spend the afternoon idealizing him thanks to all the “he is so your future husband!” comments you got, then you might be disappointed when you find him acting like…a regular dude who forgot you were a vegetarian (even though you told him that on your last date) and asks if you want to split a plate of chicken wings.
Finally, all that time you spent obsessing over his texts cuts into actual communication time with him. That’s why experts agree that it’s best to go straight to the source if you’re confused. “Jumping to conclusions comes across as needy, vindictive, or insane,” says Jay Cataldo, a dating and relationship coach in New York City. “But if you are unsure, ask him what’s going on.”
For example, say you usually text every few hours but suddenly he’s off the radar for an entire day. Instead of obsessing, say something like, “When you didn’t respond to my texts yesterday, it made me feel like I was bothering you. Is that how you feel, or have you just been slammed?”
Chance are, he didn’t know it was an issue, Cataldo says. “This gives you both a chance to share your expectations and get to know each other better.” [Tweet this tip!]
But sometimes a text is just so mind-boggling, it’s begging for an outside opinion. In that case, use his head-scratcher message as a nudge to send him a note asking for some face-to-face time in the near future.