1. Avoid texting a potential date you’ve never spoken to. It’s easy to project unrealistic expectations onto them only to be followed by a mega let down when you do talk or meet.
2. If you give your phone number out you could be rung OR texted, so check your answerphone has a date-friendly message on it. Many a curious potential date will check to see what you sound like before texting. Take a deep breath and smile before you record your message. Never use standard pre-recorded messages.
3. Only make phone calls or text when you’re feeling relaxed, never when you’re uptight after dealing with a problem.
4. Do keep trying on the phone till you get an answer in the flesh – avoid leaving messages – the dynamic is totally different and more electric. Of course, you’ll dial 141 first so your number doesn’t appear dozens of times on their caller display if they’re out – guaranteed to signal emotional neediness and frighten the horses.
5. Do refrain from talking more than 5 minutes for that first crucial phone conversation. Keep any texts and emails short and flirty. Leave plenty of small talk for the first date – you’ll need it then.
6. Think “friendly flirty” before you phone, email or text, i.e., playful, curious and exhilarated. (I have a whole chapter in my ‘Smart Dating’ book on how to flirt with aplomb). Without being able to read someone’s body language you can’t really judge when it’s a good moment for sexy flirting – men beware! Come across too strong too soon and you’ll frighten the horses. I.e. keep sex texting and emails till you are confident that they are acceptable and giving out the right messages about what you want – a one-night-stand or a relationship?
7. Do keep all messages, texts, emails and phone conversations light. The serious stuff on what you are seeking in a relationship, why you want children soon or why you broke up with your ex are all best kept till you know one another better and you’re with them in person.
8. Never dump someone by text or answerphone – it’s really cruel and cowardly.
9. Do set up a separate email address that you just use for dating. Your signature and/or out of office replies may give out more about you than you’d want casual flirtees to know. Protect your privacy. If you are emailing someone interesting on an Internet dating site, stick to the confidential email system provided by the site – you then have an escape route.
10. Only give out mobile numbers to strangers – a safety precaution as your address can be tracked from a terrestrial number.
Do have fun! Remember the text message, the email and the phone conversation, like old fashioned love letters, are to be enjoyed and savoured in excited anticipation of real face-to-face relationships. Don’t become a serial texter or emailer, pleeeeze.