Friday, May 21, 2010

Insight for Men: Electronic Communication

In some ways, guys have it easy.

You've been conditioned to make the first move, while women have been taught to sit around and wait for your call.

But when it comes to communicating with a girl, the medium you choose sometimes has the biggest impact on what she thinks of you.

This, of course, depends on your motives.

If you meet a girl at a bar on Wednesday and want her to come meet up with you and your friends in Adams Morgan on Saturday, a text makes it seem like you're not super interested (which will, of course, increases the chances that she'll say yes).

On the other hand, if you want to ask a girl out to dinner, anything other than a phone call makes you seem timid and unsure of yourself, and it's a lot easier to ignore a text than it is to decline an invitation over the phone.

Some of these rules aren't exactly hard and fast--we all spend 10 hours a day on gmail, and the amount of time we spend at the office, gym, and happy hour severely limits our opportunity to pick up the phone, especially when we're bracing for a potentially awkward call.

But there are a few communication pitfalls you should avoid at all costs if you want to make a good impression:

1. The missed call. You call a girl. She doesn't pick up. And when her voicemail comes on, you hang up. This puts the girl in a tough spot. Was your call intentional, or did your phone accidentally dial her number when you bumped into the Metro turnstile? If she returns your call, she's going to have to use some lame introduction to explain why she's calling (i.e., "I saw that you called?"). But you were so casual about getting in touch with her that you didn't even leave a message, so if she calls you back, will it look desperate?

And then there are the assumptions she'll make about you--you're shy, timid, etc.

Again, the noncommittal angle can work to your advantage. But you'll have a much higher rate of return if you just leave a message. All you have to say is, "Hey, it's John. Give me a call when you get this." And if you mess up, press the star and/or pound keys--most voicemail systems will let you rerecord.

2. The missed call--followed by a text. The only thing worse than a missed call with no voicemail is the missed call that comes with a text. When the girl doesn't pick up, you hang up, and then text her, "What are you up to tonight?"

Again, you look completely insecure, like you had a message that was so important that you had to get it to her, but you were too afraid to leave a message. Although most of us hate checking voicemail and prefer the convenience of a text, we also realize how easy it is to send. Women are attracted to cocky men, as much as they complain about guys who seem so sure of their own perfections. Sending a text instead of leaving a voicemail seems, well, lame.

3. Facebook messages. The more Facebook begins to resemble MySpace, the more a Facebook message seems like something that should be left to Again, it's really lame--if you're friends with a girl, you can probably see her e-mail address. Facebook messages are more annoying to check and easier to send. When you're using a Web site to say happy birthday to a kid you haven't seen since 8th grade, asking a girl out becomes a lot less intimidating.

If you have to use the internet, use e-mail.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think texting someone after they don't pick up is a sign of weakness. I know it always takes me forever to bother to check my voicemail, but I always read my texts. Also some people sound incredibly awkward on the phone and unrepresentative of how they usually communicate. To me, there's nothing wrong with the missed call/text combo.