Beginners Guide to Setting Boundaries with Texting

Setting Boundaries with TextingPhone calls are out. And texting is in.

We text friends. We text family members. We text work colleagues. In fact, many of us prefer texting to other forms of communication.

But some people take it too far. They text constantly. Or about things that shouldn’t be in texts. Or they avoid communicating in other ways.

This can be uncomfortable, no matter who you’re interacting with. But it’s particularly trying in a romantic relationship. Especially in the beginning.

Excessive or inappropriate texting can feel like stalking. It can make you think you’re in a relationship when you’re really not. It can allow you to say things you wouldn’t face-to-face. It can push two people apart.

That’s why I recommend setting texting boundaries early on. This way, you both know where you stand. You both know what’s okay. And what isn’t.

Boundaries make it easier to show each other respect. You know where the lines are. You don’t have to worry and wonder about doing too much. Or too little.

In other words, setting texting boundaries makes getting to know each other less stressful. Seriously.

Texting is a big part of the modern anxiety of dating. Are you responding enough? Too much? Are you saying the right things? Can he tell what you mean? How can you ask him to cool it without hurting his feelings?

Boundaries wipe all of that away. Which is why I’m going to tell you exactly which boundaries to set and how to set them.

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Is He Ignoring My Text?

Is He Ignoring My Text?It’s an annoyingly helpless feeling. You sent him a text message, and now you’re waiting for the reply. Minutes tick by. Then half an hour. An hour, and still you’re waiting.

The longer you have to wait, the more anxious you feel. Is he snubbing you? Did he take your last message the wrong way? Is he losing interest? What does it mean?

The truth is, most of the time it doesn’t mean anything.

There’s this great video called “I Forgot My Phone.” It depicts a young woman in all kinds of social situations. The other people she’s with, her friends and even her boyfriend, are constantly on their phones. She stands out because she’s the only one who doesn’t have an electronic device in hand. She’s more focused on the things going on around her than updating her social networks.

What about you? Are you one of those people who treats your smartphone like an appendage? If so, I can understand why it would freak you out when he doesn’t reply quickly. Your phone is always with you. If you don’t reply immediately, there’s a reason.

But I want you to consider two things.

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Four Text Messages to Avoid

Four Text Messages to AvoidText messages are great. They allow for quick communication practically anywhere. When you’re dating someone, they have the very real potential to help your relationship grow.

But they can also hinder it.

A lot of people rely on text messages to get something more than information. What do they want? Attention and affirmation. They want to know there’s still a warm connection.

Granted, it’s nice to be on the receiving end of those kinds of messages sometimes. The problem occurs when you get those kinds of messages all of the time.

My advice is simple. Don’t use text messages as an easy way of asking for attention over and over again. Instead, send him messages that have value.

Unfortunately, many of us are in the habit of sending valueless text messages. I’ll give you a few examples. I’m not saying you should never send these kinds of messages. Just make sure you don’t overuse them.

1.”I miss you.”

This can easily come across as an attempt to get him to reply with, “I miss you, too.” Frequent messages that sound like you’re fishing for a specific response can make a guy feel trapped. Don’t send this one too often.

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Before You Text Your Boyfriend, Read This

how to avoid texting mistakesHere are a few things I have learned about texting as a relationship coach.

1.You should not make decisions or write those decisions in a text message when you are upset.

2.You should be VERY slow to respond to text messages when you are angry.

3.Your own mood will determine how you imagine the other person’s tone of voice as you read their text.

I can recall countless episodes of sitting in my office with a client who insisted I read a series of back and forth text messages between her and her boyfriend.

In most of these situations they were not asking me for advice. Instead, they were looking for validation. Validation of the intense feelings of frustration with a boyfriend who was in a full fledged emotional blame game with them.

In many of these situations, a quick read of the first few text messages revealed the problem.

I’m talking about the snowball effect of misinterpretation. Just one misunderstanding early in the text-conversation causes a splintering of perspectives. Almost like you and your boyfriend enter parallel dimensions, or alternate universes.

The context of a statement is misunderstood, but neither person realizes the misunderstanding has occurred. As a result, both parties continue the conversation under differing sets of assumptions about the other person’s thoughts and motivations.

The Text Message Land-Mine

That creates a land mine just waiting for one of you to step on. Because neither of you remembers having set a land mine, you both launch into a blame game fueled by frustration.

It’s amazing how often people overlook the possibility that simple miscommunication has occurred. And it’s because emotions (both positive and negative) can severely skew the way we interpret written messages.

The lack of vocal intonation, facial expression, and other nonverbal clues creates a much larger range of possible interpretations for written words compared with in-person communication.

There is a solution to this common problem. But first, let’s look at a real-life example of the problem as it unfolds.

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