One of the most strangely difficult things about dating someone new is texting them in a way that makes you sound cool, not crazy, laid-back and clever. It's a tall order.
However, it needn't be so difficult. Caroline Brealey - CEO of dating and introduction agency Mutual Attraction - gives her top tips for getting that text tone just right...
1. Don't be over-familiar
Thinking of calling them "hun" or "babe" in a quick running late text? Er, don't - unless you've been together for a decent amount of time. Brealey says sticking to their first name will give messages a just warm enough tone.
2. Keep acronyms to a minimum
Ask yourself this: are you a) a teenager? Or b) unaware of the actual words popular acronyms stand for? If the answer to both of these points is no, avoid LOLs, ROFLs, OMGs and FMLs. Make comprehension your priority.
3. Be interested
"Light hearted questions are a great way to keep the conversation going via text," says Brealey, but advises not starting a heartfelt discussion via SMS. "Now's not the time to ask life's deep and meaningful questions," she adds.
4. Text before meeting
68% of people like to text before a first date, according to studies and Brealey claims that's no bad thing. "People feel more confident and you already have some common ground," she says.
5. Keep text analysing to a minimum
You know when a guy you like sends a slightly esoteric text and you spend hours trying to figure it out/ boring friends, family and colleagues with it? Not a good idea - in fact, just a brilliantly effective way to send yourself crazy. Brealey advises staying rational: "Try not to jump to conclusions, texts lack tone so it's easy to take things the wrong way. If you're not sure what the text means ask them when you're face-to-face."
6. Text sober
The horror of waking up the morning after the night before to discover a string of over-affectionate, wine-driven texts you've sent to someone you've met, like, once. Brealey says: "Texting when you're merry is risky, you're likely to say something you don't mean, come across to needy or be simply mortified by in the morning."
7. Be decent if you're breaking up
Don't want to see someone you've been dating anymore? Don't let them know by text - Brealey says it's as bad as that awful moment in Sex And The City when Berger ditches Carrie via post-it.
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