29/03/2017 07:33 BST | Updated 29/03/2018 06:12 BST

Beat Text Message Anxiety in New Relationships

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In the days before texts (BT), communication when you were in a new relationship was simpler. You spoke to each other, face-to-face. You might even phone each other during the week just to talk, or arrange the next date. Sure, there was the agonising waiting by the phone, the wondering exactly how long to leave it so as not to appear too desperate.

Fast forward to present day, and you can catch up with someone via messaging, online, email, apps, videos, pictures at any time of the day or night. But just because you can get can get your message to someone, doesn't mean they are going to understand you.

The heady days of a new relationship are littered with texts from morning to night. This is lovely and exciting but full of opportunities for misunderstanding. The main culprits are reading layers of subtext into a few lines of text and reading the message in a tone of voice that you decide on based on your own expectations and insecurities.


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The problem with text messages is you can choose any old tone of voice to read them in. If you are anything like me, read layers of subtext into the words on the screen and assign an arbitrary tone of voice to read the text in.

It is not a good idea to read subtext into text messages, just take them at face value. You have no idea if you are right or not. You will drive yourself crazy analysing a few lines or words. Take them at face value and respond accordingly. Your analysis will only reflect your own mindset, at least until you have got to know the other person very well. If you are anxious about new relationship you will only reinforce this.

And, as hard as this is, don't read text messages in a tone of voice. It will only wind you up into having imaginary arguments based on an imaginary tone of voice that you read the message in. Or is this just me? Take the words at face value and in a neutral tone of voice.


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If in doubt - pick up the phone. Seriously! Talking to someone is the quickest way to clear up any confusion. Sure most of us hate talking on the phone, me included, but a five minute conversation is more satisfying and effective than hours of texting back and forth. It can be a good idea to preface the call with a quick message asking if it's a good time for a quick talk, just in case the other person is in the middle of something.


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If somebody does't answer your text within a few minutes or a few hours, this doesn't mean anything! People might not like to text while in the middle of other things, preferring to give the other person their full attention at a better time, or they might not be able to text at a certain time. Just chill! If text contact goes from full on to zero then you have probably got reason to worry, but a healthy amount of textual contact allows for gaps between messaging. One more thing... even if you have seen that the other person has been online and not messaged you back - this is normal! They will get back to you when they can.

We still have the agonising waiting by the phone. Only these days it's more likely that it's for a message than a phone call. Don't let text messages cause you stress. Keep them short and sweet and don't let waiting and responding to text messages take over your life. Get out there and do something less boring instead!

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