Texting is one of the number one ways to communicate in the dating world these days – rarely do we phone to set up a date with someone anymore. The art of texting has evolved and getting it right might seem like a game, but how we text could actually have an impact on our attractiveness.
So you finally got that person’s number, you spend (what seems like ages) formulating the perfect breezy text message because, after all, you don’t want to come across as too needy. You press the send button and then wait.
What we don’t realise is, that moment of waiting is crucial to our growing attraction to the other person and how quickly (or not) we reply back can also have an impact on their attraction towards us. This isn’t about playing games but more down to the way our brains adapt to the reward system – in this case the other person texting back.
Science Says Wait A While Before Texting Back
You receive your text back and perhaps you’re even a little excited. Your first instinct may be to text back straight away, after all you’re both adults and probably both have your phones constantly in your hand so why pretend you haven’t seen it?
Well science says making the other person wait for your reply will increase your attractiveness and it’s all down to ‘reward uncertainty’.
Psychologists have conducted studies on lab animals involving a reward system and monitored how the animals reacted. A reward uncertainty – where animals can’t predict whether pushing a lever will get them food or not – actually increased their interest in getting a reward. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centre and it’s this that gets activated when waiting for that all-important reply.
Why Texting Back Too Soon Is A No-No
By all means, if you want to text back straight away, go for it. But this is why it may be better to wait.
In our brains, a text back from that special someone is considered a reward. Like the animals in the lab, if we know that pushing that lever every time will get a reward of food (in other words, getting that reply straight away every time) the dopamine levels will start decreasing because they know the next time they want a reward, it’ll be instantaneous and a ‘sure thing’. The lab animals start taking the reward for granted and even start to be less interested in trying to get it.
In terms of texting, replying too soon (although great at first) over time can cause the other person to start to see you as less value. This results in the person having less of an urge to text you.
Back in the days when no one had mobile phones, days could go by before you picked up that phone to call, but in today’s modern age, texting has brought about a habit of quick replies and instant messaging and has inadvertently destroyed that sense of mystery. In the first throws of dating, the waiting game can help your feelings to grow, make you wonder and be more curious as to why they haven’t replied yet, what they’re up to and not knowing when you’ll get that buzz telling you their text has finally arrived!
So, hold off for a bit before hitting that reply button – let them wonder about you and get their dopamine levels rising high. It’s not about playing games but rather going by how our brains adapt to the lack of mystery and building up a sort of tension that finally gets released once that all-important reward has be received.
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