Hiding Behind Textnology

We’ve talked a great deal about how texting is changing the dating game.  We’ve theorized on the “instant” and “false” intimacy created by social media relationships.  Well…now we have the research to back our suspicians.

Christian Mingle and JDate recently conducted a survey of 1500 smartphone users aged 21-50, who are dating or have been in a relationship less than two years and studied their texting behavior.

The results are surprising…

Among the findings from USA Today:

•Approximately one-third of men (31%) and women (33%) agree it’s less intimidating to ask for a date via text vs. a phone call.

•One in four say an hour is the longest acceptable response time to a text to someone you are dating or interested in dating; one in 10 expect a response instantly or within a few minutes.

•More men (44%) than women (37%) say mobile devices make it easier to flirt and get acquainted.

“Texting is kind of an ongoing conversation. It does make it easier to flirt. Maybe you’re talking every day,” says Alex Pulda, 27, who works in product research in San Francisco. “It’s not like text conveys a ton of emotion, but you are getting a little more comfortable with each other.”


According to Ruthie Dean, co-author Real Men Don’t Text (published in September) guys use text messages to send the same message to multiple women. ‘Hey, do you want to hang out tonight.’ They’re kind of fishing for a response,” she says.

Dean, 28, notices that millenials— generally born 1982 to 2000 —have a “a huge handicap in communication. We have our heads down in our smartphones a lot. We don’t know how to express our emotions, and we tend to hide behind technology, computers and social media.”

“People are uncomfortable using the phone. A text message is easier. You can think exactly what you want to say and how to craft it. When they are face-to-face or over the phone, there’s this awkwardness,” she says.

She says telephone calls are often thought of as an intrusion, while texting affords a way of “controlling the volume,” a term she uses to describe the sense of control that text gives users that they can’t get with a voice conversation.

“We tell ourselves we don’t want to disturb someone. Sometimes it’s true, but more often, it’s because we can’t get them off the phone,” she says.

In texting, “we don’t have to talk to people or listen to what another person has to say. We decide how we want to encounter or whether we want to encounter other people. Technology gives us tools for controlling our relationships.”

How is texting changing the way you date?

Technology and Dating

Working in ministry, we get to meet terrific Kingdom Minded people.  DJ Chuang is one of those guys -DJ is a strategy consultant, ideator and connector. 


We ran into him at Catalyst this year and he asked Tim to contribute to a podcast on the effects of social media and relationships. 

Social media is affecting ALL RELATIONSHIPS –specifically DATING! 

Here is the podcast from DJ Chuang’s Social Media Church featuring Pastor Tim Keller. 

How Technology Will affect Your Ministry: Episode 44

This episode of Social Media Church features a caller’s comment, commentary, and presentation. You can listen to the episode for the comment and commentary. And, the presentation “9 Ministry Issues You’ll Face with Technology” is an audio excerpt of a Chapel message by John Dyer, courtesy of Dallas Theological Seminary – used by permission. 

Read More at Social Media Church

We hope you enjoy it!

–Tim and Samantha Keller

Textamacy – How Social Media is Accelerating Relational Intimacy


Our 14-year-old son wanted only one thing for Christmas this year.

And I am sure that we weren’t the only parents who acquiesced to our child’s desire for an iPhone.

Apple sold 125 million of them in 2012.

Until now, kids didn’t have access to instant communication with their friends. Yes, they could call people on the phone, but for this generation, it isn’t fast or wide-ranging enough. Kids today want to communicate through text messages or broadcast their thoughts to an ever-listening world.

We live in a social media age.

In fact, this generation might be coined the “Social Media Generation” not unlike the Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers of the past. Texting, Smart Phones, Facebook and Twitter have changed communication in our world forever.

When something big happens around us, we no longer wait to see it on the evening news; we reach for our iPhone/Pad or our Android device of choice to check in on what’s happening. This cultural shift hasn’t just altered the way we get our information; it has radically changed the way we communicate with one another.

This brings us to the world of dating and our desire for immediate gratification. We are now conditioned by smart phones and social media outlets to seek instant intimacy.  It’s no big deal to spill personal details on Facebook to an audience of thousands.

Now when I was a kid in the midst of puberty, I wanted to engage in intimate conversations with women too, I just didn’t have the opportunity.

I had to use the home telephone (remember the push-button dial-up attached to the wall?) and ask the girl’s parents if I could engage in conversation with their daughter.
And none of those conversations were private, so getting intimate wasn’t an option. Not so today.

We-my wife and I, began to look into the texting patterns of our first-born, to see what was happening in this new social media paradigm. What we found was alarming, and very telling about how intimacy is building in our modern culture.

We inadvertently stumbled upon a conversation (ok we snooped…) that had happened for all of eleven days. The first text was innocent… the girl responded “who is this?”

Eleven days and over 1,000 texts later, they were talking about how they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

Until day nine, the two had never spent a minute alone together. But on day nine, they attended a friend’s fifteenth birthday party at Laser Quest, a laser tag facility at the local mall. And it was on day nine that the two found themselves in a lip-lock inside the dimly lit maze illuminated by black lights and fluorescent bulbs.

Shocking, I know… from zero to intimate in nine days.

When we found out what was happening and unpacked the past eleven days, our son admitted the conversation just kind of went out of control. He said it was easy to say things he never would have said in person or with other people around. The conversation became provocative and arousing and he couldn’t help himself.

An interesting thing happened in the aftermath. When the conversation came to light and the texting stopped, the two found themselves in an awkward position.

They had a lot of enticing conversations, but they really didn’t know each other. They knew little things about each other, but they didn’t know each other. They fell for the image the other person expressed and their own imagination filled in any blanks.

This created a false reality that seemed flawless.

But when they actually began interacting with each other in person, they soon realized the image they portrayed in the texting relationship didn’t match reality. They found they didn’t have much in common and their personalities weren’t a good match.

They still see each other at school, but the enticement is gone and the relationship is over. And this intrigued me…

In a society where social media and texting are the primary ways of communication and a majority of singles have tried online dating, are we really getting to know the people we date, or are we just getting to see the online persona they want to portray?

And do we really want to know the person we date or are we content pursuing someone’s false image because it’s uncomplicated and desirable?
And we wonder why so many of our dating relationships end in disappointment?

Many of these disappointments are inevitable because we cross the threshold of sexual intimacy before we know the person we are with.

As social media and texting have propelled our access to intimacy, it seems as though we are becoming content with false intimacy.

We settle for crumbs instead of a real relationship.

I imagine Manti Te’o would admit he fell hook, line and sinker for this idea of false intimacy.

Have you?

Photo Source: Rodale.com

Text Me, Maybe?


Smartphones are supposed to make our lives easier, right?

We can work and socialize 24/7. It’s instant access all the time.

But in the dating realm this idea of non-stop “availability” backfires.

They need to add a warning label to the little white Apple box.

*Although communication at the speed of light may be beneficial it can also be harmful to relationships. Text and post with caution*

The truth is, humans aren’t meant to know and pursue each at the speed of Facebook and instant messaging.

Here’s the challenge of texting in the first stage of a relationship.

Men love a chase. Women love to talk. Add in texting and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Scenario 1: A guy messages a gal. Within two seconds she responds with a series of three dings, because her response has exceeded the data limits for any one message.

The guy texts back, using all the words he has to communicate in a day on her, and she responds back instantly with another five-paragraph essay.

After a few days or weeks of this text exchange, the guy starts getting carpal tunnel syndrome in his thumbs and then begins to lose interest in the woman, feeling bogged down by all the emotional effort upfront.

“She” can’t understand why all of a sudden after a week or two of heated pursuit he now seems distant and the messages are becoming more sporadic. So she responds even faster to his messages until they run dry and then stop altogether.

And then she scratches her head and wonders “what went wrong?”

But if she played her Smartphone cards a little more strategically, she might get a different response.

Scenario 2: A guy messages a gal. Four hours later she responds. During that four hours the guy thinks about her and wonders what she is doing. He can’t keep his mind on his work and he is now intrigued with her even more. Repeat…

When she does respond to his text, it is both sincere and concise. And while she certainly doesn’t play games, she knows that “too available” is not desirable.

The man falls for her hook, line and sinker and a year later she can text her girlfriends all she wants of her preferences for neon pink bridesmaids dresses.

Why being “too available” is not a good thing.

Imagine trying to play a game of hide and seek and the person hiding stands right behind the seeker shouting “here I am” every time they play the game. After a while the seeker would give up because the person hiding is no fun to play with. In fact, they are downright annoying. There is no suspense, no investment and ultimately “no finding” which is always the best part of the game.

But this is what women do with technology. We over-do it by being constantly available and destroy a budding relationship when its fragile and without roots. We “oh so covertly” cyber-stalk and linger on his Facebook Page wondering who he is talking to and freaking out about every girl who posts on his timeline.

Insecurity is not pretty, but it’s really unattractive when the world reads it on Instagram.

Men can fall into this trap too. If a woman feels stalked by too many posts or text messages, she will pull back and retreat. On the other hand a man might not communicate at all, thus leaving the gal feeling ignored. Finding the right balance of interest towards a woman without obsession or negligence is generally the best option.

FYI…Texting a girl after the second date, “where are you?” and “who are you with?” is a bad idea guys.

So, keep in mind the netiquette of dating well: text intentionally, turn off your “find me anywhere” button, become a good “hider” and play smarter than the average dater with your mobile device.

Have you had any bad texting experiences when dating someone new?

%d bloggers like this: