Disclaimer: Although I am in agreement with much of the content in Real Men Don’t Text, I do not agree with some of the authors’ advice to girls on the issue of modesty. My recommended reading for young girls and modesty is a book written by a former international model and Christian, Rachel Lee Carter. Click on Fashioned By Faith for my review of this excellent book.
Now to the book review……
No matter how slow we are as parents to release our kids into the world of technology, there is no getting around the fact that the culture is shifting and has created a “new normal” in how kids communicate. Texting is the predominant form of communication today, and it has definitely muddied the waters of male/female relationships.
I recently began reading Real Men Don’t Text: A New Approach to Dating, and it offers great insight into how texting affects relational dynamics and how young adults, particularly girls, should be wise in this area. This is a helpful book for parents who want to get a better grasp on the dynamics of the texting culture and how to train their sons and daughters to be relationally wise.
Michael & Ruthie Dean, a married couple young enough to have grown up fully immersed in the texting culture, offer great insight into how texting can lead to pseudo relationships and disillusioned young women.
Keep in mind that they are pointing out the problem and emphasizing the negative aspects of texting. Obviously, there are guys and girls out there who are doing relationships the right way, and texting in itself is not evil. Even marriage can come from a text message (as in Chicago Bears Jay Cutler’s proposal to Krisitn Cavallari), but this is the exception rather than the rule.
Guys are becoming passive, lazy, and nonchalant towards women. According to the authors, texting can be a “tool for players” or a “crutch for the timid.” If a guy doesn’t have to work for something, he won’t hesitate to discard it when things get difficult. A guy won’t value what he hasn’t earned or pursued.
Girls are allowing themselves to be devalued by allowing guys to forego real communication and pursuit. By eagerly responding to guys’ texts, being available on the spur of the moment, and not demanding appropriate pursuit, girls are communicating that they don’t feel worthy of real relational effort.
Reasons To Say No To Texting
- Texting is easy. It doesn’t require that a guy plan ahead, think ahead, or make any effort outside of typing on a keypad.
- Texting in not a real connection. Texting requires nothing but fast fingers and a few seconds’ time. It creates a false sense of intimacy that will likely lead to disappointment. Text chemistry doesn’t hold much weight offscreen.
- Texting allows both of you the ability to be someone that you are not. This two-dimensonal form of communication can be deceiving. Guys (and girls) are adept at saying what they know the other wants to hear. “I miss you” or “I wish you were here” messages from a guy who isn’t making intentional dates are meaningless.
- Texting thwarts the communication necessary to build a healthy relationship. Engaging with someone primarily via text inhibits several key elements of any real relationship: communication, engagement, and intimacy (real–not false). Texting as a primary form of communication is too easy, too shallow, and unlikely to end in a real and lasting relationship.
Of course situations between guys are girls are varied and complex. Texting is a valuable tool for saving time and keeping in touch when apart; however, in solidifying or building a real and solid relationship, it falls short. As parents, we can help our teens understand what real relationships should look like and how communication should come into play.
The book offers specific guidelines for girls that are definitely worth considering (i.e. don’t accept a date via text; don’t accept a last minute text to “get together”; and don’t take seriously the wooing words of a guy who isn’t backing up his words with actions). In a nutshell, this book sheds great light on the problems inherent in texting and offers suggestions on how to set guidelines for what real relating should look like.