Jamie Shupak is the Emmy-nominated traffic reporter for NY1, the Big Apple cable network that’s the end-all and be-all on all things Gotham for New Yorkers. She’s also a beautiful, single woman navigating New York’s treacherous dating scene after the painful breakup of a 10-year relationship. In her weekly column she’ll share her war stories and offer her advice and admonitions.
Last week he texted me again.
“Please stop the rain for me,” he wrote in a failed attempt at humor, oblivious to the fact that I’m a traffic girl, not a Weather God.
I reminded him of that in my reply, and there the conversation stopped. No plans to meet, no further flirting, nothing.
He’s been texting me this way for months — ever since April, the last time I saw him. I’m starting to forget what he looks like. He’s never said anything memorable. Sometimes I don’t know why I even bother replying.
Maybe it’s because he says just enough, just often enough, to stay in the picture.
He doesn’t know how to take me out — maybe he doesn’t even want to — but he definitely knows how to get my attention.
The theory of dating inertia is simple: it’s about staying in her orbit — staying near the top of her text-message queue or inbox, and by extension, near the top of her mind.
I’ve seen it in my own life and I’ve seen it happen to my friends. Sometimes the connection you have with a woman can fall flat or even die completely because the communication isn’t what she needs to stick around or stay interested.
You don’t have to call me everyday or even check in with me everyday — though if you’re thinking of it as a "check-in" then you probably shouldn’t be doing this with me in the first place. But everyone likes to know that they’re being thought of.
You don’t have to engage in a full conversation either. In fact, sometimes it’s better if you don’t. A text is no place for an in-depth conversation anyway. If the rest of your phone calls (‘cause you are calling her, right?) are the entrée then think of these messages as the appetizers to warm her palate to rest of the meal you’re offering.
(Be sure that main course you’re serving up is hot and leaves her wanting dessert.)
It’s easy and only takes a few seconds to text something funny you saw or heard that made you think of her.
The other day a boy who knows when I usually walk home from work noticed a severe thunderstorm warning for my neighborhood and thought to text me, “Walk home fast.” Boom! Just like that, he was top of the text-message queue and top of mind.
It probably only took him 30 seconds, but those 30 seconds translated into me thinking of him later, when I was figuring out my weekend plans.
Even better: A simple dose of “Hey, I’m thinking of you” makes the woman smile and keeps that momentum going.
Think of dating like a top spinning on a table that you set it in motion. The problem arises when it stops spinning and you have to pick it up to get it going again. But it’s not always easy to get it spinning again, and sometimes, even if you manage to, it’s almost impossible to get it moving exactly the same way twice.
So it’s best to keep the top spinning from the start by using all the tools at your disposal (in moderation, of course): texts, MMS photos, tweets or Facebook messages, email forwards, etc.
Just remember to know your audience and not overwhelm the woman. It can be a lot of fun to trade messages across all mediums — it helps to build the anticipation, to get to know the person better, and create jokes between the two of you — but a cautionary word to the wise: Don’t rely on these tactics in place of talking on the phone and seeing her, and again, be careful not to overload her on all fronts.
(Side note and also future column idea: Let her miss you for an afternoon.)
Sometimes inertia and momentum are lost because two people have two very busy schedules. You have a business trip, then she has a wedding out of town, then you have your cousin’s birthday. It can be endless and sometimes detrimental to a relationship. This is when it is more imperative than ever to work those thumbs to produce some sweet, thoughtful messages that will keep her thinking of you in a positive light.
It also doesn’t hurt, if you know you’re going to be away or busy for a while, to make plans for when you return or are free, so she knows you’re trying to keep this going.
It’s like riding a bike. Once you hit your stride, it’s easy to cruise at top speed. But take a tumble — even a small one — and it gets harder to get back up and start peddling again.
So do as you would along a curvy, hilly bike path and stay focused on the woman you’re dating: Give her your attention with both eyes and both hands.
And maybe for the unexpected you’d be smart to wear a helmet.
Next Week: Jamie talks about Last Call.