Relationship Tip #9: Text Only What You’d Talk

If you ask me, text messaging is out of hand.  What was intended to be a quick and easy way to confirm meeting times or places has turned into a primary means of communication for some.  With the holidays drawing near, you could find yourself spending some time away from your sweetie to be with your family.  During these times, wireless communication becomes key.  There’s absolutely no excuse for falling out of touch with anyone these days because there are so many ways to “reach out and touch someone” – email, text, cell phone, Skype, instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, picture and video messaging, etc.  Keep this in mind, though.  Whatever method of communication you choose, put in writing only that which you would say in person.  Stated differently, if you can’t say it in person, don’t text it.

As I write this I laugh recalling an ex-boyfriend.  I’ll call him “The Clam.”  The Clam loved to text message me from the four corners of the globe when he traveled.  All hours of the day and night, I’d get sweet, flirtatious text messages from him wherever he was.  Being also well-written, his messages would easily engage my imagination such that I could have easily been at his side.  Face-to-face, was an entirely different story.  It was as if his courage and eloquence had evaporated in my presence.  While we would have some interesting conversation, his heart shut up.  In person, he was a clam.  I saw it as cowardice.

We all have examples of times we’ve hidden behind our email or text messages. Without having to personally contend with the other person’s emotions, it’s really easy to use language boldly through these means.  I think this is why a lot of guys ask girls out on their Facebook pages, but I’ve seen some of my girlfriends say some pretty uncomfortable things via text messages and email too.  Think about it. We can say whatever we want in email or text without ever having to face that person – or their embarrassment, rejection, anger, hurt feelings, whatever.  Just remember that if you insist on putting it in writing, be sure it’s not something you’ll regret later.

One of the gauges I use to determine if a phone call is warranted is if it’s difficult to make it.  If I’m trying to avoid something – be it uncomfortable emotion or confrontation or even the truth – I pick up the phone and force myself to deal with it.  Sometimes it sucks; sometimes I stumble over my words; sometimes I don’t express myself quite as well as I would if I had been given time to write it out; and it’s always uncomfortable.  As imperfect as it is, it’s real.  It’s me.

Ladies, via text or email it’s really easy to be something you’re not when you don’t have your voice and body language to blow your cover as you think on the fly.  If there’s any emotion behind your message whatsoever, speaking in person is always best.  However, if distance keeps you from being face-to-face with its recipient, think twice before you tap out your next text message – or email too, for that matter.  Pick up the phone to give the person with whom you’re communicating the honor of hearing your spoken voice.  Let him hear your heart in your voice inflection and tone.  If you’re courageous enough to add a visual dimension, use Skype and let him see your face (it’s free, by the way).  Be your authentic, beautiful self, emotions and all, whether you’re at his side or on the other side of the world.  Get real in your communication and real in relationship.

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23. Dirt Derby – Cyclocross Races Tuesdays At Del Valle

It was an accident that I found this litte-known Hot Spot.  Hungry and bored, I was requesting the company of one of my good girlfriends over dinner.  Instead, I found myself heading out to a familiar supercross track in Del Valle to watch her and our friend, Jordan (who we affectionately named “Pup” as he is young and totally cute), race cyclocross.  This racing is different than anything I’ve ever seen.   It’s crazy.  They ride what appear to be road bicycles with tires having quite a bit more tread to ride on the dirt (who cares, right?).  There are places on the course where riders have to dismount their bicycles and carry them to hop over barriers.  Because this is a supercross track, there are some pretty steep “jumps,” but the cyclists don’t have the speed of a dirtbike, so the jumps end up being short, steep, pointed hills.

As outdoor motocross is to superbike, so is cyclocross to crit racing.  If you’re not into racing, I realize I may have lost you with that statement.  Just hang in there with me; I have a good point to make.  Different than crits, the atmosphere in cyclocross is really, really laid back.  Nobody’s in any hurry, the competition is light-hearted and the atmosphere is very social.  Plenty of folks grill and have a beer after racing.  People standing trackside hoot and holler for their friends as they ride by.  There’s also a particular hilltop along the outside of sharp right-hander (in motocross it’s called a “berm”) where people stand with dollar bills that the competitors try to grab as they sweep by on their bicycles.  See what I mean?  Crazy!

Dress casually and plan on getting a little dirty.  This is a dirtbike track after all. Being such a social gathering place, it would be easy for you and a group of friends to plan to tailgate here and get to know some of the guys getting in their weekly racing fix.  There is no entry fee to watch.  Spectator friendly, you can walk around to get a different vantage point and can see several sections of the track all at once from just about anywhere.  The biggest field of racers start at 7pm, for the intermediate class.  Pros race just after 8pm.  Work this into your schedule as soon as you can because the season officially wraps in mid-December.  I’ve been informed by the promoter that it’s very possible that the series could be extended into early February.  Regardless, be sure to check the Dirt Derby website to confirm the schedule, especially if it’s raining.  The track is often closed on rainy days.  You will definitely meet some super-nice guys, should you choose to go and socialize.  Entertaining bicycle racing is a bonus.

22. Young Men’s Business League (YMBL) of Austin

When living the college lifestyle, one naturally meets people through the multitude of social channels that play host to a variety of events.  What does one do after college to stay in the social stream?  One way to do it is to attend Young Men’s Business League of Austin – better known as YMBL – events.

There’s no telling what to expect whenever I’m invited to a new social event for a group with which I have never been involved.  When my girlfriend, Michelle, suggested that I accompany her with some others to the YMBL Fall Fling in October at the Allan House, I kept an open mind and was pleasantly surprised.  What I found were a bunch of super-friendly, down-to-earth, professional guys along with some equally cool girls.  In this group, I found socializing with everyone, especially the men, exceptionally easy.

YMBL has been likened to an after-college fraternity.  It’s a group of guys who get together for regular happy hours (that anyone can attend, by the way), tailgating, golf and some annual events.  Their pet charity is Austin Sunshine Camps, to which the group members contribute hours in tutoring, mentoring and volunteering.  What girl wouldn’t want to date a guy who does those things?  Sounds like a catch to me!

Just like a fraternity, YMBL has a “sister” organization, Young Women’s Alliance, with whom they will sometimes combine efforts.  Having attended some Young Women’s Alliance events, I can attest to the fact that this is a bunch of fun, professional, go-getters that are up to big things in the world.  Both of these organizations eliminate any excuse for not meeting people, specifically men.  Whether you go to YMBL events or Young Women’s Alliance events that partner with YMBL, you’ll meet some great guys and, at the very least, make some strong business contacts.  It’s an ideal way to get dialed into Austin and a noteworthy Hot Spot.