Not too long ago, boy called girl on the telephone or wrote girl a letter to get her back. Today, boy texts girl, gets her back, and boy and girl live happily ever after in high-tech wireless heaven. Sometimes, at least.
That's a new scenario uncovered by AT&T in an extensive survey of text-messaging 1,000 adults ages 18 to 55.
"People have discovered that there are moments when just the right text, sent at just the right time, can go a long way to keeping romance alive," said Alecia Bridgwater, director of messaging for AT&T's wireless unit, in a statement. "We wanted to understand more deeply how our customers were using text messaging in this way, and our study turned up some interesting insights."
For instance, 68% of the respondents said they sent a love note via text messaging, and 67% said they used texting to flirt.
Dee Casey, a frequent texter and AT&T customer from San Antonio, is sold.
"I spend a ton of time texting every day," he said. "I think it's much easier to flirt via text message than in person because you have a moment to think of a cute, flirty, creative response without being embarrassed about what the other person will think."
For couples in established relationships, "thinking of you" is the most common text message sent to their significant others. Some 28% of those surveyed said they text at least three times a day with a significant other or spouse.
The survey did find a few negatives in texting, however. One-third of the respondents said they would be upset if a significant other responded to a wireless transmission while on a date. A total of 84% said that text messages can be misunderstood by a date or suitor.
The survey found that older adults ages 36 to 55 were less likely to text significant others than younger adults, 18 to 35.
But what about a "Dear John" or "Dear Jane" text message sent to inform another person that their relationship is ending? Discreetly, perhaps, the AT&T study didn't discuss that issue. A U.K. study last year of more than 2,000 adults found one in seven respondents was dumped by e-mail or other digital message.