In the not so distant past, college communication involved calling someone on a landline phone. While a few lucky coeds had their own phones in their dorm rooms, most went through college waiting in line to make a call in the hall of their dorms. Can you imagine?
With thumbs moving in rapid fire and sharp digital displays, the phone has become an antiquated form of communication for today’s college students. We live in a world dominated by texting, instant messaging, Facebook, and the soon-to-be forms of instant communication that will render even these obsolete.
What’s more, this new way of communicating has completely transformed the world of sex, dating, and relationships. With these new romantic realities, it’s important to establish a few communication guidelines to help you navigate your college dating life (and beyond).
Don’t Text Anything You May Regret Later
Researchers have found that sexts (sexually suggestive texts and images sent over cell phones) among college students are common. A study from the University of Rhode Island's Department of Human Development and Family Studies revealed that 78 percent of college students surveyed had received sexually suggestive messages, and 56 percent said they had received suggestive images. Two-thirds admitted to sexting, with 73 percent of those messages sent to a relationship partner.
There’s more: According to the survey, 10 percent of the sexual texts were forwarded to friends without the consent of the person who originally sent the message.
Don’t Drink and Type
Not only are drunken communications often damaging to relationships, they can also be damaging to your self-esteem. TUI (texting under the influence) can lead to a host of morning-after regret. If you really can’t control yourself, technology might have to control you. In fact, iPhones and Gmail have programs that disable your texting/e-mailing during peak drinking hours, unless you can pass a sobriety test.
Make Sure Your Partner’s on Board With Your Posts
While you may love the picture of you and your boyfriend engaged in a deep lip-lock on the campus quad, not everyone wants to see you kissing. In fact, he may prefer you respect the privacy of your relationship — or maybe just not post anything his mother can see! If you want to show the photos to friends back home, then upload them to a private album on a photo-sharing Web site like Flickr. Not only will he appreciate the gesture, you’ll be glad too if potential employers go poking around on your page later.
Breaking Up Shouldn’t Be a Public Spectacle
You wouldn’t break up with your boyfriend in front of the 200 people in your freshman economic seminar, so before announcing to the world that you’ve gone from in a relationship to single, make sure your partner knows this first. Consider how you would feel if you were dumped via text or if you found out through Facebook, Think of how you would want to be broken up with and provide others with the same courtesy.
Respect Different Communication Styles
If he’s not Gchatting or IM-ing you every time he signs on, it doesn’t mean he isn’t interested or that he doesn’t care. Men tend to be less chat-friendly than women, so don’t worry if a few of your IMs go unanswered. And if you’re always the IM initiator, it may be his not-so-subtle way of saying he’d rather keep your conversations outside the chat window.
College is a time for fun, growth, and exploration. Navigate the technological world wisely so you can have a lifetime of loving and healthy relationships.