Frequency of contact

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Frequency of contact

Post by Hirundo Bos on Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:38 pm

I'm having a buildup of questions again – new questions for a new phase of life, one where I work and write and live on my own and sexual contacts sometimes happens. Like with earlier questions, they're a bit tangled up with one another, and the specific and general levels are tangled up, and everything is tangled up with my entire life narrative so it's hard to know where to begin. But I have a specific situation right now that ties into a more general problem, so I'll start with that.

I've been messaging with a couple's profile on a sexy dating sites. They're a man and a woman, looking for another man to play with. They liked my erotic stories and that I'm not exactly an expert on sex. They did not drop contact after seeing my pictures (not that I'm bad looking, but people have varying tastes). The woman dealt with the talking, and we exchanged some on-site messages. She progressed steadily from getting to know you-talk to sexy talk. We exchanged 1-2 messages per day, and I was the one to hold back, because writing can sometimes be slow. Then last week we connected on Skype. Day one and two, we spent a some hours on the evening chatting by text. Day three, on her initiative, we exchanged some dirty pictures. Day four, I was a bit socially overwhelmed and didn't initiate contact. Neither did she. Day five, which was yesterday, I sent a message in the morning, got a reply a few hours later, replied back a few hours after that. I haven't heard anything more after that.

There are two things. One: Having hour-long chats three days in a row was getting a bit much for me, and I was starting to wonder how I could communicate what pace I preferred and it wasn't clear to me what pace I did prefer. That's one reason I didn't take any initiative on day four, an attempt to readjust the pace. Two: It's possible that exchanging pictures kind of released some of the energy we'd been building up, and that the slowing of pace on her side is kind of a soft withdrawal. My social calibration is a bit lacking in his area.

INSERT: She messages me as I'm writing this, so it looks like there's still contact. No immediate reply to my reply though.

But the questions remain more or less the same. How do I know my own pace? How do I communicate what it is? How do I sense what pace she prefers? How do I adjust when there's a chance in pace? How do I probe to see if change in pace means a soft withdrawal, or if it's for one of all the other possible reasons?

A more general question, specifically for text based chats (including Tinder): How to initiate a conversation in cases where the previous one reached a natural end? Like if we ended on good night yesterday, how do we start up again today... and if he attempt to start up doesn't catch on, is the ball automatically in the other person's court, or can I make a second attempt a day or two later, and then what do I say?

I guess what I'm trying to learn is how people get into and maintain a shared rhythm when it comes to establishing frequency of contact? I may have asked something like this before... I think it's a big part of the reason why so many of my social relationships tend to peter out after a while. If I get out of the rhythm, for whatever reason, I have a very hard time getting back in. And from the other person's perspective, that means I'm the one whose slowing things down, so they respond accordingly, and things slow down even further, until they come to a complete rest. And it looks to both parties as if the other one has withdrawn softly.

I want to try and get a little better with this...
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Re: Frequency of contact

Post by sky on Tue Oct 18, 2016 11:36 pm

I think figuring out your own pace mostly comes down to trial and error, and taking notes on how much feels like too much, or how much doesn't feel like enough for you. If an hour per day was too much after only three days, then you could try asking yourself what about half an hour per day? Or an hour every third day? Or email/texting for a few days and a voice chat once a week, etc?

As far as whether she wants to change the pace of conversation, I don't think there would be anything wrong with just asking. You could say something like "I feel a little bit overwhelmed by how often we have been talking, and I'd like to slow the pace a little. I also want to ask what amount of communication you prefer to have."

I think watching for reciprocity might be the best way to detect whether someone is trying to withdraw from communication. Things like:
-Does she send messages that contain questions or other hooks to keep the conversation going, or are her messages just answers to your questions and then you're left with having to ask more questions to get her to reply again?
-Does she initiate contact, or is it always you?
-Does she always take much longer to reply than you? (Although this could also just be an attempt to slow the pace of conversation.)
Basically if you are the one putting in all of the effort to keep a conversation going, it could be because the other person doesn't want to be having a conversation with you.

I also am trying to work on keeping up conversation with people that I want to stay in contact with. I have a lot of friends who I speak to less than once a year, and the longer I let it go, the harder it is to start again. So far, this is my basic formula for restarting conversation:

This (thing I saw/heard/imagined etc.) made me think of you/reminded me of something we talked about before. Also, here is a thing I did recently. How have you been?

A similar formula might work to restart your tinder/text chats. Maybe you could start a new conversation with a thing that ties into something that came up in a previous chat, or a thing you think they'd find neat based on what you know about them so far?
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Re: Frequency of contact

Post by Hirundo Bos on Sun Oct 23, 2016 7:56 am

Thanks for the reply, sky. I... may have asked these same questions before, I even seem to have memories of having talked to you about them before? But it takes some rounds of try and adjust, I think, for skills like this to settle in...

And it looks like I've been improving, maybe more than I thought, for we've settled into a good rhythm by now this person and I.

Though my anxieties about making and keeping contact may be a problem still. I see it happening with other people in my life, like the person I spent some nights with this summer... we're still very friendly, still talking by mail, but it takes longer and longer between each time I write her, and I've seen other budding friendships peter out the same way. And as it is the same with contacting say doctors, hairdressers, dentists etc, it's probably not just things coming to a natural end, it does have to do with a kind of anxiety. But I haven't quite got a handle on what it is... the thing with things you avoid is, you don't get to learn a lot about them.

Your formula suggestions look very useful, I'll keep them in mind when I do reinitiate.
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Re: Frequency of contact

Post by sky on Sun Oct 23, 2016 2:18 pm

I think I did reply to one of your threads before, but I don't remember what it was about.

I'm glad you're seeing improvement! One other thing to think about might be the communication medium. For myself, I really prefer to have in-person interactions with my friends, so no matter how many messages I send them, it still feels like things are fading unless I am actually able to visit them periodically. Perhaps a phone call or inviting your summer friend to an event might break up the monotony of sending mail back and forth?

It might be useful to put doctors, hairdressers, and dentists in a separate category. To me they aren't (usually) friends, but are people who provide a service in exchange for money, and I call them when I want to schedule the service. It's not weird to not talk to them in between. Actually calling them is still difficult in its own right, but it got a little easier for me when I realized I didn't have to worry about whether or not they remember me or if I should have called sooner, etc.
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