We can’t stop the reality of instant and digital communication. While many would still prefer face-to-face communication, texting is unavoidable, so it’s best for you to learn to do it right.

Here are the 20 texting etiquette tips for dating that you must learn. Except for certain occasions, men are almost always expected to be the one to initiate a texting conversation in the early stages of dating.

Avoid texting quotes, or worse, chain texts that send a curse or a “promise” if you don’t send to x number of people.

[Read: 10 ways to handle dating someone with anger issues] #4 Be short and sweet. This is especially true in the realm of texting and dating, since the recipient can’t see you as you say *type* those words. Have you ever had someone send you the same text multiple times back-to-back? The more texts you send at a time, the more desperate and needier you come across.

Avoid lengthy messages that give you more opportunities to be misunderstood. Though you might feel that you were ignored or left hanging without a response, fight the urge to resend the message and just get your mind off of it.

Just be sure to be sincere about it if you are expecting another date. Texting etiquette demands that you have discretion when you are texting.

Be aware of situations when it’s all right to text and when it is more appropriate to just pick up the phone and call. Be mindful of what the other person could be doing at certain times of the day. Not only might you be waking them up at 2 a.m., but texting at odd hours also makes you look needy, weird, or inconsiderate. When you’re dating, especially in the early stages, texting etiquette suggests that it’s best to keep it cool at first.

Hiding behind your phone is one of the worst ways to start any relationship. Be sure that whatever you say through text is something you can stand by and even repeat in person. Using plenty of emoticons in one text message can make you look schizophrenic, because—let’s face it—the person you’re texting is most likely envisioning you with face.

Emoticons are meant to drive your point home, add a cute effect to what you’re saying, and show sure that your tone is getting across.

Before hitting the “send” button, go over your message at least once.

This prevents you from coming off as careless and even annoying. Punctuation may seem like tiny characters, but they can greatly change the meaning of your message.

As a general rule, keep your phone away from you when you’re drinking. As with actual person-to-person conversations, try to keep your thumbs away from your phone when you’re upset.

You might say something that will only make the situation worse, and even if you don’t mean any harm, there’s always that chance for your text messages to be misconstrued.

I'm super nervous about my first date with a beautiful woman I met online.