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Text flirting

How the miracle of text messaging can be used to boost your love life.

When SMS (short message service) was first launched in 1992, to most people it sounded more like a crack special forces unit than a great way of contacting your mates. These days over 1bn texts are sent in Britain every month, while the peak SMS period of Friday and Saturday nights can only mean one thing: text flirting.

Send your message to the right person
This sounds, and is, really obvious but always double-check who you're texting, especially if it involves dairy products - it's no fun explaining to your Gran why you want to cover her in cream and lick it off.

This is crucial if you want to make the right impression. It might mean nothing to you but to others the time you send a text can be as important as the message itself. Send an SMS at 2am after you've been kicked out of a club and you're basically saying: 'I've had a few drinks and feel a bit frisky.' Send a text on a quiet Monday morning and it's more like: 'I am a sensitive loving soul who thinks you're wonderful all the time - not just after eighteen Bacardi Breezers!'

Keep it simple
Because texting is such an easy flirting medium, with no embarrassing face-to-face contact, it's easy to get carried away and start telling someone how much you 'worship' them. Don't - they'll only think you're a stalker. Instead, keep things short and amusing, with loads of compliments. That way you'll quickly find out how they feel about you and even if it's bad news you won't have made a total idiot out of yourself.

Delayed replying
There's nothing more attractive than someone who seems perpetually out of reach and distant, and by letting a sender stew for a couple of hours, or even days if you're hardcore, you can turn them into a nervous, passionate wreck. Conversely, if you reply straight away you run the risk of looking a wee bit desperate or, worse still, being labelled a 'Trigger Finger Minger'.

Stealth texting
If you're a bit shy try borrowing a friend's mobile. Acting as an intermediary you can drop subtle hints about how much your friend (i.e. you) likes someone and find out all about them. It's perfect for building yourself up too but beware: if things progress you'll have to explain where your six-pack, Ferrari, and yacht in Monaco have gone.

Avoid complex text talk
It's tempting to pack as much as you can into your 160 characters (the standard size for an SMS). Don't. While acronyms like IWTKYSBAL (I want to kiss your body all over) may seem fun to you, to others they can be naff and confusing. They are also about as romantic as a wet weekend on Dartmoor.

Closing the deal
By now your witty banter, charming compliments and fantastic strategy are working a treat - you need to make that call. If things are going really well you might have had the 'call me' text already. If not, don't send one yourself. Instead, start a text session and when it's your turn to reply call them. This way you'll know it's good time to talk (hopefully they've been replying to your SMS straight away) and best of all you've got the perfect intro: telling them how much you loved their text...

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