Fighting with your lady over text isn’t just exhausting for your thumbs and your sanity. It’s bad for your relationship. Last year, a study published in the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy found that guys who texted their partner multiple times a day—usually about mundane things, like resolving arguments or making decisions—reported lower relationship quality. Researchers think texting causes you to miss the emotional reactions that you get when you have a conversation in person, even about boring stuff.
If you’re single, closing the deal with a girl you like isn’t as easy as sending a winky face. In fact, sending any sort of face is going to salt your game. The dating site Zoosk found that, statistically, guys who used a smiley face in their dating profiles got 6% fewer messages in their inbox. Guys who used one in a direct message got a full 66% fewer responses. The takeaway: Emoticons creep women out.
The Fix: When you find yourself rapid-firing your girlfriend multiple text messages in a row trying to solve a simple problem, just wait until you get home to talk about it—or at the very least, call her. That said, if you get the urge to tell her you love her—or that you “<3” her—definitely shoot her a text. The study found that sending a sweet text was more strongly correlated with relationship satisfaction than getting one. And those emoticons? Just don’t do it, dude.