Men mixed messages dating

Others send late-night texts pretending to be drunk (complete with deliberate spelling errors for extra realism) to see how the receiver responds.

Their partner will usually respond asking what they meant.

But it is also categorically "game playing", something that many people actively seek to do while others would be horrified if they thought they were participating in such a performance.

As we blindly negotiate the rules of dating in the technological age, with Facebook, emailing and online profiles all still murky territory, it seems to be with text messaging that anything goes and some people are going to ever-crazier lengths to bag a partner (or even to keep their current one on their toes).

"All the various forms of communication have a stumbling block and because people always have their phones on them and check them all the time, you have to be careful about how you deal with texts; you don't want to look like you're waiting by the phone," says Hayley Quinn, a dating coach and writer, specialising in the arts of conversation, persuasion and seduction.

The phenomenon was first reported on by The Wall Street Journal, which coined the term "bluffting": a text with a little bluffing.

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Sherry Turkle, a psychologist in science, technology and society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the newspaper: "It's perfect for manipulation.

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