Calling your ex on the telephone is so … twentieth century.

Think about it – you yourself probably communicate with your friends much more via text message than by actually calling. Movie and television directors have known for decades that a great way to create tension in a scene is with an urgent, ringing phone.

man textingSo, if your goal is to drive your ex crazy, to disrupt his life and annoy him, go ahead and call. But if you want to actually communicate, have a conversation, and get him to respond, text messages are much, much better. Think about it – texts aren’t invasive or demanding (unless you send them in all caps with a thousand exclamation points – don’t do that!). They’re polite, relaxed communication.

Now, here’s the key – what to send?

First, remember the basic breakup rules. Most experts advise a quiet or “cooling off” period, and I heartily agree. It’s best not to communicate with your ex at all for a month. It gives you a chance to calm down, to go out and have some fun without your ex (proving to yourself that you can still have fun, have a life). And it gives you time to ponder the relationship that just ended. Do you still want to have a relationship with your ex? You can’t possibly decide that honestly five minutes or even five days after the breakup. Time will help you figure out the situation. So give yourself the gift of time.

And that cooling off period, that month of silence (though you won’t be silent, because if you take my advice, you’ll be out having lots of fun during that month) is probably the best single thing you can do to get your ex to reply to a text message when you finally do send one. [RELATED: How to Establish Communication With Your Ex ]

Think about it. He’s heard nothing from you for a month. He wonders what you’ve been doing. He hasn’t heard anything – nothing that could be considered nagging or clinging or miserable or anything at all. Then, suddenly, out of the blue, he gets a text from you. It’s been just long enough that he’s curious, and is much more likely to answer than if you’d sent him any kind of message at all in the first few days or weeks.

What should your first message be? A lot of people spend a lot of time agonizing over this. Don’t agonize. Trust me – if you’ve kept silent for a month, you’ve already maximized the chances he will reply.

If you still can’t figure out what to say, keep it simple and neutral. No begging, no clinging (relationship experts agree that clingy behavior is one of the top reasons boyfriends dump their girlfriends in the first place), no whining, none of that. The best way to start a conversation is to ask a non-threatening question, maybe about something your ex knows a lot about.

happy coupleAsking the name of a restaurant or other place you two went to on a date is another popular tactic. “What was the name of that restaurant we went to … I’m thinking of taking a friend there but can’t remember the name.” This message is likely to get a reply because it is not threatening – you’re not asking for him to come back or do anything at all – and you’ve dropped the hint of that “friend,” who just might be more than a friend. That will get him wondering.

Otherwise, try to think of something your ex is good at or knows a lot about. Does he go to the gym often? Tell him you’re looking for a new workout routine or class, and ask him to suggest some things. Guys love to give advice about that sort of thing. They love to be experts.

If he’s a finance guy, ask his advice about investing. Does he love cars? Tell him you’re thinking of buying a new one, and does he have any suggestions on how to go about it. Is he a cinema aficionado? Tell him you’re having a dinner party (don’t invite him, though) and ask for suggestions of a movie or two to show for entertainment.

Be creative. The trick is to appeal to his sense of being an expert and giving advice. Don’t say anything at all about your relationship with him, or about any new relationship or situation you are in. Don’t try to make him jealous, just let those hints – I’m having a party, going to dinner with a “friend” – do the work for you.

Click here to watch a fantastic free video by breakup expert Michael Fiore, where he explains how to use text messages to make your ex boyfriend fall back in love with you (and think getting back together was his idea in the first place!).