I had recently taken on a challenge to stop texting in an attempt to build genuine relationships with people I didn’t know – I promise you, it’s as difficult as dragging a bull across the desert.
I hadn’t taken into account the fact that just because I wanted rid myself of sending text to other people, people may not want to do the same. The change was egged on by multiple conversations I had been having with friends about how things should go when you first get to know someone. Is it okay to text? A couple of friends had mentioned they had gotten to know people better via text message. Now, I’m not denying they were able to break “first talk jitters” by breaking the ice with a couple of text messages – But COME ON, did they really get to know that person over a couple of quick sentences and emojis? I’m going to guess not.
Here’s my deal with texting:
1. You’re Distracted
Texting, unlike speaking to someone on the phone, requires little to no attention. And on occasion, should you get “caught up” doing something else, you end up paying more attention to what’s in front of you than the screen person you’ve been communicating with (off and on) for the last three hours. There’s nothing remotely sexy about the first time, I had a conversation with you via text message, while I’m on the toilet.
2. You Start Of Texting, You End Texting
This isn’t always true but I’m constantly hearing about how people have been breaking up with their significant other via text, G-chat, FB Messenger (I’m sadly guilty of this one) and while I have some sympathy for the parties involved, I’m convinced that throughout the relationship, texting (G-chatting, whatever) was probably deemed an acceptable form of communication – for everything. Something great happened? Text it. Something horrible happened? Text it. Having a problem with your significant other? Text it. We’ve have become so accustomed to texting one another that we shouldn’t be surprised when someone calls things off via text when the entire relationship can probably be found in the inbox history.
3. You Don’t Know Who’s Real or a Robot
You know how you have to type in those ridiculous codes after your password to “prove you’re human?” Having a conversation on the phone is sort of like that. I’m extroverted by nature and I get it – not everyone is outgoing. But, everyone should come with a decent set of communication skills. No one is exempt from this no matter how quiet or lively. Because (as stated early) when s*it hits the fan, you need to be able to verbalize what the problem is. You don’t have to talk about it right away but real people who want to forge real relationships understand the importance of this – with friends, family, lovers, anyone.
4. It Leaves A Trail
Now, I’m not saying that when I text someone there’s a ton of information left behind that could be potentially deemed as incriminating but I’m not saying it hasn’t happened. And when you go to end things, if you’re anything like me and want to get rid of any trace of that person left on your phone, there’s still the looming thought of all your text and pictures (PG pics – although I’m positive that’s not the case for everyone) still on that persons phone. All of which could have easily be avoided if you simply picked up the phone or either of you made the attempt to see one another.
My good guy friend always says “When you go over someone’s house, don’t leave anything behind. You never know when you may have to call things off.” I’ve found this to be true in context and symbolically.
I’m not saying don’t ever text again, I’m just saying learn what is and isn’t text appropriate. I was once really upset with guy after a friend had shown me some unflattering pictures of him after a night out. I, being a woman, decided that it was okay to send those pictures to him and explain in detail how I thought he was a coward for not calling things off if he “wanted to have a good time with other women” and how I wanted to end things.
It doesn’t matter how in the right you are about your feelings or how much that person is in the wrong, when those messages get sent and received, it’s only an invitation for a screen shot and for him and his friends to call you crazy. People only have ammunition if you give them the bullets.
Good communication and communication ethics is not a lost art form. We simply need to scale back on the things that inhibit us from practicing them . I’ll let you know how my efforts go….