We’ve all received them. The vague, confusing text messages. Maybe we’ve even been guilty of writing them 😳.
There are some major problems with text messages, especially as a dominant form of communication.
There are the types of text messages where someone reams you. You engage with them, only to find yourself in a text fight, reading words that are threatening or berating. This type of communication is dysfunctional, and usually exemplifies the nature of a relationship.
Texting is terrible if you need to say something important. It’s always so much better to communicate verbally when having relationship talks or addressing a sensitive topic. I was involved in this type of communication by accident. I kept asking the other person if we could chat on the phone and he wouldn’t. I called a few times in the middle of the text barrage, only for the calls to go straight to voicemail. He said he needed to speak (write) in an uninterrupted fashion. It felt super manipulative, annoying, and childish to receive this manifesto and not be able to participate. I notice in my own texts my writing is efficient and brief. I often gloss over feelings or important details that I would linger on if I were to speak.
Looking at the real text message above, between Monica and Danny, you see very vague language. Danny is trying to communicate that he’s busy, but does so very perfunctorily. He doesn’t greet her or seem excited to see her tomorrow. Monica, it seems, is trying to be communicative, and sounds disappointed when he shoots her down with “busy now.” It doesn’t seem like Danny is into her, and he jumps to conclusions that she doesn’t want to get together after she says she’d like to confirm the plans. There’s a miscommunication in their messaging, and the energy and excitement between them feels low. The end of the text with devil’s dots leaves Danny wondering.
He told me how he felt writing this. He was finishing playing basketball with friends, but didn’t want to leave her hanging any further. He was interested in getting together again, but her message about other plans felt like he was second best. The “seems like it” comment was a little jab, but again, he said he didn’t want to take too much time away from his friends after the basketball game. He was pretty disappointed with the long pause and said they eventually got back in touch (about six hours later). For the record, they spoke on the phone and repaired the miscommunication. He was apologetic and revealed that he should not have answered the text right after the basketball game. He could have waited 20 minutes when we was home to make a plan. It would have gone more smoothly.
Another way texting turns terrible is when there is an abundance of short answers like 👍”OK,” “K,” “cool,” or “yeah.” I happen to love emojis, but know they can minimize emotions and tell a partial story. Yet, they can also be perfect for jokes and innuendos. Clearly, there’s a good time for them, and humor is often when they’re best.
Finally, my advice is to use text messages for funny things and don’t bombard them by sending way too many at once. Learn text etiquette: if your messages are three paragraphs and theirs are one line, cut back and become more efficient in your wording. If texting is important to you and someone else doesn’t like it, find a way to compromise by alerting them that you’d like to be in contact but realize it’s not their favorite mode of communication. Be as clear and kind as possible when texting.
Yesterday I wrote about my friend Corey Reed and his blindness. I was Shortsighted in the way I initially saw him.
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