Text Me, Maybe?

 

The text message. 

It’s hard to believe we’ve been communicating this way for close to ten years now. For myself, it’s difficult to remember what communication was like before having this luxury. Text messaging has crept into the lives of almost every generation. We even have the option of voice text messaging (which seems to combine the best of texting and a phone call into one).

But sometimes I wonder if text messaging hasn’t created a monster in me. I often cringe when I’m getting a phone call. Why? I can’t fully explain it. It’s not because I don’t like talking to people (because anyone who knows me well knows how much I love to talk). And it’s not because I don’t like hearing someone’s voice. Here are three reasons I’ve preferred texting over talking.

  1. Multi-tasking. When I communicate via text, I can work or finish whatever task or project is before me. Phone conversations pull me away from the task, directing my attention toward listening and responding to the other person.
  2. Emotional barriers. It’s easier to hide my emotions via text message. Whether angry, depressed, anxious, or frustrated, I can mask my emotions through a text message when I don’t want others to hear what I might really be thinking or feeling.
  3. Relational boundaries. Via text message, I can only invite someone so far into my reality. It’s easier to cut off a text message (or just not respond) than a real-life conversation.

So you may now be thinking But are these good reasons? Though there are positive parts of all three, these reasons can also be harmful. Here are three counter thoughts to consider.

  1. We need real-life human interaction and communication. People need us to listen. And we need people to listen to us. Sometimes a good, old-fashioned phone call is where it’s at. Even better – real-life, quality time together.
  2. There are times when others need to hear or see our emotions. When we mask our emotions, we allow feelings to fester, which can cause more harm along the way. It’s healthy to be real and honest with others.
  3. Everyone deserves honesty (and a response within reasonable amount of time). If we don’t want certain people to be a part of our real lives, then we shouldn’t tease or entertain them as such via text messaging.

As I wrestle through this myself, I challenge us all to be intentional with communication. Make healthy choices about what is “text appropriate” and what is “phone call worthy.” Ultimately, choose to communicate well – it will take you far.

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3 thoughts on “Text Me, Maybe?

  1. Adam,

    Great post.

    I’m naturally a phone person if I am comfortable with you. Most of everyone I talk to is via phone unless they want to send me a quick message and they text instead. I like the reasons you mentioned for wanting to text instead of talking via phone. Unfortunately, I have friends who know pretty quick if something is bothering me by the way I respond. I think it’s different with everyone though.

    One thing I will NOT do over text is argue or fight with someone. If I know the conversation deserves explanation in person or on phone, then I choose that route. I’ve been on both ends of this and everything can be misconstrued through text than it can via phone.

    I don’t get a lot of face time with people (thanks to being an introvert – not something I share often but I’ve noticed it more lately …) so I rely on texting/phone conversations more than face to face time.

    I think we often take face to face conversations for granted. I think we’d all be pretty lost if there wasn’t internet or texting available.

    If you had the option which to pick one over the other, which would you choose and why?

    Something to chew on.

    Again, great post!

    Like

  2. Its hard to imagine a time when we didn’t email or text, when we had to call someone or knock on their door for anything. Honestly, I miss those days.
    I’m a texter. Its easier for me to get thoughts across in words written than spoken; I can hone my thoughts clearer that way and push the ADD mind aside.
    But, I’ve noticed within myself the loss of one-on-one time because of this new technology. I’ve realized the older I get, how much lonelier I have gotten because our lives are constantly moving. We don’t stop, we don’t stand still, we email and text all the time, barely able to schedule meetings with friends just to catch up, to get that personal contact.
    We work in offices alone, attached to computers with texts and instant messages, and then go home to television shows that offer entertainment, yet no interaction. Many of us, myself especially, do not get the personal contact that we need to survive within this world, and draws us into our own world… often where the loneliness makes us terribly hard to be around and focus on the negative.

    I will continue to text, but hope that we don’t lose our ability to be real and in person, we need that as humans. Let the machines talk to themselves, let us talk to each other.

    Like

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