I hate one word text messages. They seem to be so impersonal and they don’t serve a real purpose unless it is to end a text conversation. In the world we live in, effective communication is a lost art. People are afraid to express their real concerns or questions because they don’t want to be seen as too needy or nosy. The truth is that often texting becomes a substitute for a real conversation. I remember seeing a meme somewhere stating that you can’t get to know someone by only saying “hey” and “wyd.” Of all the text messages I get, those two annoy me the most. It speaks to a depth of laziness that is unmatched. I feel so unmotivated to continue the conversation after that. It means that I am going to have to carry all of the intellectual weight of the conversation if I want it to be something substantial. Both of these text messages require me to text something that will continue the conversation and sometimes (actually most of the time), I don’t want that responsibility. I don’t want to answer a one word greeting with a trite question that ends in some cliche’ saying like “I’m fine,” or “I’m good.” It sets the tone for meaningless small talk that doesn’t serve any specific purpose. There’s this individual who has been randomly reaching out to me via text for the past 7 or 8 months. But never once has this person actually taken the time to actually call me. Which means that responding to endless text messages without an end in sight is an absolute waste of time. Whatever happened to purposeful communication with meaningful dialogue? It’s a lost art. There’s nothing like a good conversation about thoughts, dreams, and values. All that rich information is lost with the amount of “hey’s” and “wyd’s” that is thrown out there into the world. It’s really a shame.
I was talking to someone not too long ago about texting rules and the role that texting plays in relationships. Like many millennials, I tend to prefer texting over talking on the phone unless its for an interview of some sort. I know someone who has a rule that her significant other is never allowed to text her and must always call in order to speak to her. Probably not a bad rule. Texting is a great way to be misunderstood and become (unnecessarily) offended. It’s an easy way to communicate that doesn’t require much effort and to be honest, I think that it’s made a lot of people lazy communicators. You don’t even have to type anything anymore as you can have a whole conversation with emojis. Needless to say, I know I’m not the only one who gets annoyed when you don’t get a response within a reasonable amount of time (between 1 and 3 hours). I recognize that there are people who don’t live by their phone and don’t have time to answer immediately. I remember meeting a cute guy at an event. Gave him my number, blah, blah, blah. He texted me and I texted back within a reasonable time period (about 20 minutes). However, it soon became apparent that he had a lot going on as his subsequent replies took about 6 hours or more. Any attempts at an actual conversation were futile. I can be a fairly patient person but this was a little excessive and definitely wasn’t reasonable. We ended up going out and it was interesting to see how attached he was to his phone. Often stopping in mid-sentence to respond to text messages. I wasn’t too happy. In addition to the fact that he was 20 minutes late and (literally) lived right around the corner and I drove 40 minutes and was early. Not cool.
I should probably start this off by saying that this is satire. It is not true. I love satire and sarcasm and this article was a great subtle combination of both. That being said, texting and driving is dangerous and should not be done. There have been many times I’ve seen people almost drive off the road because they were buried in their phones or other devices and their attention was split. That being said, if you have absolutely no multi-tasking ability putting your phone away while you drive is a good idea. If you happen to have that ability, stop lights and stop signs are probably the better option for texting instead of doing it while speeding at 75 mph down the highway. Less chance for error. Just saying.
I feel like I need to make a disclaimer that I am writing this on 0 hours of sleep so my attempts to proofread before posting will likely be futile due to exhaustion and the magnetic force of sleep. First off, this article pretty much exactly captures my beliefs on texting. As a child of the technology age, I will be the first to admit that texting is definitely a time saver. Who wants to spend ten minutes in a conversation when you can convey your thoughts in ten seconds? I remember getting charged money (probably five cents or so) in order to send and receive text messages. It really made me consider and think twice about who I was texting. My whole point is that somewhere along the way we’ve lost the human connection. Texting someone who you know well is different than texting someone you just met due to the fact that there is already an established relationship between you and your friend. You are aware of the nuances that come along with how he or she phrases their sentences. It’s so much easier to read between the lines because you know what they are trying to say and what they actually mean. I recently had the most unpleasant experience of having an extremely awkward conversation via phone. I was talking to this individual who shall remain nameless, and I felt at a loss. I remember thinking to myself that this individual must be an avid texter because they just could not talk. And by saying this, I mean that they did not have the art of holding a conversation–at least over the phone. Being a therapist, I’m pretty good at asking questions that invite people to open up and to tell me what is really going on in their lives. However, asking questions to this person was akin to pulling teeth. Slowly. Without anesthesia. Most annoying thing ever. I would ask a question and the answer would be non relevant to the question. The information that I was able to gather was confirmation that this individual’s number would soon be collecting dust in my phone so I simply acted on the inevitable and deleted the number after that first conversation. Plus, this person did not know me well so I was not as concerned about building rapport. I just wanted a decent conversation but it was not to be. While I am definitely more of a fan of texting than calling, there comes a time where you just need to pick up the phone and call someone. There are few feelings as great as having a great face to face or phone conversation. You just don’t get that through text messaging. So take some time to give some people an actual call. Build your communication skill-set. Just remember that you miss a lot when you text so take some time and give some old friends a call instead of texting them.