Well all do it. Again and again, until we’re spent. I even do it with my clients.
Texting. It’s the one truly unique technology that we deal with now. Emails, video calls, on line chatting – none of them carry the unique properties of phone texting.
Why texting is horrible for relationships
Texting carries with it an assumed urgency and presence. When you send and receive a text, you assume the person on the other end is ‘there, right now.’ They may not be. They may have sent you a text at a stoplight, or just before putting their phone away, or may have just gotten into a conversation with people who are physically with them. There are many reasons why they may not be available. The problem is, you don’t know that.
You will assume you are “in a conversation.”
When you are in an email conversation, you don’t really have an expectation of when the person is responding – beyond the obvious. It’s an email, after all. When you are in a telephone conversation, you know they are there with you, you can hear them, and you can even hear their environment.
Texting combines the worst of dynamic communications like face-to-face talking/phone calls, with the static communications of emails and post it notes and carrier pigeons.
You can be in a back and forth with texting, and even a delay of a few minutes can cause a party to believe the other person is thinking, upset, unimportant or composing some horrible response. The iPhone soothes that a tiny bit with the icon that pops up showing the other person is typing, but that still has limited effect.
Add to that the fact that the keyboard on a phone (virtual or physical) will naturally limit your responses, thus making it even easier to be misinterpreted.
Don’t forget autocorrect – making even the most sensible of responses sound insane, or sexual.
What’s the solution? Limit the use of texting with those you are getting to know, or business transactions that can be followed up with a phone call.
If at all possible, call. If it looks like there’s a chance for misinterpretation or you are on delicate grounds – call. In fact, just call.
Don’t forget the immortal words of Oscar Madison: