Four letter words! Both of them! They are four letter words! Yet, one of them can speak life and the other can speak the death of relationships, on any level.
Text: Our main avenue of communication. Wow! For some, this is the foundation of communicating!
She’s angry because she sent a text 2 minutes ago and he has not responded. He’s angry because he sent her a text and envisioned a specific response. She has yet to respond or didn’t respond as he envisioned.
She sent a text and used auto type or the dictation. Welp! She didn’t proofread it before she hit “send!” What he got, ain’t what she said! He’s mad!
They are BFF’s and they are having a disagreement. One sends the other a dissertation about why they are angry. Well between the auto type’s mis interpretation of what was actually typed in and the emotion of just texting and maybe not necessarily making sense or completing sentences, the BFF’s receives something that sends him/her into orbit! They are angry, hurt! How many times do we stop to think about how incredibly unreliable, unpredictable, and insensitive texting can be in a relationship where direct conversation needs to occur? Relationships on all levels have ended or gone south unnecessarily because of a text message mis read, or mis understood. In some instances, not received at all. Yes, we get angry because we sent a text, and he/she didn’t answer. The anger festers, so much so that the next time we see the person, we explode! That person is left perplexed because they have no clue as to the problem. You see, somewhere out there in the transition, the message just plain didn’t arrive on the person’s phone. Technology! At the mercy of sometimes, unreliable technology. The time period between a text message being sent and an actual conversation is vulnerable time. We carry around our misperceptions, we escalate our perceived scenarios. By the time we actually speak to the person, we are cemented in our false narrative and we are not budging. We don’t want to hear anything the other person has to say! We have already decided why they didn’t respond and that is that! Have we considered that something happened? An accident, a lost phone, the person was at work and their phone was off? Yes, I know there are times when someone just plain ignores their messages. That’s another conversation. What I suggest is the amount of times text communication is so misunderstood and misperceived that our relationships hang in the balance of this fragile form of communication. I have heard some say, “I don’t like to talk.” Those individuals are masters at texting entire conversations. We have to talk to each other ladies and gentlemen! Especially when it is subject matter of a sensitive nature, the fate of our relationships!
The most devastating thing that can occur in a relationship is someone severing a relationship over a text because they read previous text messages and came to conclusions based on text messages. No actual conversation occurred, which can often times clarify mis understandings and thus save a relationship. Human emotion is too important to leave to a text. Texting as a primary means of communication removes the social aspect as well as the ability to interact with another human being. Think about it. We can still pick up the phone. Yes, in the midst of a pandemic where social distancing has become the norm, we have lost our opportunity to interact in person. However, we can still talk on the phone, or meet via video. I am so distressed by what I see as the deterioration of relationships on all levels because we have replaced talking to each other with texting each other. Is there a tone in texting? Is there vocal inflection so you can get a sense of how the other person is feeling? Is there a facial expression that you can see, that helps you to discern how they are feeling? Emoji’s get mis interpreted too! We project a whole set of emotions on a text reply, a set of emotions that may not even exist on the other end! Am I making sense to anyone? I fear for the value and foundation of our relationships. I have experienced the disintegrations of relationships on a variety of levels, as the result of a text or series of text messages. Void of any actual conversation so I am speaking from experience, as well as observation. Our society has become so microwave, artificial, shallow, and obsessed with money and power. Our relationships are more important now than they ever have been.
How do we maintain or salvage our relationships?
1. Sent some boundaries for what you will text about and what you will actually talk about
2. When emotional, breathe, count to 10, then breathe and count to 10 again before you even consider picking up the phone to
text a highly charged emotional response that could devastate a relationship. Sometimes when we have given ourselves the opportunity to process, a cooler head will prevail. A small thing that could help to avoid regrets later.
Friendships, family, lovers, BFF’s, spouses, these relationships matter to us holistically. Let’s invest the time to properly nurture them. Let’s invest the time to give them the attention that they need. We have seen throughout a pandemic season that life is precious. Some of us have experienced the loss of loved ones on a variety of levels. Some of us wish we could have one more day with that person. One more day to love on them. One more day to talk to them. Talk! Not text them but talk. Pick up tthe phone, get on a video chat. Make it a priority, to enrich your relationships with those that mean the most to you. Life is not promised. Would you want the last words communicated, to be via text? Just a thought.