Texting has become one of the primary methods of communication and relationships. Time constraints, distance, and being able to read and answer at your leisure (more on this later) contributed to the rise in what can be a help in communicating various information to loved ones. However, communication itself is a more complex experience than words on the page, computer, or phone. Complete healthy communication requires that the message sent = the message received.
Please take careful note that I did not say “the words received”, but rather the MESSAGE received! Message transcends words alone. Think about it: voice tone, the way a person looks and acts when speaking, and even body posture helps communicate a message along with the words.
Here is a scenario: You are a female at a party and a man comes up to you and says, “That’s a nice dress you’re wearing.”
First example: you notice that he is looking at you, but not staring, has a nice smile, and says the statement in a matter of fact manner. You may respond “thanks.”
Second example: You notice the gentleman glances at you and what you’re wearing, rolls his eyes as he speaks in a sarcastic tone. You may respond by saying, “That was rude,” or disengage the conversation completely.
The last example: You notice he keeps staring at you, walks up and stands too close for your comfort, and while making the statement, gives you a wink. Your response may be…well possibly pepper spray and a restraining order.
But you see the difference. Statement is the same, intent much different.
Though these examples are set in a humorous manner, the destruction that miscommunication can do to a relationship is all too real. Texting or email only gives one dimension of your messaging. Words. You are missing all the vital information of context and manner in which the messages sent.
Even the statement I said above about answering at your own leisure. The person waiting may interpret it as avoidance while all you were doing was counting your change to see if you can supersize your drive-through meal. You are missing the intent. And when the intent is misinterpreted, this can escalate to a non-winnable battle.
So what to do? Texting is great if boundaries are set. Telling somebody you love them, encouraging them, giving important information like time schedules, or a grocery list are great.
It’s when a subject becomes vital or emotionally charged that you should want intent to be clear and not clouded. The message you send and the message you receive needs to be agreed upon as accurate. You need all your senses to adequately do this.
So set a boundary of what should be discussed in person rather than in print. You may do this by, at any time, texting the other person stating,
“Let’s discuss this in person as our relationship is too important to have any miscommunication through texting.” If you agree upon this beforehand, it will add to the protection of your relationships.
And yes, I do see the irony that I am blogging about the danger of texting, which is just another written form of communication. But Skyping everyone seemed out of the question. (Joke). God bless and keep you. Dan