Keeping yourself out of a text wreck
About a month ago, I wrote a blog about improving communication in relationships. There are some pretty useful tips you can check out, especially if you don’t want your relationship to be like a Taylor Swift song. After writing that blog, I felt like a huge piece was missing because I know how much people use social media and their phone to communicate with one another. Communicating in a text is pretty different from talking face to face. I know I’ve seen some train wrecks happen in relationships because of mishaps that happened in text arguments and I’m hoping we can come up with some ideas to help prevent that from happening to you.
First off, I’m not saying talking to a partner or a friend via text is bad. It’s just a different way of talking. You may want to pick and choose if you should have a conversation face to face or in a text. There are pros and cons to every decision we can make. If you read through this list and want to add something, do it in a comment or email at AskShawna@yahoo.com
Face to Face Conversation:
- Can judge a person’s reaction’
- Can read their body language
- Some people feel they can be more expressive
- Can hear a person’s tone of voice
- Some people feel too much pressure and avoid conversations or shut down
- May be difficult to find a perfect place and time to talk
- Other people can know your business if they see or hear you
- Might forget what someone said
- Can talk whenever
- Some people feel less pressure when not face to face
- Some people feel more connected getting pictures and texts even when they are far apart
- Difficult to read someone’s reactions
- Subtleties (jokes, sarcasm, surprise, concern) are often misunderstood
- May be limited in what you can say
- Other person can “walk away” and not respond
- Batteries can die in the middle of a discussion
- Your setting might not match the conversations (i.e. hanging our with friends or family)
So like I said earlier, you might want to pick and choose which conversations are going to be best face to face or in person. But let’s say you want to talk something out, right here, right now, and you’re going to bring it up in a text, here are some tips that might make things go more smoothly.
Read the tips from the earlier blog (click here).
A lot of them apply to texts too. You can arrange for a better time to talk things out in a text. It can be as simple as, “I have to talk about something important with you. Is now a good time or when should I text you?” or “I really need to talk to you about something important, can you get to someplace quiet so we can text now?” or “I need to talk about X,Y, and Z. Can we text or is it easier to talk face to face
Be as expressive as you can.
Remember that an estimated 70% of what we say comes from things other than our words. Since you can’t express yourself through your tone of voice or body language try to really let the other person know what you are thinking and feeling. Encourage the person you are talking with to do the same.
Write your thoughts thoroughly. Use emoticons. Say when you’re serious or when you’re joking.
Read their texting language.
Are there long pauses before a response? Are there a lot of typos or missing words? So, ask them to text you when they have time. If they stop texting completely, follow up later to see what happened. Their phone might have died, they might have lost service, or had their phone borrowed or taken.
Take a moment to breathe.
Remember that once you say it, you can’t take a text back. It’s easy to get sucked up into a texting tornado where you text before you think.
Ask yourself if you will regret saying it in 5 minutes, in 5 hours, in 5 days, or in 5 years. Read your text back to yourself before you send it. Is it clear? How would it feel to tell a friend you said that?
If the other person texts you something unbelievable, take a moment to breathe. Could this have a different meaning? Could there be other reasons why they seem to be acting a certain way? Ask them questions to clear things up.
All right, I’m tapped out for now. If any of you all have ideas or things that you do to make a texting conversation better, let us know at New Gen!
Volunteer Health Educator
Reviewed by Shawna : )