“You know what I like about you? You text how you talk.”
In high school, my best friend said this to me. At the time, I appreciated the praise and didn’t think much of how meaningful that compliment would become.
Texting is an unquestionable staple of Gen Z culture. It’s available to all in one form or another and allows us to socialize instantly. It’s incredibly convenient but this convenience comes at a cost. Giving and receiving endless texts can desensitize us to authenticity. As people continue to be oversaturated with incessant messages, it creates this puzzling idea of what a meaningful conversation is.
TEXTING AND RELATIONSHIPS
Texting can have a significant effect on relationships with family, friends, coworkers and romantic partners. We often feel like we’re in a place to judge people on their texting habits, like timeliness or adequacy, as if those habits are reliable extensions of their identities. This is why it should come as no surprise that texting is not the most authentic form of communication. With strategic use of exclamation marks, emojis and cheerful buzzwords, it’s easy to sound friendly, even when you don’t truly feel that way towards the text recipient.
Several times in college so far, I have noticed a disparity in how people presented themselves through texts versus how they presented in real life. One example was my first set of roommates. Months before move-in day, I introduced myself to each of them individually over emails and texts. Their replies were friendly and I looked forward to meeting them. When that finally happened, none of them were interested in being social. I don’t believe they had been deliberately trying to mislead me, but there is something to be said about how their text personalities contrasted so much with their real ones. There was a certain performance in the way they interacted with me before we began sharing a dorm. It became a miserable, isolating living situation from which I had to remove myself. This is, however, a more extreme example. After all, texting discrepancies do not always happen this way nor are they always this consequential. Nevertheless, they can happen.
what can we do?
Because it is so ingrained in our way of life, there isn’t really anything major that can be done. This article isn’t so much to criticize texting as something that should be eradicated. Instead, it means to suggest that it is a practice in which we should be more mindful as we continue to use it. There needs to be a better relationship between intention and result.
Texting provides a barrier between two people where the complexities of face-to-face communication are removed. This can often be problematic, allowing words to be misinterpreted and confusion to abound. You hear it everywhere: good communication is important. It’s a skill that is rarely taught in a direct way, and there needs to be a greater emphasis placed on its development. It’s true that interpersonal communication will always be flawed in one way or another. However, if we make more efforts to have real dialogues, we set the stage for a more attentive world, and we can learn to understand each other better.
Julia lolllzz :)