Is Anyone Else Over Texting?Laura Donovan

Maybe I’m just old. Or impatient. Or in need of a newer, more “thumb-friendly” iPhone. No matter the reason, I officially want to break up with texting. We’ve been together for 11 years, and what do you know, I felt the 7-year itch after graduating college in 2010 and having to work all day.

We can still be friends, of course, but it’s time to invest in another form of communication, as I outgrew this one long ago. At the end of 2012, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to text less, and though I succeeded in keeping my former cherished habit to a minimum in favor of more face-to-face interactions, no one else I knew shared my goal.

I was first introduced to texting in the early 2000s, when everyone in my family purchased cell phones (the giant ugly ones too!). We had old school Nokias, and our only form of texting was through the set messages that came with our devices: “On my way,” “Driving,” “Be right there,” etc. My dad and I embraced texting earlier than my mom. We loved that we didn’t have to make a call to get our message across. It enabled us to multitask and was extremely convenient.

Much has changed since 2003. We don’t simply have text messages anymore. We have SnapChat, Facebook Chat, Google Chat, Twitter and Twitter Direct Messages, all of which can go directly to our phones and may as well be considered texts. People can tell when we’re typing and have read their messages, so there’s more pressure to get back to someone right away. I guess I just miss the days of fewer options — and feeling like I can think about my response before sending it to the other person.

I’m realistic enough to know that texting is easier than calling everyone I care about to catch up, but texting is not a pleasant way to carry on a real conversation. When people ask “how are you?” over text, I don’t feel like I can really get into it on the phone. An email would be easier, and not via Facebook’s messaging system. That feels too much like texting, which is always rushed.

Texting is great for making plans. “Hey, you want to get brunch Sunday? Let’s meet at the Larchmont Bungalow at 11 a.m. See you then!” When it comes to deeper discussion, however, texting just isn’t doing it for me anymore. Paragraphs look longer on the phone, and I can’t actually read the message in full as I respond. It’s better to go over thoughts of this length on a call, in an email, or in person, even though all of these things require more work than a text message. When the conversation calls for it though, you need to give it the means it deserves.

It’s tough to glean a person’s tone via text message, and that’s why I always call someone if there’s something I’m upset about that we need to address. With age, I’ve learned it’s incredibly unfair to punch out angry emails or diatribe letters that don’t give the other party a chance to explain themselves. A phone call or in-person conversation can reveal how you’re really feeling about something, and a text could never do such emotions justice.

Perhaps one of my biggest issues with texting nowadays is how hard it’s become with the iPhone. It’s safe to say autocorrect can both ruin and enhance lives, but when you’re not producing the funniest texts ever out of the program intended to help users, you’re going back and erasing the message the phone wrote for you. I can always giggle about the fact that my phone wants me to swear less and type “shorty” instead of “shitty,” but I just want to write what I want to write.

Forget the worst offense of all — tapping on your phone behind the wheel — the benefits of texting don’t really outweigh the cons anymore. I’ll text when the alternatives aren’t as efficient, but my 2012 New Year’s resolution still stands: text as little as possible, because real conversation is invaluable.

Has your love affair with texting ended? Let me know in the comments.

Featured image via Shutterstock

 

Related posts:

“Oh Sorry, I Fell Asleep” and Other Familiar Excuses Via Text

Warning: Break-Ups and Smartphones Do Not Mix

Hey, iPhone Scammer, You’re Awful

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  1. I am so glad someone feels the same as I do about texting, I thought it was just me for so long. One of my main frustrations with texting is how you can’t tell exactly in what tone the message is being sent, a sarcastic and/or honest tone for example. Many times I wish, especially with people I have a hard time “hearing” through a text message, would just not be able to text at all. Texting has given me the excuse to not actual invest in meaningful conversation with many of the important and valuable people in my life. I will follow your lead in texting less end engaging in real invaluable conversation. Thank you for your post!

  2. I agree completely. I’ve seen people conduct full arguments through texting and, while it may guarantee that the other person has to read everything you had to say, I didn’t see it do anything positive or healthy for the relationship. I believe texting should be used in moderation. It can be a useful tool for making plans, or checking in, but if it’s a conversation or a deeper discussion, I think it needs to be done in person to avoid misinterpretation, especially since texting takes away the tone of the conversation. If it’s a conversation, HAVE the conversation, don’t text it.

  3. as someone who still lives in the stone age with her dumb phone, i TOTALLY agree. in college it was borderline necessary to text because you’re not going to be able to hear your phone ringing if you’re anywhere remotely loud. texting is a great alternative for coordinating across-campus activities, and as you say, that remains its most useful function. but i do really hate it when it becomes a replacement for a conversation. at best, you can carry on with a funny quip or two, but there’s no need to run the gamut of conversational convention. for those of us with LIMITED texting, literally any other form of communication is preferable. phone call, email, facebook, twitter, etc all come complimentary with my internet/phone bill! my cell phone exists so i can be contacted when i’m not at home, and if it’s urgent.

  4. Hi Laura,

    I couldn’t agree more. It was only the other day I was ranting and writing about the exact same thing, and will be the next installment on my own, personal blog.

    I think we, as a society, have become ‘too mobile’ – as humans and individuals we rely on our mobile phones far too much. I can’t be a complete scrooge – texting/social media is good for all the things you listed above, and helps people stay in contact with loved ones, who live further afield, on a much simple and easy accessible way. But what about when using your phone turns into complete ignorance?

    I have witnessed numerous times recently, either directly at me or observed from across the room, someone trying to have a normal, fave-to-face conversation and the other person is too busy with their nose in their smartphone to even listen, let alone engage in a conversation – god forbid if the conversation was something of importance.

    I couldn’t live without my mobile phone to a certain extent, but surely there’s a limit? We should take a small amount of time, maybe and hour or so, and put our phones down/away and talk to one another like the ‘olden days’ (which really aren’t that old, and shouldn’t be a thing of the past!) I’m all for a face-to-face or phone call rather than a text. How am I supposed to rant and rave over texting, I can talk much faster than what I can type!

    Great blog! :)