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.
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