On my seventh birthday, I was blessed with a Casio Secret Sender 6000. For those of you born after 1990, the Casio Secret Sender 6000 was an electronic diary, phonebook, fortune teller, funny face generator, tv/vcr remote control and secret message sender. AKA, the coolest thing ever. This snazzy device gave us kids growing up in pre-internet times the power to transmit messages up to 28 characters (that’s 112 less than a Tweet!) to a friend sitting within a 25-foot radius (the length of a classroom) via a “magic beam”. Finally, I could chat with my best friend during class without getting an “Often disturbs class by talking,” comment on my report card. It was a whole new world, we could communicate in words sent through the air. It was basically telepathy. It was a fascinating technological feat and I loved my Casio Secret Sender more than anything.
If someone had told seven-year-old me that one day she would have the ability to send text messages of any length to friends across the country, her tiny Power Ranger-loving brain would have exploded. Text messaging is amazing and convenient and I’m so happy to have it in my life. However, like Netflix and Twitter, even things that I love dearly have the ability to make me nervous. Thus, here are ten reasons why texting makes me nervous.
1. Understanding Tone Via Text
It’s so hard to convey tone through text. It’s easier when you know someone and can intuit the meaning based on what you know of their personality and speech patterns. However, if I don’t know a person well and he or she sends a short text without punctuation, I will spend hours analyzing it. A simple, “fine” can be read as either: “Great, that’s fine!” or “Fine, whatever, I hate you.” Sometimes it’s so hard to tell and too awkward to ask.
2. Overcompensating My Tone
As someone who struggles to understand the tone of others via text, I am very self-conscious when writing my own texts. I don’t want to be perceived as rude or disinterested, so I usually end up overcompensating by abusing exclamation points, emoticons and emojis. It’s absurd. If I actually spoke the way I text, I would sound like an over-caffeinated cheerleader always exclaiming things and laughing out loud!!! hahaha lmao ; )
Autocorrect is both my best friend and my worst enemy. It makes it easier to send texts on the fly, but I always run the risk of a major Autocorrect fail if I don’t proof before hitting Send. Teaching Autocorrect all my slang and abbrevs is like owning a Furby all over again, except in this case I can’t quit after a week and give Autocorrect to the dog as a chew toy.
4. Group Texts
Again, like Autocorrect, there are pros and cons to group texting. On the pro side, I can easily get a message out to all my friends at once, making it easier to plan group activities and spread time-sensitive info (gossip). On the con side, sometimes I’m included on group threads I don’t need to be a part of and I spend the entire night clearing texts from my phone that don’t pertain to me, which can make me hate all of my friends and want to smash my phone. There’s also the issue of accidentally texting a group thread when I mean to text an individual person and creating some drama. One time my mother sent me a text saying, “Is she texting you too? She is making me crazy.” referring to my sister who was both on the text chain and sitting three feet from her. Mom learned a very important lesson about group texts that day.
5. Decoding the Crazy
The texts I receive from some of my friends read like partially solved Wheel of Fortune puzzles, hardly any vowels and rarely a complete word. On the other hand, my mother can’t see her screen properly, so her texts are typically just jumbled letters and autocorrect fails. It’s hard to have a conversation with someone when you’re asking, “What?” after each text, so I usually spend a significant amount of time trying to decode their madness. Sometimes it’s fun, like Da Vinci Code, but sometimes it’s frustrating, like Angels & Demons.
6. For Your Eyes Only!
I sent my friend a really ridiculous text one night. The next day she told me that when she received the text, her boyfriend was the one to open it and read it. Um… no! The text in question was relatively harmless, but what if it wasn’t? What if it was something deeply personal meant for my friend and her boyfriend just went ahead and read it? There are friendship codes that need to be respected! I hate knowing that other people might be reading my conversations. It’s such a major violation.
7. Drunk Texting and Sleep Texting
Whenever a text is sent without all cylinders firing, bad things are bound to happen. If you’re texting someone while intoxicated, you’re not using the part of your brain that processes consequences. Yeah, there’s that whole, “the truth comes out when you’re drunk” theory, but so do insecurities, fear and stupidity. As for sleep texting, I can’t even count how many times I’ve read and/or responded to texts while half asleep and completely forgotten about it by morning. I’m always nervous that I’m going to send or receive texts in an altered state and create unnecessary drama.
8. Texting While Walking
I’m an idiot and often attempt to text while walking. Never while near streets or parking lots where I could be struck by a vehicle, but like walking to the bathroom at work or strolling through Target. I know I shouldn’t text while walking, but sometimes it’s just so convenient to communicate on the move. While I’m pretty skilled at multitasking, I still fear things like walking into someone, tripping on something and walking past Ryan Gosling and not realizing it. The easy fix here is: don’t text while walking. If only I were that wise.
9. Texting While Driving
Not to get all PSA here, but just don’t. You’re going to kill someone and I’m really fearful it will be me or someone I care about. For realsies, it’s just not worth it. Put the phone away, roll down your windows and sing some Taylor Swift.
10. If You Don’t Text Me Back Immediately, I Will Assume You’re Dead or Hate Me
I know you well enough to know that your phone is constantly glued to your hand. If I send you a text, you probably read it right away. Therefore, if you don’t respond immediately, I am left with two conclusions: you’re dead or you hate me. You either died before receiving my text or you read my text and then died before having a chance to respond. Or, you just hate me. I’ve done something to offend you and you never want to see or hear from me again. I replay every recent conversation we’ve had and try to figure out what exactly I could have done to offend you. I check the news for word of car accidents and natural disasters. Just as I’m going through every awful possibility of why you didn’t text me back, you respond saying your phone was dead and you’d love to hang out. Ahhhh, dead phone, of course, why didn’t I think of that?