We live in the age of information and instant communication. As I am writing this article I am having a text message conversation with my mother who is in New Zealand. We can text each other and receive the messages across the world in less than a second. Technology is really amazing. It is so amazing that we have decided to pretty much let it take over our lives.
This text messaging business is so convenient it just might nearly be the very end of us.
Let’s face it. We will all admit that texting is sometimes what we want to do because we don’t want to get into a deep conversation with someone. Or maybe we don’t think we have time to deal with someone or something and so we can just shorten it all by texting. Maybe we don’t have free time at the moment and so texting is the polite but simple way to say we will talk about it later. But it’s the 21st century. We are busy. And often what we say we are going to talk about later never really gets discussed at all. And guess what. The number one cause of a broken relationship is poor communication or lack of it. How ironic! We texted! We actually thought we were doing a great job communicating!
Here are a few reasons why texting, though convenient, can lead to broken relationships:
1. With text messaging, there is no voice inflection and there are no nonverbal communication clues. Even something as simple as, “I’m sorry” – can either be meant sincerely or flippantly depending on the timing and the context. How often do we mistakenly emote something through texting that was not intended? How often do we take something someone has texted to us the wrong way because we did not understand the heart that was behind the words that were communicated?
2. Text messages happen so fast we haven’t had time to stop and think long enough to respond correctly. Someone texts us something we don’t understand or like (already discussed). It’s so easy to just respond from head to thumbs with a quick reply before we have had time to digest it. This escalates arguments, hurts feelings, and invokes unhealthy words and conversations. A quick reply text is the modern day proverbial sticking one’s foot in one’s mouth!
3. We often pause to wait for a reply text that never comes. You know what I am talking about. You text something that the other person may not want to hear, then….silence! The no reply text may be the loudest silence on earth. Are they mad at me? What are they thinking? Did they understand what I meant? They are not talking to me now! Now I’m mad too! (Assuming they are mad). We are so expectant upon others to quickly reply to us that we come up with 1000 reasons why the person didn’t text us back. And none of the reasons are ever good. Sometimes we find out later that they got interrupted by a call or their phone died or something else happened. And here we were thinking the world was ending and they hated us all just because we have let text messages make us completely impatient!
4. We use poor judgment when we decide to discuss anything that is truly important by texting. If it is worth talking about it, this is exactly what we should do. Instant messaging can be great and so helpful. We can tell our loved ones we made it somewhere safely. We can tell them where we are and what we are doing. But when it comes time to talk about anything that really matters to us, we need to respect the ones we love enough to come into their presence, put all devices away, and sit down one on one and talk it out together. No problem or question or controversy or anxiety should ever be attempted to be solved through text messaging. We owe it to the people we love to give them the proper amount of time and the consideration of our actual presence in order that we might participate in real, meaningful, and full relationships.
Texting is convenient. It can be a blessing in many ways. But abused, just like any tool of communication, it WILL lead to relationship disaster.
“…You will make me full of joy in Your presence.” – Acts 2:28
AUTHOR: Jeremiah Tatum