Did your text message test your patience? Ever need to save face on Facebook? Twitter have you all atwitter?
Messaging is both a blessing and a curse.
Personally, I love it. It’s lower pressure than talking. I can respond in my own time. I can craft the message my way, which includes proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. And most importantly, I can go back and read it when I can’t remember what was actually said.
It turns out that I’m not alone. According to statistics:
1) Texting is most used data system in world
2) Texting is the most used form of communication for American adults under 50
3) 33% Americans prefer text to call
4) Here’s one that really got me: The average American spends 23 hours PER WEEK texting
So, it’s not just me.
The great news is that we are more connected than at any other time in history. Oddly enough though, we feel more disconnected, dissatisfied, and isolated.
Is messaging to blame? Not entirely. It’s a far more complicated issue. But relying on messaging as a primary form of communication does contribute to the problem because messages are written. We rely solely on our words to relay our messages. As great as GIFs and emojis are, they don’t make up for important cues like facial expression, body language, and various qualities of voice like tone, volume, and inflection. Missed cues lead to miscommunication.
We’ve all had that happen. You send a message and the reply you receive doesn’t fit what you thought you said, especially if it was in jest. If it’s not recognized and fixed it will lead to drama, stress, and potentially eating gallons of ice cream.
Messaging is good for information, but if you want connection, you’ve got to talk, either by phone or in person.
Arrange the conversation device to device, but have the conversation ear to ear, or face to face. I like to think of the progression alphabetically: D-E-F, Device--Ear--Face.
Yes, messaging can be quicker and possibly more comfortable. Phone calls and talking in person can feel like more time and effort. Fortunately, it will be worth the trouble because you’ll have less drama, less time spent trying to fix the problems miscommunication causes, and less need to buy new clothes.
Here’s what to do: take a few of those 23 hours per week we spend messaging, and call or meet up. This is especially valuable for our core connections, the people who are closest and most important to us like family, friends, mentors, etc.
Try it for a week, then come back and tell us how much less time you spent muttering under your breath and how much less money you spent in the frozen food aisle.
Creating Systems for Courageous Kindness
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