The topic of texting came up over dinner last week. There were five people at our table—two men and three women, ages 21 to 63.
All five of us agreed that texting has become part of our lives and is here to stay (even the ones like me who still can't respond very quickly). We agreed texting has some benefits:
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- Letting someone know you're running late.
- Gives you time to think about what you want to say before you say it.
- It lets "u tlk in shthnd."
But then our conversation shifted to the difficulties with texting—something I had been already hearing about from friends, families, and coaching clients.
In particular—how easy it is to misunderstand a text because our voices aren't there to convey the true meaning of the message. And then there's the possibility we type (or the auto-correct feature types for us) something we didn't mean.
The nuances in our voices show our moods. Are we happy, mad, sad, excited, impatient, tired, frustrated, loving, cautious, neutral, afraid, disappointed, concerned, etc.? How do you convey this range of emotions when you aren't using your voice?
We came up with a few suggestions such as using smiley face emoticons and acronyms like "LOL" to text emotions. We decided these were helpful, but didn't fully solve the problem.
Our discussion then moved on to another downside of texting, which is, a few texts can quickly turn into an entire conversation. And this presented a problem for the women at the table who said, "We find texting to be unsatisfying because we feel connected when we talk and texting doesn't feel like talking." At which point the men said this was one of the reasons they like texting—they don't have to talk.
We agreed that most women get annoyed if texting becomes the major method of communication. Both men at the table said they've experienced women getting frustrated when they text and, with this new information, they now understand why.
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What's my advice to women who would rather talk by phone to men? When men start a conversation with you via text, send a text back to them saying, "I miss hearing your voice. It would make me so happy if you'd call me."
Then when they call be sure to tell them, "Thanks for calling, it makes me so happy to hear your voice." This is a great incentive for both parties involved. The woman gets her needs met by a more personal form of contact and the man receives appreciation for making her happy. (And, by the way, this is an easy place for women to start setting boundaries in the area of asking for what they want and need.)