In this technology age, there are many ways to communicate with your partner. Each one offers benefits and pitfalls. Texts and email, in particular, offer similar benefits and pitfalls. Both can be used effectively for some communications, but they have their limits. I
t’s often too easy to text when you really should pick up the phone… easy, that is, until you find yourself in the middle of a communication breakdown. Keep these in mind when you’re deciding which method of communication you want to use.
1. Texts offer immediacy and clarity. They are great when you want to ask your partner to pick up a bottle of wine on the way home. They’re not so great if you’re angry and whip off a nasty text. You can’t hit a recall button, and people tend to be more blunt and brutal when they text versus when the person is right in front of them.
2. Texts are effective as a tool for foreplay. You can send a steamy text (or a few) to set the stage for when you get home. You can even send pictures with your texts, although I would recommend exercising some discretion here.
3. Texts are a poor choice for engaging in a meaningful conversation or having an argument. Your words will be there in black and white, but the nuances of communication will be lost. 93% of communication is nonverbal, so save the heavy stuff for face to face contact whenever possible.
4. Similar to texts, email offers a quick and easy way to communicate factual information. The biggest pitfall with email is that you can’t read context or tone. You might send an email to your partner saying, “You forgot to take out the trash, but I did it for you.” Your intention might be just to let them know, but without the non-verbal cues, s/he could assume you’re angry about it. That could cause them to become defensive and a fight to erupt when it doesn’t need to.
5. The biggest benefit to email is that it offers an opportunity to thoughtfully craft a letter about how you feel in ways you may not be articulate enough to express in person, in the moment. You can save the draft and return to it to ensure you’re saying exactly what you mean. If you choose to use email in this way, be prepared to follow it up with a live conversation.
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