Sunday, April 10, 2011

R U 4 RLZ?

Jacquie Here.

Welcome to the 21st Century, my friends, where texting has literally taken over our generation.

Seriously, though.

Think about it.. How many text messages have you sent and received in the last 24 hours? Now look at how many incoming and outgoing phone calls you've had in the last 24 hours. What about the number of people you've actually spoken to face-to-face in the last 24 hours?

Pretty sad, right?

In high school, I wrote an essay about the epidemic that texting has become. I wrote that while the constant advances in technology can be great tools for us in all aspects of life, these "tools" are rather becoming "substitutes", especially in the lives of the forthcoming generation. Young people, especially, are using text messaging, instant messaging, and other social networks as a substitute to face-to-face interaction. Lila Burgos, a writer for the Arizona Daily Wildcat said that "text messaging is a way of avoiding some of the most intimate moments people get to share with each other - and that's a bad thing". It's so true - how many times have you said something over text that you would never say to someone's face? "Hiding behind a text message to confront someone or express something uncomfortable is taking the convenient, and sometimes cowardly, way out." (Source)

Now, I know that I am no exception to this. Not even a little bit. I have often found myself using text messaging as a crutch. It's just lazy, really. But I can honestly say that I have no problem with face-to-face interaction. In fact, I much prefer that over texting. It's just that texting is so much more convenient right? But that's no excuse. Pick up the phone and call them, people. You can get through a conversation much more quickly that way, and intentions are more likely to be interpreted correctly. I don't even want to talk about the number of times that someone has misinterpreted the way I intended something to sound in a text message. Then I have to call them and explain. Ugh. Just because I don't put a million exclamation points and smileys doesn't mean that I am speaking to you grumpily! I'm talking like a normal person, got it?

Here's a funny quote to chew on for a second before we get to the next portion of my rant (Now I know this is more about Facebook than texting, but it's along the same lines):

"If you want to get in touch with your friend, what do you do? You run to Facebook and leave them a message. You don't call them... why would you do that? That's 90s stuff!"
- 'Frank'

Alright, so let's talk about how people use and abuse texting in the dating realm, shall we? (Yay! Dating! Right? Haha.) Can I just say how irritating it is when a guy asks me out via text? SO very irritating. Also such a huge turn off. No thanks. Am I really not worth your time to dial my number (I know, 7 numbers is SO many!) and use your words? I'm cool with a text message a couple days later to confirm plans and whatnot, but if you're asking me out on a date, you sure as heck better get on that phone and call me. Better yet, ask me in person! Also, if you're going to change plans or break a date, a text message will not give you good chances in the future. Just sayin'. And like I said, I am guilty of the aforementioned sins of making/breaking plans via text. Still doesn't mean it's right. I'm human too. And I can be lame sometimes. But I feel that in general, I utilize my people skills to cultivate friendships in person. If more than 10% of your interaction with someone else is virtual, I would have to feel sorry for that relationship!

Now I'm not by any means "anti-text". I like to check-up and be checked-up on by friends every once in a while with a, "Hey, just thinking of you! Hope you're having a good day!" But don't try and get to know me over text or instant messaging; just don't do it. Cause you won't get very far - I don't enjoy playing your games. "So what do you like to do for fun?" is a lame question, but it's much cooler if it's asked face-to-face, right? Something else that is horribly wrong about how often texting is used and abused these days is that people will spend all day texting back and forth, and by the time they are face-to-face, they have nothing to say to each other. Don't get me wrong, texting is a wonderful way to let 10 people at once know that your nephew was finally born, or you passed that test you were worried about. But "Hey, would you like to get dinner with me tomorrow night?" is unacceptable unless you're one of my girlfriends. If it's an official "date" where you pay and all that stuff, you need to do it right. I don't want to go as far as to say that chivalry is dead, because that wouldn't be fair to the handful of guys who still practice it, but it is quite unfortunate that courting has become so virtual these days; saddening, in fact. So word to the wise: texting = Turn off. Calling me = Points. Talking to me in person = Solid.

Also, can we talk about the "post-date-5-minutes-after-dropping-me-off" text?
Exhibit A: "Hey, thanks again for a great night. I had fun!"
Exhibit B: "I forgot to mention how beautiful you looked tonight. I really like you!"

Now, while they are both flattering, Exhibit A is much more preferable. Exhibit B is just weak and cowardly. Really? You couldn't say that to my face before you dropped me off? Next, please.

I am going to compile a brief list of what I think is okay, and what I think is not okay as it concerns texting:
OKAY to do over text:
- Confirming plans that were made earlier
- A long-time friend just checking up on me
- Someone letting me know they're thinking of me
- Jokes and witty comments
- Quick questions that do not necessarily require a phone call
- If you are in a meeting or class but need to tell me something
- Filling me in on recent, but not super significant, events
- A FEW flirtatious comments - but don't go overboard

NOT OKAY to do over text:
- Making plans, like a date
- Giving me lots of compliments
- Letting me know you're waiting outside
- Telling me your feelings
- Serious questions
- Concerns you have
- Touchy subjects
- Trying to get to know me
- Long, drawn-out conversations - Not my style.

(Of course, there are many more things that can be added to both lists, but these are just to say a few)

So how 'bout that last one? Long, drawn-out conversations over text... I strongly dislike those. Only on very rare, and usually very bored, occasions will I participate in a long, drawn-out conversation via text. And sadly, my dislike for full-on conversations through texting has driven away a couple of my friends. I kid you not! I had a friend who ALWAYS wanted to text me all day long about nothing. And when I wouldn't respond, or when I would tell him that we can just talk about it next time we see each other, he would get really upset. Eventually, that friendship dwindled, and we hardly ever speak anymore. Why? Because he wanted to rely solely on constant text messaging as a means of communication in our friendship, while I would much rather wait until we saw each other again to catch up. Whatever, his loss.

To conclude this wordy post, let me please reason with you all to make more of an effort to interact with others on a more personal level. Next time you pick up your phone to send a text message, stop and think for a second whether or not what you are about to say could better be said if you just called them. Not easier, but better. And I'm going to take a wild guess and just say that 9 out of 10 times you do that, you will find that maybe it would just be better to call them! I'm sure they'd appreciate it too. I know that when I get even just a brief phone call from someone, that would normally be a just a text message these days, I feel happy that they made that effort. We need to do better, as a generation, to rebuild our social skills and learn to comfortably communicate face-to-face again.


"...If you are one of those blessed with the gift of hearing and speaking, use it accordingly. Even if it is a two-minute phone call, you acknowledged the fact that whoever it is means enough for you to take a chance." (Source)

What are YOU going to do to break the texting barrier in your life?

What are your thoughts on this?

Can you give some examples of a relationship you have had with someone else that relied way too much on text messaging?

Share with us!