Recently, I was talking via text with a friend and they said that they were no longer happy with the person that they were in an open relationship with. They wanted advice about how to kindly state that they wanted to start dating other people. I responded and asked them to let me know how it went.
When I followed up with them, they stated that they had texted them that they wanted to date other people. I talked to them about how this was not an appropriate conversation to have via text message. Their response was that their generation likes to resolve things via texting. I wasn’t sure how to respond and didn’t want to lecture them about how this way of communicating. So I decided to write this article about texting. Check out 4ways that texting and emailing is not the best for your relationships and can create more disconnection:
1) Texting/emailing important conversations does not create connection or understanding in your relationships. It lacks humanity.
I frequently text/ email as a way of keeping in touch with my friends and loved ones. Texting is very convenient and is a good way to reach out and say hi. It is also good if you want to make plans that are not complicated. It can help to create connection in this way. But when addressing serious topics like being vulnerable, stating needs or boundaries it lacks an actual physical connection with another person. This calls for an in-person conversation or a phone call. When we are vulnerable in person, we build connections and safety in relationships. We witness each other’s humanity.
If you are a person who believes that it is appropriate for you to talk about serious stuff you may want to look at how you relate to others. Sometimes we are taught that it is not okay to state our needs or that it is wrong or selfish. It is totally okay to use your voice and state your needs. You are worthy of having everything that you want in your life. When you don’t own your experience by having an in-person conversation you are being avoidant.
“Communication is merely an exchange of information, but connection is an exchange of our humanity.” ~ Sean Stephenson, Get Off Your “But”
2) Texting creates the possibility for avoidance in our relationships
Avoidance in your relationships is fearing to be intimate with others. Many people have this fear of intimacy, it is a very common these days. Texting and emailing can help people who are already avoidant continue to interact in this way. Having a fear of intimacy is left over usually from not feeling seen and heard in your Family of Origin (FOO). When one continues this pattern into adulthood they do not know how to find appropriate ways to express oneself. Usually, they also have difficulty in being seen and have their needs met. By continuing interactions with others this way, the person continues to reinforce the beliefs that they do not deserve to be witnessed.
Avoidance of conflict can also come from a fear of hurting other people and having to be a witness of other peoples pain. Humanity is lost when we do not learn to witness other people’s pain. Showing up for others is key to having healthy friendships and all relationships. If it is difficult for a person to show up for other people’s pain, most likely it is also difficult for them to show up for their own. This is usually a result of someone in their FOO being dismissive of their own feelings so they repeat the same thing in adulthood with their friends and partners.
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” ~ Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
3) Texts get lost in Translation
When texting there is no intonation, cadence or emotion, frequently things in our messages get lost in translation. We lose the human element. We can’t hear what a person is feeling if they sound or look like they are uncomfortable or emoting in some way. Depending on how we read something we can be misunderstood. Also, our phones autocorrect much of the time which can also lead things to be misconstrued.
Emailing and texting lose the human element of communication.
“Words are the source of misunderstandings.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,
4) Communicating via text can be a double-edged sword.
I love texting and I am very grateful for it. It has helped me to reach out to get support because the person is busy or unavailable. Texting with someone can help when you are feeling isolated and it is not possible for either person to speak on the phone. It does not replace a conversation via phone or in person. It is important to still discuss important matters face to face or via voice so an actual connection and understanding occurs. This builds connection.
“So tell me about you. The real you. Not the you that you show to people online.” ~Jodie Andrefski
Texting is awesome because it can help us to connect with others easily. However, it can make us feel closer to someone than we actually are. When we text or email someone we are curating what they see. We get to pick and choose what we reveal. When you are actually interacting with another person you are letting them see you. Being seen is a part of building connections. This is how we build community, friendships, and relationships, by being vulnerable and showing our truth. In today’s world where there has been a rise in hatred and polarity in beliefs, it is so important to connect and feel supported. Allow people to see you and be honest and open. Having this willingness can help you to thrive in your life.
Are you struggling with making connections or being avoidant? Do you need help with this in your life? Are you ready to work on this? I am accepting new clients in my practice. Please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your thoughts on texting and connection? Please comment below. Have a beautiful week.