We’d all be lying if we said we had never engaged in a “texting fight.” I remember a couple of months ago I was arguing via texting with one of my sisters. Of course, I read the texts aloud to a friend sitting next to me and got her opinion on what I should say next. That’s the beauty of texting — it allows for you to write a well-thought-out response in an unlimited amount of time. My dad overheard our conversation and said, “This texting business is stupid. Why don’t you just pick up the phone and call her?”
He couldn’t have been more right. Maybe I just misunderstood or misread a text, and we had nothing to be fighting about in the first place. After all, texts don’t come with a little feature called “voice inflection” or “emotion.”
Since there is no way to convey our emotions over texts, we’ve resorted to using excessive punctuation or just adding unnecessary letters to words. You all know what I’m talking about. You know your friend is mad at you when he or she substitutes periods for exclamation points. A text that reads “Heyyy” seems more enthusiastic than simply “Hey.” And when you write “LOL,” are you actually laughing out loud?
We’ve somehow conjured up this system to express our emotions via texting, and quite frankly, I find it to be both confusing and extraneous.
We live in an age when no one actually has to say anything in order to communicate. Ask your parents how they got a hold of their friends or significant others in college. They actually had to call each other if they wanted to make plans. It was so much simpler. Instead, we’ve replaced the 30-second phone call our parents used to make with a 10-minute texting conversation, which is both uneconomical and tedious.
Texting is also so much more confusing because we often don’t know how the person we’re texting is feeling or what they may have meant by a particular text. Has your mom ever told you, “It’s not what you say… it’s how you say it”? Well, texting completely relies on the “what” part of that. How are you supposed to know “how” someone meant to say something if it’s only in a text? Obviously, voice inflection can completely change the meaning of a comment and can therefore, completely change the direction of a conversation.
The fact that short, easy phone calls are less common now shows that communication has become so impersonal. Sure, it’s easier to just shoot someone a text rather than call, and sometimes texting can make awkward situations less awkward. But I think texting often gives us an easy way out because we don’t actually have to talk to one another in order to communicate.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the convenience of texting as much as the next person does. But I think making a simple phone call could solve a lot of the confusion and problems that come with texting.