Relationship Tip #9: Text Only What You’d Talk

If you ask me, text messaging is out of hand.  What was intended to be a quick and easy way to confirm meeting times or places has turned into a primary means of communication for some.  With the holidays drawing near, you could find yourself spending some time away from your sweetie to be with your family.  During these times, wireless communication becomes key.  There’s absolutely no excuse for falling out of touch with anyone these days because there are so many ways to “reach out and touch someone” – email, text, cell phone, Skype, instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, picture and video messaging, etc.  Keep this in mind, though.  Whatever method of communication you choose, put in writing only that which you would say in person.  Stated differently, if you can’t say it in person, don’t text it.

As I write this I laugh recalling an ex-boyfriend.  I’ll call him “The Clam.”  The Clam loved to text message me from the four corners of the globe when he traveled.  All hours of the day and night, I’d get sweet, flirtatious text messages from him wherever he was.  Being also well-written, his messages would easily engage my imagination such that I could have easily been at his side.  Face-to-face, was an entirely different story.  It was as if his courage and eloquence had evaporated in my presence.  While we would have some interesting conversation, his heart shut up.  In person, he was a clam.  I saw it as cowardice.

We all have examples of times we’ve hidden behind our email or text messages. Without having to personally contend with the other person’s emotions, it’s really easy to use language boldly through these means.  I think this is why a lot of guys ask girls out on their Facebook pages, but I’ve seen some of my girlfriends say some pretty uncomfortable things via text messages and email too.  Think about it. We can say whatever we want in email or text without ever having to face that person – or their embarrassment, rejection, anger, hurt feelings, whatever.  Just remember that if you insist on putting it in writing, be sure it’s not something you’ll regret later.

One of the gauges I use to determine if a phone call is warranted is if it’s difficult to make it.  If I’m trying to avoid something – be it uncomfortable emotion or confrontation or even the truth – I pick up the phone and force myself to deal with it.  Sometimes it sucks; sometimes I stumble over my words; sometimes I don’t express myself quite as well as I would if I had been given time to write it out; and it’s always uncomfortable.  As imperfect as it is, it’s real.  It’s me.

Ladies, via text or email it’s really easy to be something you’re not when you don’t have your voice and body language to blow your cover as you think on the fly.  If there’s any emotion behind your message whatsoever, speaking in person is always best.  However, if distance keeps you from being face-to-face with its recipient, think twice before you tap out your next text message – or email too, for that matter.  Pick up the phone to give the person with whom you’re communicating the honor of hearing your spoken voice.  Let him hear your heart in your voice inflection and tone.  If you’re courageous enough to add a visual dimension, use Skype and let him see your face (it’s free, by the way).  Be your authentic, beautiful self, emotions and all, whether you’re at his side or on the other side of the world.  Get real in your communication and real in relationship.


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