Don’t Let Texting Ruin Your Relationship
Texting, Facebooking, Tweeting, and emailing are all popular, convenient ways of communicating. However, the convenience of these methods has us wanting them to be something they’re not: a way of communicating feelings. When we can’t hear the tone of a sender’s voice, we can’t really know what the mood of their message was meant to be. As a result, we end up putting our own emotional spin on the words, which can lead to miscommunication.
I once worked with a young woman who was feeling insecure in her romantic relationship. She handed me her phone and asked me to read a few text messages her boyfriend had sent her. From my perspective, the messages seemed reasonable and pleasant. When the client read the messages aloud to me, she read them with a tone that made the messages seem nasty. I don’t know if either of us read the words he sent with his intended feeling, but I do know that there was potential for damage to their relationship that may have been prevented.
If you find yourself getting riled up by an electronic message you’ve received, take a few minutes to have an old-fashioned phone call or face-to-face discussion with the sender. If that’s not possible, ask the sender directly to explain the mood of their message. Perhaps you’ll find that their intent was much different than what you interpreted. You could potentially save yourself quite a bit of energy.
If you don’t believe me that hearing someone’s voice is important, consider these five words: I didn’t steal your pencil.
Seems like a pretty straightforward text message, right? Wrong. Without hearing the sender’s verbal cues, we can’t be sure which of the five (yes, FIVE) ways the sender meant it:
I didn’t steal your pencil. (But I know who did..)
I didn’t steal your pencil. (Seriously, I didn’t do it.)
I didn’t steal your pencil. (However, I did run it over with my car.)
I didn’t steal your pencil. (I stole Bob’s pencil.)
I didn’t steal your pencil.(I did steal your wallet.)
Without the emphasis on the correct word, you wouldn’t know if you received a message from a thief, a vandal, a sleuth, or an innocent person. Big difference.