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How Texting Builds A Wall Between Me And My Friends

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How Texting Builds A Wall Between Me And My Friends

We all had that experience before. When casual texting ended in something terribly embarrassing.

Personally, my experience almost cost myself a few buddies. I once texted my girlfriend about my rude yet funny friends. I mentioned how they tested the border-line tolerance of one another. I exemplified with some utterly crude incidence. I was so happy sharing until I figured out I had been talking directly to my friends and really infuriated them.

Don’t lie. We all had that most embarrassing moment.

Texting is detrimental to us. It potentially weakens our communication skills and harms our friendships.

We’re eloquent in texting, but it’s the opposite case when we meet face-to-face

Texting is never similar to face-to-face communication.

Face-to-face communication conveys meaning beyond words. We have different gestures and expressions whilst talking. These imply our emotional state at the moment.

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Eye contact, touch and tones are also part of the message. While you are talking, a blink or a raised tone can mean exactly the opposite to what the words literally mean.

Noticing the subtle signals from the listeners’ body language and facial expressions can tell whether we are talking right or wrong.

There was a time that I had a discussion with my boss and colleagues. I didn’t realize I was saying something really unfavorable to my boss. I found my colleague making an angry face and peeped at the boss for a brief moment. That little act saved my career!

When we are used to the communication mode of texting, we eventually lose our knowledge in body language and sound awkward to the others.

Communication is all about trivial matters in life

Texting can come in handy when we just meet a new friend and it is too awkward to talk face-to-face. Small talk by text can then be a useful alternative to grow friendship.

However, texting always stays at a surface level communication. There is very little if not no meaningful conversation in small talk.

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Only when we meet face-to-face with others we can show our real self.

It is not uncommon to meet someone new online nowadays. It is also not uncommon to date someone met online out. We may have an enjoyable time chatting online but it’s the real deal when we encounter the person physically.

Sudden loss at words, stammering, avoiding eye contact, trembling. They all happen.

Fluent at texting doesn’t necessarily mean you can talk nicely face-to-face.

We only think about ourselves when we text

We are self-oriented in texting. We always start with what ‘I’ think, how ‘I’ feel and what ‘I’ am doing. It is the normal way of thinking in texting.

In reality, self-orientation makes us less aware of the potential inappropriate message to others.

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We always talk about ourselves, disregarding the others’ stance and background. This may put the listeners in a very difficult situation.

In reality, we always have to take the others’ perspectives into consideration. Something appropriate to you doesn’t mean it is acceptable to the others. .

If you wildly celebrate your victory online, how do your friends who are eliminated early in the tournament feel?

I once was discussing where to dine with my friends and I recommended hot wings buffet, bragging about how brilliant their spice was. I was so used to the self-oriented conversational style of texting that I totally forgot one of my friends was having a burning throat. At the end of the day, he lost his voice and it was a great regret for me.

Texting make us more tolerant to socially inappropriate behavior

In texting, we can delay our replies or even ignore the message. Sometimes we are busy. Sometimes we miss the message. Sometimes we are just uninterested. It is fine because this is the way texting works. It accepts such situation. None would stare at the phone, waiting for the replies.

In reality, it isn’t the same. We cannot ignore the others and delay our replies in face-to-face interaction.

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It is socially inappropriate and appears rude to the others.

The rule in texting does not play well in face-to-face communication.

When I was working on a group project at college, I had a group mate whose phone is never idling. He texts all the time. One time I was asking him for some crucial information about the job division. He simply ignored me completely as if my question were non-existent at all. I blew my fuse immediately and glad there was someone holding onto me before anything brutal happened.

In spite of the convenience offered by texting, texting can never replace face-to-face communication. They each have a different set of rules and should be handled separately. We should never rely heavily on texting because it is detrimental to us. It weakens our communication skills and can potentially kill friendship.

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Jeffrey Lau

Editor. Sport Lover. Animal Lover.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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