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8 Reasons You Should Never Let Text Message Arguments Happen

8 Reasons You Should Never Let Text Message Arguments Happen

There’s a saying among opponents of text messaging that if the telephone was invented after a text messaging device, everyone would call each other and never text again. There’s something to be said about that. I know, texting is convenient, and in today’s busy world we can’t be bothered to call each other for every little thing, but it’s important to question that mindset, especially when it comes to having important conversations.

We’ve all seen the detriments of text messaging in one way or another, and the ensuing arguments are not pretty. While some miscommunication can lead to a short pang of anxiety, a small misunderstanding through texting could lead to something much worse.

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Texting is meant for quick communication

Texting should really only be used when you need to transmit important information quickly. “Got milk.” “Can you pick up Bobby?” “Be home soon.” Nothing can really be misconstrued from these quick messages (although don’t hold me to that). When texting is used as a primary means of communication, however, things start to get out of hand.

Unfocused communication

Anyone who texts knows that it’s not the only thing you do when you do it. Usually, you’re reading a book, watching TV, scrolling through Facebook, or something other than watching the screen waiting for the next message to come in. So when you’re in an argument with a friend or significant other, chances are you’re not truly focused on the problem, and your mind is elsewhere. Not hitting a disagreement head on leads to…

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Long, drawn out arguments

Texting draws arguments out much longer than they need to be. You have to sit and wait for the other party to respond, which could take anywhere from seconds to hours, depending on the situation. While most serious arguments are dealt with immediately, sometimes one person is left in limbo, not knowing if the other even got the text, or cared enough to read it. Any delay leaves one party anxiously paranoid, which only serves to further the argument.

Texting avoids necessary confrontation

Known to psychologists as a form of avoidance, texting about major conflicts is simply a way to talk about the situation as if it’s not actually happening to you. On that same note, if you’re discussing a problem about yourself as if it doesn’t apply to you, then the solution you reach doesn’t apply to you either; nothing gets accomplished via “solution by text.” It may be difficult, but couples who are comfortable talking out their problems in person are much more connected than those who only communicate “big things” through a cell phone screen.

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Texts can be ignored

You wouldn’t simply stare at your friend and not say something after he confronted you, would you? But we do it all the time with texts. The ultimate defense mechanism is ignoring the problem. It might be easiest at the time to simply put the phone down and come back to it “when you’re ready,” but, since there really is no convenient time to have an argument, you’ll keep putting it off until more and more damage is done. Don’t let things pile up to a breaking point; call and get through your problems.

Texting lacks emotional attachment

Like we just said, texting detaches you from the situation you’re discussing. But more than that, texts can be misconstrued, and be the beginning of certain arguments. You’ve heard the sentiment: “Oh, that sounded harsh, better say ‘lol’ and type a smiley face!” Chances are, if you sent a message that was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, it most likely came out as derogatory. If you made the same statement in person, your friend would have heard the sarcasm in your voice, and known not to take you too seriously.

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Texts aren’t private

Text messages definitely are not private. If you and your significant other are at a party, and face a disagreement, you can leave and deal with it without others looking on. When you argue through text, you run the risk of your SO tossing his (or her) phone to a friend, commenting “Look how ridiculous this conversation is.” Of course, all that will do is reinforce your SO’s perspective, as the friend will most likely agree with the comment. Arguments should not be about “who’s right,” but rather about how both parties can reach a common ground. Making an argument public is completely counter-intuitive to this.

Texting leads to regretful statements

We’ve discussed how emotionally detached text messaging is, but let’s take it a step further. Since both parties are using texts as an emotional wall, they sometimes feel like they can say hurtful, terrible things that they never would say if they were face-to-face. In person, they’d see the love in each others’ faces, and the emotions in their voices. Being physically close to a loved one while arguing makes you realize that, in the long-run, the current argument is trivial compared to the love you share. Seriously. The next time you’re upset with someone you love, try to argue in person. Chances are, it won’t last long, and will be much more productive for your relationship.

Featured photo credit: Free File Hunt via freefilehunt.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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