It’s a serious problem, texting, that is. In fact, this weekend in a bit of conflict with The Brit, even this seasoned dating expert had a difficult time pulling my fingers of the keypad. It was the need I had to connect, let him know I was thinking of him, share that “one last thought.” I could have called, yes, but I didn’t. I texted. He texted back. And then I wrote something, realized it communicated nothing, quickly realizing I had hoped that by sending the text it would invite some sort of sympathetic response. It was as if I I were going to text not necessarily to communicate something, but instead, use the text as an attempt to GET HIM to text me what I WANTED to HEAR.
Is this valuable communication?
I think not, which is why (breathe a sigh of relief here) I put my phone away and busied myself with the act of living my life. I went for a run. I started a new book and sat outside in the sunshine reading. Played with my children, and talked things over with a friend. The bottom line is this: I did not text. I stopped. I waited to have conversation when he returned, after we had both had time to collect our thoughts. I chose to speak directly to each him, listening, hearing, and then processing the feelings and thoughts LIVE, in person, in the moment. No writing, editing or second guessing required.
Now, I will tell you that I have had YEARS of experience in the department of texting to chat. Texting to “touch base.” I even had some of my best fights with my ex-boyfriend over texting while I was watching my youngest daughter take a gymnastics class. This was hard-core, insult tossing, DRAMATIC texting. And this was back when I had a little Nokia and had just learned what it was to use “predictive text.” In fact, when I first met The Brit, I remember beginning to have some sort of texting conversation that involved grey and green text boxes that were more than two-three inches long. Ideas were miscommunicated. It was ridiculous until, thankfully, after two such exchanges he picked up the phone to discuss directly. Ultimately, text conversations go nowhere.
So, what can you do to stop texting? How can you stop using the text message feature of your phone to engage in manipulation? How can you forever remove yourself from useless written arguments and even mere chit chat? It’s simple.
Before you hit SEND,
1. Stop, THINK, and BREATHE. No, really. BREATHE!
2. Then, ask yourself what specific piece of information you are trying to communicate? If, in fact, you are trying to share a feeling, then DON’T send a text. Texts are not designed for sharing feelings. They are, however, useful to communicate factual information.
3. If you want to share a feeling, decide if it is something that can be held until you gather your thoughts on the topic. If not, dial the phone to speak in person, or arrange an in-person conversation.
4. If you want to “ask” if he/she has “thought about plans” previously mentioned, or just want to remind someone that you are alive and kicking, DON’T do it. It’s simple. Men I have interviewed consistently say that when they want to talk to you, they WILL DO IT. If not, as it has been said, “he is just not that into you.” I know this hurts, and at first glance you can make yourself think it feels better to have control over the situation, but the truth is (and you know this already) this: After you hit send and get NO response, or a cold ambivalent response, you feel BAD. There is no way to sugar coat this. It sucks.
So…. the last thing to do is this most important step. Don’t skip it, if you truly want to break free from your romantic rut.
5. Remember the feeling you get when you DON’T get the response you want from a text. Think about it. Where does it live in your body? Your gut? Your chest? Feel it now. Then, ask yourself, do I want to have this feeling? Is it worth it?