When you think about it, texting has become an extremely common form of written communication. Consequently, it has become a form of writing, whether we like it or not. Most of the time, I love texting. It helps me stay connected with my family while I’m away, I can stay updated on what my housemates are doing, and my day can get a little brighter with funny texts or gifs my friends send me. However, there is a time and place for texting. Quite frankly, we are unaware of the context in which texting does not suit communication. And it can end up really, really awkward.
A few days ago, I texted my friend (keep in mind, he is a new friend that I met over the summer) about him setting me up with one of his friends for an event later this week. However, because most of the time texts include “haha” or “lol” in order to keep the conversation light, I tried to keep my request funny and light by explaining that I’m probably too old (no longer an underclassmen) to get set up. However, things took a wrong turn when he mistakenly thought I was asking him to be my date. This misunderstanding caused our remaining texts in the conversation to be awkward and strained.
I don’t think this miscommunication via texting is uncommon. Plain and simple, written communication must be interpreted without body language or facial expression, and therefore can be misinterpreted a lot easier. So then why do we insist on texting about every little thing in our lives? Doesn’t that just cause more time wasted and strain on relationships? Of course, I am definitely a culprit of this problem. I text about things that should probably be communicated verbally rather than through writing.
In my business communications class, we talk about how most of the time, there is a standard format to deliver news to people. However, this format changes when you must deliver bad news. So as communicators, why do we still insist on sharing bad news over a light-hearted text rather than giving the other person what they deserve: a meaningful, face-to-face conversation?
Like I said, I by no means am an exception to this travesty of millennial communication. But I think it’s something to keep in mind. Whether we consciously acknowledge it or not, texting is a form of writing that could and should be crafted carefully. Otherwise, you could end up in a very uncomfortable conversation that can be hard to transfer from writing through texting to verbal communication.