Texting is terrible. Well, sort of. Maybe.
It gets a bad rap, for sure. People think that it eliminates people’s actual ability or desire to socialize in person, which isn’t true. Texting is the option for people who can’t hang out in person. It’s a way to connect when “real” connection isn’t possible. I don’t know anybody who would choose to text someone all day rather than hang out.
Texting was extremely helpful for me when I was dealing with social anxiety back in middle school. I was able to think about what I was going to say before saying it, and I didn’t feel the “all eyes on me” feeling so much. Plus, when I actually did attend a social event, I’d already made connections with people via texting, so I felt like I had some people to hang around. If not for texting, I don’t think I would have met any of my good friends.
That being said, I think texting still sort of sucks–at least for me in this point in my life. It causes me more stress than talking in person. First off, I’m a boring texter. I’m just at a loss for words. Being funny is core to my personality. It’s how I make connections and ingratiate myself with people. Over text, I lose all of that. One would think that because I’m a writer, I should be skilled at texting–but I’m not. I just don’t know how to react. Do I send an emoji? A joke? What kind of joke? How can I acknowledge what somebody said? I just end up sending “haha” or some emoji, because I’m so clueless.
Also, things get misinterpreted. I’m sure anyone can relate to feeling a little anxious when someone doesn’t text back. It’s stressful, and it’s too easy for me to take things personally. Did I make them mad? Was I boring? Realistically, I know it’s not all about me, but I can’t help thinking that way. In person, I understand natural silence. Sometimes people have nothing to say–or, they just acknowledge you with a nod. Over text, you can’t do that. You can’t just nod or smile over text. Body language is key to communication, and texting takes that away.
Then, there’s the infamous “double text” (texting somebody two times in a row without getting a response). Oh, and reaction time. Some people feel like they have to wait a few minutes between texts to not seem desperate. In real life, that’s not an issue. You just talk when you talk. What happens happens.
But then again, texting is often more comfortable for me, mostly with new people. I like gauging my distance and conversation. I enjoy getting to think out what I’m going to say first. It’s comforting. And if things aren’t going well, or if I get tired, I can just say I have to go and be done with it. With existing friends, however, I’d rather just hang out.