When I was twenty-three years, my boyfriend at the time broke up with me via text message. It said:
“I don’t know if I can do this anymore.”
He was on tour with an acting company and I was trying to find myself professionally. Needless to say, I missed him tremendously and called him frequently and texted him just as much. I remember calling him back and saying:
“Are you seriously going to break up with me in a text message?”
He back tracked saying that it wasn’t like that and he was just having a bad day. I didn’t buy it and hung up on him in anger. This was when I had a flip phone and hanging up could be done with passion by slamming the phone together.
You see text messages have had a dark history in my life.
Three years ago, I purchased my first Smart Phone. Aside from getting used to typing without a keyboard, I also became addicted to checking all social media in a triangular pattern. This is when it began. I started texting my friends more than calling them. Well, I had my what I called “real friends” whom I called still when I felt like it, but then I started to add new friends who were more texting friends than calling friends.
At first, I did it to get close to people whom I liked but didn’t feel ready to have that phone conversation, but then it became the only way I communicated with these friends. Texting slowly went from an easy way to contact someone to needed to share everything via text. There are a handful of friends whom I still call from time to time just because I still believe in the importance of hearing a person’s tone whilst talking, but most of my communication with friends and colleagues and the parents of my students and even my co-teachers is via text and email.
Each night when I begin my addiction of contacting and talking via text, I wonder have we as a digital generation gotten so used to having to express tone via emoticons/emojis? I remember how fulfilling it is to have a phone conversation with a friend. Most recently I talked to my friend who moved to Ohio recently and after the conversation I was satisfied, like someone gets me fully. Texting although it is communication, doesn’t allow for that intimacy that a phone call does for me. Although, I have discussed personal matters, I have trouble transitioning with a person whom I spoke personally via text message to real life. Now, I’m completely aware this may be a Dream2write problem. Perhaps most people are able to develop real relationships via text message, but it feels a little superficial to me. It doesn’t allow me the truth that a phone conversation does.
Even with all this conflict, I continue to maintain a few relationships solely or mostly via text messaging. Are they less than or equal to my other relationships? What stops me from picking up the phone and just calling this person? Is text messaging a way to have intimate relationships without showing your vulnerability? Would all the things that were shared with me in a text message have been shared with me if we were talking over the phone or in person? I don’t know. I know that text messaging allows me to contact someone and share a quick I care for you or I miss you or I love you without having to set aside more time to have a longer phone conversation. I do know that it allows for a certain safety. Typing or texting words seems less personal in some ways than saying them out loud to said person. Thus allowing for people to say more than they might over the phone.
I guess my stance for now is texting with certain friends is necessary while phone calls with some just as necessary. I do draw the line with my parents texting me one sentence of a conversation at a time, however!