Please Note that this piece is NOT about estrangement though it can pertain to that if it’s happening to you. It hasn’t with me.
It’s not that text messages aren’t worth making. They are worthy of being there for a reason but, that reason is to not replace an old fashioned call. There’s a reason that I’m saying this so, follow along with why I’m saying what I’m saying here.
Text messages and Facebook Messages do NOT replace voice to voice or face to face visitations. While some may call my thoughts on this “old fashioned” and tell me to “get with it”, one is not able to nor, meant to type out a whole story on anything. It was originally invented so that people could send one another messages such as “where are you” or “I’ll meet you at 3:45 pm at (fill in the blanks here)”. They weren’t created as a means whereby one can express any heartfelt situation in great detail but, that’s what a lot of people are doing nowadays.
Recently, I received several text and Facebook messages, asking me how I was doing? What was I to say to that question? Nevermind the fact that my cat had passed away, my house and much in it had been destroyed with water pipes bursting, my basement backing up the drain with sewage and contractors who caused secondary damages as well as our once trusted vehicle quitting on us, amongst other things that were piling up. The fact remained that all that I could or was expected to answer with was a “fine…thanks for asking”. There is no way on earth that I could have typed in all that had happened because that’s not what these messaging abilities are meant to do or capable of doing. Yes, if one physically wants to sit and type it all out via phone or computer, one can do so physically but, no one really wants to hear it if they’re sending you a text message or other form of messaging.
When you wish to talk to someone, the proper thing to do would be to actually call that person or send them a text message with a “you’ve been on my mind, will call you tonight or tomorrow”. That’s about the extent of what a person who truly cares should go to with a text or other messaging forms should do. An actual call would allow more to be said, faster and more fully than a message can.
What do I call text or other messaging forms?
I call them the “Coward’s Way Out”.
Why would I say such a thing? Am I that old? Let me answer those 2 questions.
Firstly, no I am not that old. I’m grateful for the ability to send short messages to someone via some form of messaging. However, I am wise enough to realize that a message cannot reflect voice intonations nor be able to correct something instantaneously nor, even catch that it was misunderstood. More on that later on though.
Secondly, by “coward” I mean that it’s non-committal. Yes, when it’s sent, it’s sent but, it’s also a hope and prayer and assumption that someone else will get your message and will read it in their own time and answer with a simple response such as a thumbs up or a smile emoticon. What if their phones or their computers or whatever aren’t working or they don’t walk around with their cells taped to their butts or hands as some people do? Will they get that message really? Are you sure? Do you really care?
When someone says something like “hope you’re ok, love you” do they really care? Honestly, what does that mean in all reality to them whether their messages are returned or not returned? They’ve sent you a message which essentially is saying, “I’m thinking of you”. That’s about it. They really don’t care if you’re doing ok or not. In effect, they don’t want to know how it is that you’re doing. What they’ve really said is that they “hope” that you’re ok, they don’t care one way or the other and they’ve done their job by texting you to let you know that they thought of you. Big whoop. The last part of that message of “love you” would have meant that they were thinking of you. “Hope that you’re ok” isn’t meaning anything other than, making a statement that means nothing, I thought of you, done due diligence, sent you a message and that’s about as far as you were thought of if you think of it.
Lastly, it’s the “coward’s way out” because it permits people to send messages to others in their time and space or way and not have to commit to a voice to voice conversation. It also lets them say whatever they want to say or not say and get on with whatever they want to get to doing even if that’s watching paint dry. Like I’ve said before, it’s non-committal in any way, doesn’t allow for corrections, discussion, talking things through or whatever else may be required. It’s done on their terms, with minimal words or thinking and it’s on their time frames. Whether or not you receive it is not their problem. They sent it. They’re off the hook so to speak. The rest is up to you. They’re done.
Texting, digital and emails are the future…get with it!
Yeah, I’m with it. I get it. I certainly get the idea that it’s easy to do and everything but everything is going digital. As a matter of fact, once this pandemic is over (if it ever is that is and many are beginning to wonder about it now), a lot in this world will have changed. More and more businesses will have realized that with technology available and capabilities, there may be less need for physical bricks and mortar places to be every day. One can work in their business shirts, ties and make-up while wearing pj pants or worse, none if they don’t want to bother. Heck, they don’t even need a shower as thus far, computers and cell phones don’t have smell capabilities. Look out though that may come with time or if there’s a need or you didn’t know that you wanted coffee or popcorn along with fresh bread or cake.
While one can send documents, chat via Zoom or other versions from the comfort of their own homes or toilets if they want to, what one cannot do is to replace face to face or voice to voice contact. We will still need that in all of our lives. While they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, try a virtual tour of a car or house. Would you risk buying one without seeing it? What about a mattress or trying on a suit or dress and how it looks on you? What about test driving a car. Remember that there are tricks to photography and lenses along with other photo altering apps or software. I remember knowing how much of a backyard a neighbour had and let me say that the photos that were taken, made it look like a football field when it was actually only a few feet wide and deep. That leads me to ask you to question yourself on how much of a chance do you want to take on something on the net?
Have you ever listened to someone’s comments or posts on the net, met them on the phone or in person and realized that you weren’t exactly talking to who you thought that they were? I have done that with many different people over time.
What about the idea that you’ve stated in brevity in a message, “it’s cold, rainy and cloudy here today” when if it were on the phone or in person, you would have explained that it’s a good day to get things done indoors and you’re thankful for it. On the other side of things, the recipient only sees that much and says to themselves, “it must be horrible, depressing and cold. Glad that it’s sunny and warm here today. Oh well, I don’t care. I’m going for a swim,” and that’s the end of that text or message or even email session. There’s a total misuderstanding where one cannot explain and the other assumes wrongly what that person was saying but, the other one doesn’t care anyway so, it all ends there.
Emoticons, LOLs ROFLMAOs and anything else that can be added don’t get your message across no matter how you do it.
I am always careful to put in those types of things in plenty because I never know how anyone is going to take anything that I say via technological techniques. In spite of 30 of those things being inserted, my words (because my intonation cannot be heard) will be taken as perhaps, me being sarcastic and leave the other person, scratching their heads or, as I’ve said before, not always or exactly caring what you’ve meant or why.
Emails that contain more information than texts, can’t be relied upon either. They can often come across as something different than you believe it to mean. That also goes for the other person who receives that email or who responds to yours. Feelings get hurt and before we know it, we’re into fights, becoming enemies when the last thing that we intended on that email doing was to let that person know something quite the opposite to how they took your words or email.
If you really want more information or to talk or know what’s really going on with me or my life, pick up that phone and TALK to me!
There, it’s been said. Anyone who truly wants me to understand them and what they are going through or who wants me to understand their circumstances in full, can pick up that thing that they have in their hands (it’s called a cell PHONE for a reason and has numbers for a reason) or a home or office phone and call me to ask, talk and simply figure out what I mean about anything or let me see what they truly mean or meant by asking questions if I feel that I need to or they do. To do otherwise, is akin to being afraid of talking to me or anyone for that matter in my mind. In other words, it’s as though they don’t want to hear an answer or response from me. They not only may not care but, they don’t want to hear it from me or at that time.
How many here have gotten text messages sent to their home phone by someone who didn’t bother picking up a phone to call and speak to me but, didn’t even leave a voicemail? Is that laziness or what? Is that caring or not? What’s that saying to you?
From my little corner of life to yours, if you truly care about someone, you’ll actually use that home phone, Zoom, Skype or your cell PHONE to call someone with a long story. No, it’s NOT old fashioned to call or see someone. It is getting to a point though where anything with the word “phone” attached to it, I’m going to get rid of because not many use it.
If you’re too chicken to actually speak to that person voice to voice or face to face, don’t bother texting them or messaging them or any other form of communication as you’ll be considered non-caring. Would anyone who assumes that be so far off the mark?
Even if you’re busy at that moment, no one is busy 24/7. Make time later on to talk to that person. If you’re truly just saying, “got the reservations for 5 pm at Chez Calcun”….do it via text but, save the long conversations for the phone or face to face. If you truly can’t talk to that person at that moment because you’re changing a shitty diaper or up to your elbows in paint or about to go into a meeting, wait until you can and CALL them or see them (when Covid-19 is over). Sending them a text or other message is showing them that while you had a fleeting thought of them, other things or people were far more exciting and let’s face it, that person is out of your mind in 2 minutes or less, flat. Why bother?
Actions speak louder than a text or message. Use them. Have a nap if you’re bored and save someone else’s precious time and a risked misunderstanding.
Be well, stay well,
Love and Light.