Truth be told, we now live in world where we never leave the house without our cell phones. Seriously, think about it: when was the last time you left the house without your phone? I’m sure if it happened recently, you definitely went back to get it, in fear of feeling naked or lost in the world without it. It’s not even just our generation that is attached to our phones, it’s everyone these days; and with everyone so attached to them, it got me thinking about text messaging and how it affects relationships: Do we use text messaging to communicate or to hind behind?
This may be a stretch, but think about this: In the play Phantom of the Opera, the Phantom hides behind a mask to not reveal his deformity, rather than show who he truly is and embrace it. His fear of rejection caused him to not have confidence unless he was hidden. He may not have hid his personality, but he hid a part of him, his face, which is the one part of us that shows the most emotion. No one was able to fully connect with or understand him because the mask always stood between him and others. With our phones constantly in our hands, it’s like our phones become our masks and our text messages allow us to communicate with others without showing who we are and how we truly feel face-to-face.
10-years ago people felt lonely without a relationship, screw relationships, now people feel lonely without service! Who needs a real-life person when you can fall in love online, turn your iPhone into a vibrator and have phone-sex on FaceTime? I’m beginning to believe that people are struggling with dating because they’re getting so used to simply dating their phones rather than physically spending time with someone.
Really though, think about it. You wake up, check your phone, and you continuously do it all day long, and of course again before you go to sleep, all for some kind of communication validation that confirms that you exist and are wanted in this world.
People check their phones not because they’re expecting something, but because they’re hoping for something.
How sad is that?
What happened to waking up feeling validated by just being proud of who you are, rather than waking up or checking your phone and being happy that someone out there wanted or needed you. As my friend Adam so aptly said,
“Think about it, 95% of the time people aren’t waiting for a text back, but are simply hoping for someone to care enough to text them in the first place.”
I mean seriously, a day without “likes” on Instagram, or a comment or friend request on Facebook can make someone feel like they’re completely alone in this world. But, an unanswered text message, now that’s just a virtual slap in the face.
There’s a difference between having your phone and not being able to answer it and genuinely ignoring your phone out of sheer selfishness.
Sure, just as everyone always has their phones in their hands, it doesn’t always mean that they’re ready, willing and able to talk about things, especially important topics that involve emotions. However, we use our phones as a crutch, so even when we want to discuss something in person that we feel strongly about, our first move is generally to type, it rather than speak it, because not only does it get our feelings out faster, but it also eliminates the awkwardness of emotional in-person conversations.
We are all busy people, and some may say who has the time, or let alone patience to speak to someone face-to-face, or let alone on the phone where you can at least hear someone’s voice, when you can have your phone to quickly get your point across and also hide behind?
Emoticons were created for this reason exactly. Since text messaging lacks all emotion, those smiley, sad, and silly faces don’t portray our real feelings, they simply create a dishonest form of communication because they lack any real emotions. Sure, they may help get your point across, but it’s not as accurate as it could be, as it isn’t personal. Text messaging takes away any inflection of your voice or facial expression and body language that may coincide with the message you’re trying to portray. People may think that they’re using emoticons to get their emotions across, but is it possible that we’re really just hiding behind them?
Sometimes when emoticons just don’t suffice, and our written words cannot express our emotions, our first reaction is to ignore it. However, while ignorance may be bliss, it’s also the action of a coward. It’s like coming face to face with someone on the street and pretending like nothing ever happened at all.
I sincerely doubt that anyone would go for coffee with someone, sit in front one another, and say things and not receive a response, through any verbal or body language whatsoever. That wouldn’t be very realistic at all, so why should that be any different for text messaging?
If you don’t answer a text message simply because you don’t know what to say, or don’t want to engage in conversation with this person just right now or at all, truth is this person is contacting you for a reason, and it is completely unethical to ignore them.
Advice: Rather than ignoring someone, it’s better to say you can’t talk right now, or need some time to think, any response even if it still deflects the situation is more respected than no response at all.
We’re all too busy in our lives to waste time texting people that we don’t actually want to talk to, there is no reason to do that. So, sending a text doesn’t just mean what the text says it does, it is the simple action of sending that text message that shows emotion was involved in the first place.
Actions speak louder than words.
Ask yourself, when was the last time you texted someone who you didn’t give a shit about? Even if it was just to get laid, you still put thought into reaching out.
The only real confidence we have in text messaging with one another, is through the response we receive back. It was only when the Blackberry came out with a “delivered” and “read” message feature, that people started taking advantage of not answering at all. It is almost like Blackberry developed the virtual slap in the face. Just Blau Me, Blackberry, no you cannot have Ad space.
The most screwed up part of being ignored via text is that it makes you feel and appear desperate even if you aren’t. Communication is supposed to go two ways, and when it doesn’t, we play a game of question and answer. We search for an answer, but question ourselves. Why didn’t they answer? What happened? What did I do? We no longer take the lack of response for what it is, rather blame and question ourselves thinking we’re to blame for it.
When it comes to communication, we’re naturally wired to express our feelings and expect some type of response to let us know we’ve been heard. But with text messaging the only thing we have is that little “delivered” at the bottom of the screen, if we’re lucky a “read” receipt, and if we’re respected, an answer. Otherwise, in a world where people use text messages to try to deliver our emotions, our words get lost in cyber space, turn into nothing and just like a gust of cold wind on a winter day, those words invisibly slap us across the face and take our breath away.
Don’t let your lack of an answer speak louder than the answer itself.
The Phantom of the Opera had a reason to hide behind a mask, ask yourself, do you?
Answer your text messages, communicate efficiently and speak what is on your mind, or Just Blau Me.