Late last year, I saw a meme not-widely shared on Facebook, but mentioned that I should blog about it. The meme was a quote (author unknown), which went like so…
“Texting is a brilliant way to miscommunicate how you feel, and misinterpret what other people mean.”
I can definitely relate to this, and bet that others can as well. Therefore, I want to give a story, and then a short reflection about texting.
Back in 2013, I was getting ready to go to Indianapolis for the Pokemon TCG national championship, and would be carpooling with a friend from League, and his mom was our chauffeur. The prelude to the trip was somewhat of an adventure, as I was trying to text with him regarding logistics. Evidently, he and/or his mom thought that my texts sounded aggressive and pushy, trying to rush their arrival and get to Indy as soon as possible. This was not at all how I intended them. So, the miscommunication worked both ways here.
Granted, the response text to this perceived miscommunication was threatening as well–“she’s threatening to call it off.” Thankfully, everything worked out in the end, but this was certainly an Exhibit A as to why I prefer to talk over the phone when logistics are involved, rather than through short back-and-forths with text messages. Maybe I did sound pushy and aggressive, but I think that part of the problem was due to pain in one of my arms that was suffering from a random case of bursitis!
One thing that I don’t like about the current society is reliance on text messages and shorthand in general. As exemplified in the anecdote above, short messages can be misinterpreted and cause hard feelings when the misinterpretation leads to misperceptions about intent. This, I think, could also be true when the text includes the Four-Word-String-Of-Doom:
“We need to talk.”
I don’t text people outside of my family very often, since I much prefer vocal verbal communication. Thus I haven’t gotten into any real texting arguments or had problems (outside of this anecdote), so maybe I’m lucky in this regard. Of course, my blog post might be misinterpreted by someone as a preachy, holier-than-thou ramble. We’ll see!
Furthermore, logistics that are written down in my classes can be misinterpreted or miscommunicated. This also applies to e-mails, and is probably one of my faults as a teacher–sometimes my attention to details gets too detailed and I fail to see the forest for the trees.
Readers: Have any of you ever had the experience of a text being misinterpreted and causing hard feelings or worse? (I’ll exclude drunk texts or wrong numbers from this question.)
Haverford on the phone: Ahead!
Ides of March: 22 days.