Here’s how texting is ruining your relationships in five stages

Here’s how texting is ruining your relationships in five stages

Do friends still get together several times a week to hang out at their favorite spot? Or do they just text about everything going on in their lives?

While our messaging platforms connect us to the ones we love and help us stay in touch, they also pull us apart and make it difficult to relate to each other in the real world. 

Many couples these days have a better relationship over WhatsApp than in real life. For some people, it’s easier to connect and be honest while texting than speaking face to face. However, over a voice or video call or when they are together, they have nothing to say. In their separate homes after the meeting is where the intimacy begins to brew. If technology hasn’t swerved socialization in the wrong direction, then I wonder if anything ever will.

Most people don’t bother to visit their families frequently anymore. Everyone just catches up and iron issues out over group chats. 

Texting may be the reason why your relationships with your loved ones are gradually imploding. The five easily identifiable stages of the texting nightmare are: 

Stage 1: We become inconsiderate attention seekers

Back in the good old days before our beloved messenger apps took over, people didn’t just text each at any time of the day seeking conversation. 

They’d call to check in on each other and make plans for their next get-together. These days, estimably thousands of relationships and friendships have been ruined by someone not replying to a text on time. Respecting other people’s boundaries and commitments are essential for continuity in any relationship. It’s not fair to the other person to assume that you can have their attention at any time of the day and conclude that you’re not important to them when they don’t text back. Seriously, they could be busy. [1]

Step 2: We feel bereft most of the time

It’s easy to start feeling ignored or relegated when we don’t get all the attention we require from our friends. 

When you pick up your phone at your convenience and text someone, you’re eagerly waiting for their reply and for a conversation to start. It’s a natural reaction to feel downcast and miserable as you watch the minutes go by and you don’t get a reply. We may not be aware of this most of the time, but our sense of entitlement to people’s time leaves us moody and cranky. [1]

Step 3: Your life revolves around your phone

We sometimes forget that human connection is stronger when there’s a physical or at the very least, visual interaction. You limit your productivity when you spend a lot of time texting on your device every day. There could be so much more you’d achieve in a day if you didn’t spend so much time replying to your messages and trying not to appear rude to people. When you get extremely used to your phone, it will become very tasking to dissociate yourself from it at necessary times. 

We’d text while crossing the road, walking alone in the dark, and even at family dinners where everyone is supposed to be connecting over meals and laughter. While our phones are very helpful tools that make our lives easier, we tend to overuse them a little too much. [2]

Step 4: Frequent misunderstandings

Someone may think of a person who texts back “fine, you?” instead of “I’m fine and you?” as uncouth and ill-mannered. The other person may feel that the latter reply is too formal and not suitable for someone you are reasonably intimate with. Texting can cause people to make large mountains out of tiny, inconsequential molehills and strain their relationships. Something as trivial as the use of the right colored heart emoji could bring a thriving relationship to an unfortunate end. Intimacy and attraction are now gauged by the length of a message and the speed of reply. 

We could really do better than this. We may be in the computer age, but that doesn’t mean we have to rewire the essence of human interaction into something it should never be. [3]

Step 5: Arguing over text

We’ve all been guilty of this at some point. 

Arguing over a text chat makes it nearly impossible to immediately resolve the issue and stop it from escalating. The reason is simple. We are attaching a mental tone of voice to the other person’s words and we’d usually assume them to be judgmental, insulting, aggressive, and belittling. We are also tempted to carefully think out, type, and organize hurtful words in response to the heat we assume the other person is giving off. Words, once written, sent and seen by the other person, can never be taken back (even if you “delete for everyone.”) [4]

Helpful tips to have better relationships

With your family, friends, partners, and co-workers, you deserve happy and meaningful relationships. 

  • Plan dates, hangouts, and dinners. While everyone should be willing to make out time for their loved ones, try to fix these get-togethers at times suitable for everyone.
  • When you’re together, ditch all phones and electronic devices — unless it’s a movie or game night.
  • Call and video call more. If you want to keep a steady communication link, you could call someone once a day, twice a week, or several times in a month to check on them. It makes you feel better than having to wait until they are online to chat.
  • Understand that everyone’s schedule is different and your loved ones would always talk to you when they can.
  • Set a limit for the amount of time you use your phone in a day and try to keep to it. You could find an enjoyable and productive hobby to keep you occupied.
  • If an argument starts brewing over texts, call the other person(s) immediately and try to talk things out gently. A video call is your best option. You could see each other’s faces and weigh emotions correctly.

While there’s nothing wrong with texting the ones we love in general, consolidating these relationships with texting will pull us apart rather than bring us closer.

References:

  1. Psychologists Explain Why Texting In Relationships Is So Amazingly Complicated.” Thrive Global. Drake Baer. Retrieved 22-11-19
  2. How Texting Affects Your Relationship, According To Science“. Bustle. Claire Lampen. Retrieved 22-11-19
  3. 6 Ways Texting Can Psychologically Damage You.” Psych Central Christine Schoenwald. Retrieved 22-11-19
  4. Is It Bad To Fight Over Text? A Relationship Expert Gets To The Bottom Of This Dilemma.Elite Daily. Laura Moses. Retrieved 22-11-19
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