One of the worst ways to unravel your frustration towards someone is by sending them some caps-locked messages or worse, passive-aggressive messages filled with sarcastic remarks and angry emojis. Then, you’d have to anxiously wait for their replies; you’d get blue-ticked (or worse, gray-ticked) and have all the worst assumptions about why they have not replied your texts back instantly. The mantra that keeps playing at the back of our minds is that “they don’t care” when they don’t reply in a timely manner.
On the other side of the spectrum, regardless of how enraged you are about something and no matter how caught up you are in the moment of anger, text messaging gives you a choice. You can easily delete everything when your rationale dominates, before clicking that “Send” button to that particular somebody. You can give a lot of thought about what you are about to say so you won’t regret blurting some irrational statements that would worsen an issue. And that’s the only good thing about texting. You might even have some moments of realisation to snap back to reality and perhaps, would wait for an appropriate time to talk about it when you’re not in a completely defensive mode.
But still, some of us would opt to resolve the issue over text messages. It’s almost a second nature to choose to text over talking in this digital age.
I would be the first one to confess that I’ve done some arguing – most, if not all – over text messages because, for one, texting is like a “safe zone” – a place where I can think through about the situation and what I need to say. It is also because I hate confrontations and tend to get easily overwhelmed by various emotions in a room. However, as we all might already know, communication is a lot more complicated than knowing what to say. It is more to how we say it.
“UCLA professor Albert Mehrabian found that 58 percent of communication is through body language, 35 percent through vocal tone, pitch, and emphasis, and a mere 7 percent through content of the message.” – Kim Schneiderman, Psychology Today
It’s no wonder we tend to have misinterpretations on what a person means, as only 7 percent of communication relies on the content of a message. No matter how many emojis and gifs you would try to match the tone of the messages with, the extent of these digital expressions is still limited.
Unless you can articulately describe every inch of your body language to the person you need to resolve some issues via text, I say, we should break our pride and confront an issue which we might have dragged along with us for a while. It’s difficult but it has to be done.
So, when you do have an issue, talk about it. Don’t simply depend on text messages to get a problem done and over with. I don’t mean you should get involved in a useless teenage fist fight or shout your heart out when you do get the chance to resolve an issue. This is a “sit-down and talk” kind of thing when you are not afraid to a make complete fool out of yourself and talk about your true feelings about it.
Apologising means a lot more when we put some effort to it and it would be deemed as more genuine when we are expressing our remorse in person. In most arguments that I have dealt with, the only way we could reason with each other is by talking through it and opening up to each other. It’s worth the time and effort. Because only through that we can work on our differences and agree to disagree.
Communication, first and foremost, is a human experience in spite of how advanced our phones and apps have become. We would only truly experience what it means to settle an issue – a deeply complicated issue – with a friend or a significant other when we are completely willing to experience the pain, sadness and frustration in a one-to-one conversation no matter how uncomfortable it is. Because at the end of the day, text messages are nothing but 7 percent of our potential to fully express ourselves.
Syaza is a freelance writer whose life revolves around coffee, cats and heartwarming stories.