Talk or Text?

I think most people would agree – a phone call or an in-person conversation would trump a text message on any day. Sure, a text message is convenient. You don’t have to have a long, drawn-out conversation about why you’re running late to pick up your wife from work, or explain to your parents why the library sounds like a house party. It’s quick and easy.

But I find nowadays that everyone sends a text message for every single thing, even the things that mean a lot. I have a friend whose boyfriend, after putting her through a two-week break and ho-humming about whether or not he wanted to stay together or break up, texted her to say he missed seeing her. Imagine reading that on a 3″x2″ touch screen, how confusing and vague that sounds. Said in person, that one sentence “I miss seeing you” could erase weeks’ worth of pain and heartache. Said through a text, it just prolonged her confusion. Why? Because it’s incongruous. How can you say you miss seeing someone, and really mean it, but not take the trouble to actually see them, and say the words to their face?

There was a time in the world when people traveled miles on foot just to deliver a message. That’s when you know it was really worth delivering. Now, I think it’s so easy to “update” people on your “status” that it hardly means anything anymore when people “reach out” to you. How much could it actually mean, when all it took to deliver the message was a few quick stabs at a miniature keypad that could fit in half the palm of your hand?

I’m not against texting at all. To text is better than to say nothing at all, when something really needs to said. But still, I hope I don’t become so lethargic because of technology that I forget: if something is important enough that it needs to be said, it should be important enough that it needs to be said with your entire self. Words say so little. We as humans say much more – and need to say much more – than we can fit on a cell phone screen.

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