A Time and Place for Texting

In today’s society, we all know that texting frequency is at an all-time high and with its recent growth in popularity, particularly among young adults, texting is now used more than ever to coordinate and communicate our relationships. In today’s continuously evolving world of technology, our communication habits have been forced to adapt to the technology-driven social circumstances we find ourselves in today. In both our personal and professional lives, our social cues and behaviors have now made the switch from what was commonly face to face interactions to now interpreting acronyms and emoticons. But does this ability to communicate on demand come at a price?

Many of us can agree that communication is one of the most important components to a healthy and productive relationship. While most would consider words to be the key element in conversation, research shows that communication consists of 55% body language, 38% tone, and 7% words…yes, only 7% is simply words! So when we use texting as our primary mode of communication, we begin to lose 93% of the key components to distinguish tone and read body language. Though one may see texting as a means to connect, that missing 93% can often be the catalyst for misunderstanding and confusion.

This often leads to the dilemma we face of text versus call and even call versus in-person conversations, and while there is no written rule book, there are certain situations where texting is just simply not a good idea.

  • Serious conversations or arguments

When tone and body language can be the biggest drivers in communication, avoiding complex conversations or disagreements via text messaging will prevent misinterpretation. During these conversations, when all three components of communication are critical, texting is simply not an effective way to communicate.

  • While driving

In today’s advertising world we are bombarded with the continuous messaging of ‘no texting and driving,’ and even though North Carolina law prohibits it, many of us continue to keep one hand on the wheel and the other on the keyboard. Whether you choose to do so still or not, cell phone usage in general while operating a vehicle can pose many dangerous threats to yourself and others on the roads. Bluetooth devices are a great alternative to keeping your hands free while traveling.

  • Sending an apology

While this circumstance can be a bit tricky, apologizing when appropriate is always the right move. However an, “I’m sorry” over text message just skims the surface – not providing the resolution or understanding needed at the core. A text apology can serve a purpose as an introduction to a further conversation where both parties can use tone and body language to convey a true and heartfelt apology.

  • In the workplace

Being mindful of your work’s texting policy and your professionalism can make the difference between that next promotion and advancement at your place of employment. Keeping your personal communication at bay shows attentiveness and focus while sending the right message to those around you.

  • Sending a heartfelt message of love and appreciation

Nothing requires more tone of voice and inflection than an exciting message of endearment. Offering a word of encouragement or a simple “I’m thinking of you” message can go the extra mile to show you care when shown in person or over the phone.

  • Urgent matters

When communicating to the masses of family and friends, texting can seem more beneficial and often easier; however, people frequently feel more compelled to answer calls more quickly than text messages. Person to person calls can more efficiently convey exactly what is needed to resolve a matter and imply sincerity in a moment of importance rather than a blanket text message statement.

In a time when many of us no longer feel that we can pick up the phone and call, it is important to remember that having one-on-one conversations can foster a stronger, well-rounded relationship. Whether your conversations are via text message, over the phone, or face to face, keep in mind the times where the components of communication can provide the appropriate social cues to properly convey your message.