Love it or hate it, texting has a big role in everyday communications. Perhaps you are someone who does not like texting. As far as your friends go, over a time, they have become used to your communication style. They understand that you are not a big ‘texter’. Therefore, when it takes you ages to respond to a text, or the fact that you never actively text them, they do not misinterpret the meaning. Unfortunately, we don’t have this same luxury with people we have just met. And, because texting takes the least amount of effort, and is the least personal medium of communication, it seems to be the expected form of contact when you are first getting to know someone; regardless of the other person’s preferred communication style.
I have noticed a trend amongst my female clients to be fed up with the endless text chats. One woman explained she was tired of investing so much time in the wrong guys. I pointed out that she had only been on one date with the particular guy she was referring to. ‘Was one evening, really so much time wasted?’ I asked. She replied, ‘Oh no, but there was the constant texting! We did that for hours.’ She decided that she did not want to waste he valuable time texting with someone whom she did not know well. We decided that her new protocol would be to explain, when first starting to get to know someone, that she was not a ‘texter’, and only texted for practical purposes, like meeting times and places. Of course, she would also have to follow through with this, as actions speak louder than words, and she could end up in the exact situation again.
Another client had the opposite problem. Her lack of texting was perceived as lack of interest. She had been on a date with, Jim, a really nice guy whom she was excited to see again. While he was away on business, she had lunch with, Jane, the friend who had introduced the two at her party. Jane relayed the message that Jim really liked my client, but he didn’t feel like she liked him, as she never sent him any texts. Obviously my client was dumbfounded (and quite lucky to have received this insider tip!) Her dislike of texting could have cost her a potentially lovely relationship. So what should she do? Force herself to text? Well, if she knows it’s important to the other person, being a bit more proactive would be nice. As we know, once you are in a relationship, you spend a lot of time doing things for your partner that you wouldn’t normally do, because you know it is important to him or her. But, I would also recommend having an honest conversation. Saying something light, like ‘You might have noticed by now that I am not a great fan of texting. It’s just not something that is on my radar. However, I am really enjoying getting to know you, and I think you’ll find I’m much better at communicating by (phone/email).’ This way the other person doesn’t get the wrong idea about your feelings, they change their expectations about your texting, and they know the best way to communicate with you: win, win, win!
Let’s face it, whether you love it or hate it, texting will be with us for a while. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the next wave of communication that technology brings us even more. In the meantime, if you don’t enjoy it, just tell the person upfront. Happy texting! (Or not).