It’s become apparent that modern technology has us consumed in ourselves. Pew Research Center states that 95 percent of 18-29 year olds send approximately 87.7 text messages on a normal day. It’s becoming common for more and more people to prefer sending a text message versus making a phone call.
Because of this, fighting behind screens has become more popular. It seems safer to hide behind a screen because you don’t see the emotions going on. This makes it easier to dismiss the other person’s feelings.
There are pros to fighting via text message if you use it right. It helps each person thoroughly read what each other has to say. You can respond in a timely, thoughtful and proper fashion. If utilized correctly, text messages can be a way to fully understand where the other person is coming from.
Junior nursing major, Victoria Beltran can relate to being misinterpreted over text message. “I was about to board a plane coming back to school after the summer ended. My boyfriend and I had been fighting and right before I was about to get on the plane, I called him. He missed my call which set me off. He replied right before takeoff saying, ‘Have a safe flight. I love you.’ I simply texted back with an emoji.”
Beltran’s intent in sending the emoji was a simple goodbye because a few hours would go by before she could respond again. On the other hand, Beltran’s boyfriend thought it was a jerk move to just reply with an emoji instead of appropriately saying goodbye.
“After I landed, I called him and we fixed everything. Things can get lost in text messages. When you communicate face to face, you do it with facial expressions, body language and voice inflections. With text messages, all you get is words and you fill in the blank for the rest,” Beltran concluded.
Survey has shown that 56 percent of young adults break up over text message nowadays because it’s “less awkward.” In a way, we are all guilty of wanting an easy way out. Technology has enabled us to be a less confrontational generation. We allow ourselves to escape our feelings by not confronting what’s right in front of us.
Miscommunication can happen not only with a significant other, but also between siblings, parents and friends. You can be left wanting to suppress your feelings, or end up feeling confused as to why those feelings weren’t addressed. It’s safer to talk about disagreements in person so you can see where the other person is coming from. This way, you can fully see the emotions of the other person so you aren’t filling in the blank for them.
Next time you receive a text message that frustrates you, take a moment to evaluate the situation. Ask questions like, “If I were to text the message they just sent me, how would I want it to come across?” Or, “Maybe this isn’t a conversation to have over text message.”
If you really care about not being misinterpreted, then make the extra effort to make sure you aren’t.
Naomi Prasad is a sophomore chemistry and biomedical science major from Federal Way, WA. She enjoys painting, swimming, flying kites and being at the beach.