Hi, it’s Julie here, just sharing a few thoughts about what’s been on my mind lately! I live right across the street from my best friend. That conjures up visions of sleepy morning meetings with our robes and coffee cups and leaning across the fence/street to chat all the time, doesn’t it? Some people probably think that we see each other ALL the time. But the truth is we don’t. We’re both busy families with children, teenagers, jobs, and responsibilities just trying to keep our heads above water. Truth be told, we probably see each other less than we did when we lived across town, unless backing out of the driveway counts!
But we do text each other. Often. Texting is so great when you’re in a hurry to get an answer, keeping tabs on how everything is going or you have someone on your mind and want to let them know. But, lately I’ve been really noticing a difference between the times that we only text and the times we see each other. Our relationship and communication is different. I’ve noticed that after a bit of texting only, I feel a tiny bit of distance creeping in. I notice that I’m missing a lot of details from what is going on in her life, missing the emotions. Sometimes, when we’ve been only texting for too long, I just really miss the subtle things. I want to see the expressions on her face, hear the small inflections in her voice that only friends understand, and listen to her actual thoughts on whatever is going on in life. Those are all rich things that go missing when we use texting only.Texting is about communicating as much as possible in as few letters/emojis as possible. It’s about narrowing it down to only essential bits of information that can be conveyed in a few seconds. They might ask us, “How did that (life-changing, difficult situation) meeting go?” We text back “OK”, but what we can’t say in text is how disappointed we were in the result, how we really had to hold our attitude in check and not freak out, and how the therapist/doctor/teacher (or whatever) shared too many important things to put into a text! We only share the minimum
It is a wonderful means of quick communication, but it is not effective for maintaining depth of relationship. Can you imagine if we just spoke to our spouses and friends in real life in the same way we text, in tiny little word bursts? Some of you are laughing because your husband (or you) hardly says more than one word at a time, but honestly you would hardly know the person if that was ALL you did! Deep thoughts, dreams, and struggles can’t be communicated effectively in that few words.
So, if you care about someone, yes, do keep texting them, but take the time to (gasp!) actually dial a number on the phone and let them hear your voice. Maybe, just maybe, (double gasp!) even take the time to go & visit with them in person. Sadly, I get so comfortable with just texting, that I forget my best friend’s front door is about 50 yards away. I have to make a conscious choice to actually walk over to her home and knock on the front door. Because I live in a world where my texting count on our phone bill is the highest in our family :), it is something that I am still working on (along with calling my parents) and have a long way to go!
How has texting impacted your relationships? What are the good or bad aspects that you’re experiencing?
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Have a great day! Julie