twice in one week i’ve sent texts to the wrong person. one, intended for my husband, asking him to turn the volume down on the television, went to my brother an entire state away. the other, describing a frustrating experience i had with someone, went to that person instead of to my friend who i knew would “get it.” oops.
ultimately, i’m glad that second text went where it went. i shouldn’t speak poorly about an encounter with someone to anyone other than that person. it’s hurtful. it’s poor practice. it’s bad manners. it’s immature. the receipt of the wayward text forced a conversation that needed to happen. it happened in person and deepened a relationship worth deepening. it also humbled me. that is never a bad thing. i’m also glad my brother received my volume text. it made me realize that i really had become so comfortable with texting that i was using it to enable my laziness. seriously. i could have walked up the stairs and simply asked about the volume. had it really come to this? me texting my family members who were in the same house with me?
this repeated accidental experience has got me thinking. i’m wondering alot about how all of our new forms of communication are affecting how and what we express to eachother. my awareness is heightened regarding how many of my communication efforts are now made in short phrases. sent impulsively. un-considered, really, compared to the care of a thoughtfully composed written communique or the effort involved in a face to face or voice to voice encounter. i’m realizing that texting, for me, simply provides yet one more way to get more done.
texting may be enabling me to get “more” communicating done, but the depth, the accuracy, and the intentionality of much of this communication is severely lacking.
as with almost everything, nothing is all good or all bad. it would be easy to idealize the “old days” and claim that i loved phone calls, written letters, and multitudes of face to face meetings. the truth is, however, i did not. i enjoy being able to nail down scheduling issues in email, check-ins via text, and using both mediums to send encouraging messages. my efficiency is up. my relational accuracy, however, is on a serious decline.
i am using this series of mistakes as an opportunity to challenge myself. to motivate me to make sure that i don’t begin to text that information which my relationships would be benefitted by my saying, or at least writing/constructing with more care and forethought. that i don’t do conflict, intimacy, or “taking the easy way out” via digitally sent messages from my phone to yours. i am asking myself to communicate with intention. to stop what i’m doing and fully communicate in engaged ways. not just impulsively text you something that really does deserve more effort. i’m forcing myself to respond to incoming messages only when i can do so while really paying attention. the indicator buzz is not a call to action. if it is then the moment i am currently in is always at risk of being hijacked by someone outside of it. what more chaotic reality could my insides ask for?
sometimes it’s important to wait. to initiate and to respond. to do so with intention and forethought and in the way that makes most sense rather than the way we have become habituated to. our messages will most effectively reach our intended audience when we are focused enough to make sure they do. and focus cannot be sent via text...