Okay, I need to get this off my chest at the risk of sounding old. And a little cranky. But hear me out.
I think it’s just a bit strange…no, not strange…maybe a better word is sad...that the younger generation (Oh, I hate sounding like this! But what else can I call them??) can’t make a simple phone call when they want to ask someone out.
I was recently having a conversation with a 20-something year-old. I’m not going to ‘out’ the person and reveal who it was, but let’s call him YM (Young Male). YM is adorable, personable and the kind of guy any girl in their right mind would want to date. And yet. YM asked a girl out (How? Through a text, of course!). They went out, had a good time. I mean, they had a date – sat face-to-face, in person; chatted for hours. And then, what you’d expect would happen, happened. They made plans to go out on a second date.
But this was all done by TEXT.
So, let me get this straight: you’re only allowed to talk in person, but not on the phone? If you don’t actually see the person, you have to type to them (ahem, I mean text them) until you see them again and then you can have a conversation with real words? Somehow, I think, that along the line, that connection is lost…where’s the continuity?
I remember meeting my husband at a party. A few days later when I was at work, a strange man called me on the phone. (It was him, actually, but I had just started a new job, and lots of new people were calling me, and I got a little confused and thought he was a new client, so I pretended I ‘knew’ him and made small talk.) After a few minutes,when he got around to asking me out, I finally realized who he was.
Oh, never mind. it’s a bit confusing. But my point is: we talked! And then we talked some more! And I actually got to know a little more about him by listening to his voice, which was just the right mixture of soft and tender and had just the right… intonation and cadence. He paused to listen to me when I spoke, and when he spoke, he sounded confident and cheerful.
When we had our first real date a week after meeting at that party, I felt like I knew him a good deal more than I had known him the week before.
I know full well that much has changed since that time; after all, it was more than 30 years ago. We might have been in the dark ages compared with today’s technology, but one thing we did have were real conversations; talk that flowed, voices that expressed pleasure, anger, disappointment, excitement. We didn’t speak in clipped short sentences or headlines, but luxuriated in letting words trickle into long sentences which then flowed into thoughts and ideas.
To me, texting resembles the types of real-life conversations that I have with my husband these days, when he’s watching football on TV (I should know better than try to engage a rabid football fan in any kind of meaningful talk during this time): abbreviated yet rushed; not substantive in any shape or form and easily dismissed – or worse – ignored.
I’m not stuck in the past. Well, not all that much. Texting has its place, I know. I use it as a last resort, like when I have to reply to someone.
But I shy away from texting, since invariably, my fingers slip on the keys. The other day, I was running late and needed to tell my friend, who was waiting for me at a restaurant. That strict schoolmarm, AKA spellcheck, totally screwed up my message. Instead of coming out, “Running late, be there in 10 mins.” she corrected it to read, “Ri biate. Be her is five mind.”
Brette Sember says
Texting makes perfect sense to me because I’m the girl who spent all her time in high school writing notes. Quick ones in class and long ones from home at night. I would rather send an email than call someone. I love texting. But I totally understand what you’re saying regarding courtship. My husband and I spent an hour on the phone each night from the day we met till the day we got married. It was important. But I do think it is possible to communicate well via written word.
I have been late getting to the texting party, but I have to say that I kind of like the running conversations you can have via text. One friend and I text during tv shows and it’s fun. And texting is helpful when you stupid cellphone won’t work correctly via voice!
I understand what you’re saying about dating via text, but I guess it’s natural to the YMs and YFs.
Irene S. Levine says
What really gets me riled is when people use text shortcuts in print or electronic conversations like this one!
i no wht u meen!
Melanie @ Frugal Kiwi says
Actually calling on the phone here in NZ costs the earth, so I understand why people text, but txt spk does drive me nuts.
I’m even more in the dark ages: don’t own a cell phone on which to text!
Kerry Dexter says
I’m with you on texting — for any reason, really. Perhaps it’s because as a musician part of conversation to me is cadence and sound, and like you, I learn things about people and feel more connected to them through voice. Also, I spend enough time online anyway, no need to substitute text on a phone for conversation. That seems to be more and more the way of things, though…
I used to be a non-understander of texting, but now I love it for many things. I have to say, having a built-in keyboard on my phone makes it all the better. It does not replace face-to-face contact/conversations, and in my opinion shouldn’t be used to circumvent them, except for mundane or silly things. I am not sure what to think about arranging a second date via text. It might portend what the relationship could look like in five years. But if both people are satisfied with that…
ruth pennebaker says
I used to hate texting, too, until I started doing it. It’s not real conversation — but then, neither is email, and I think I’d wither on the vine without email. As long as they’re meeting and talking in the flesh, what’s wrong with a little supplementary texting in between?
Vera Marie Badertscher says
I text when I have to reply, or need to get the attention of one of my grandchildren who don’t use e-mail and refuse to answer the phone (or listen to messages.) But I’m thinking if texting were in when I was dating, I’d have automatically rejected a lot of guys because I’m a grammar and spelling snob.
Next suggested subject: the compulsion to tell everyone where you are every minute. I got over that about 10th grade. What the ……?????
Living Large says
I actually hate texting, but there are certain family members who will not answer their phones anymore. I’m actually starting to get sources who will not answer their phones, but would rather return a call by texting. Ugh.
Jeanine Barone says
I txt frequently but not instead of phone conversations or meeting in person with friends. I got into txting before most of my friends because it was popular in Europe (where I spent many summers) way before it became in the U.S.
I’m a texter, but then again I’ve got a teen and that’s a great way to communicate. I just find texting so convenient. I didn’t think I’d like it either, but now I’m a believer.
Jane Boursaw says
I confess, I’m a texter. My kids and family know I’m a texter, and if they want to get my attention, they should text me. I just texted my luddite sister the other day and said the same thing. I don’t know if she knows her phone has the texting ability yet though.
I think it’s sad that so many of the comments reflect family members who no longer answer phone calls. not to toss stones..mine ( YM’s) don’t either, frequently. We now have a shorthand which means you better answer now, or soon..I include 911 in the message I’m sending. You’re free to borrow this idea with your friendsnfamily. I also came late to the texting party…and I even just got a “smart” phone (tho donated, not purchased). Unfortunately, the user is not-so-smart, so many features go unappreciated.