I Don’t Like Texting
I haven’t told anyone this, but I don’t like texting. Here’s why:
- Texts imply an obligation to reply SOON no matter what I’m doing.
- People get testy about interpreting texts! If you use the wrong word (“Sure” instead of YES! LAUGHING HEART EYES EMOJI) people assume you’re upset.
- As texts become common they’re taking the place of better forms of communication.
Here are the limited circumstances in which I feel texts are appropriate:
- Making meetup arrangements. “How about Wednesday at 3?”
- Transit updates. “I’ll be there in 20 minutes.”
- Quick spousal reminders. “Please pick up milk at the store.”
- Exchanging salty political memes with my mother. (per mutual agreement)
I Regret the Inconvenience of Being Me
Despite my dislike of text messages I haven’t asked people to stop texting me. Mostly, I don’t want friends and family to think I don’t want to hear from them! If I come out as an anti-texter I risk reducing communication from people I value. And it also feels rather selfish, no? “Please accommodate my preferences even though they’re totally out of sync with the world at large. I regret the inconvenience of being me.”
So I treat texts like emails. I leave my phone on silent and face down, and sometimes I stick it in a drawer all day. Unless I need to use my phone I tend to check messages at lunch and at the end of the day. This satisfies me but it’s led to some awkward moments. Last week I picked up my phone to make a call for a meeting and the person I was set to meet with had been frantically texting me about changing our meeting time. I had to ask myself, Reddit style, Am I the Asshole?
Here’s my line in the sand: I decline to make myself constantly available. And at risk of sounding like a lunatic, I often feel that “The Internet” (as manifest through my smartphone) has taken on sentience while my body has been downgraded to a biological peripheral. The phone beeps, and I look. It chimes, and I look. It vibrates, and I must look. Is there any wonder why I turn the thing off and shove it in a drawer? Sometimes, even when I’m not using the damn phone, I feel its presence like an invisible tether. I can sense my my free will draining away, byte by byte.
I am never alone when my phone is active and near my body. Thus solitude is as much a state of mind as it is a state of physical positioning. Why do I dislike texting? Because texting implies one is never allowed to be alone, offline, unreachable, and free from interruption. I feel no hesitation in turning off unwanted notifications on my phone. But turning off texts? That’s so much harder.
Still, I’ll admit that texting isn’t all bad. My favorite text message of last week was: Can I call you tonight to say hi? How about 7ish?
I’ll admit, that was a nice one! :)