Textual Relations

I first started texting in 2001 when I spent 6 months in Paris as an exchange student. Everybody texted because it was cheaper than calls.  When I returned texting didn’t catch on until a while later.

Now texting is one of the new norms for communicating.  Sometimes I’ll send texts back and forth with somebody before getting irritated, picking up the phone to call and go directly to voicemail.  Then I’m always wondering why the other person didn’t pick up, especially if s/he was available for texting.

In some situations texting is super useful, for example if you’re in a loud place and need to find people.  Or if you need to send a quick note.  But making plans, or starting a relationship with texting can be daunting, especially when you don’t really know the other person.  The reason is because texting eliminates nuance, tone, inflection, expression and many other things we naturally react to when we actually converse with somebody in person or even over the phone/video calling.

Having been out on numerous dates in my lifetime, I’ve noticed a pattern developing all centered around texting.  Here’s how the scenario usually goes:

  1. Two people meet with a mutual attraction
  2. Information is exchanged
  3. Person A initiates by texting
  4. Person B responds by texting

Basically what happens is steps 3 & 4 repeated ad nauseam.  I’ve ended up in these textual relations where either nothing really much happens and it gets very boring dragged out over weeks.  I’ll receive lots of useless texts along the lines of “what’s up?”, “how’s it going?” or my favorite “were [sic] you at?”  This last one was actually asking me out on a date, in case you missed it, because I certainly did at the time.

Or a whole relationship develops over text without any real physical contact happening.  I read an article about this called “Pro Tip: Hold Your Texts Til the Third Date.”  The “couple” followed the steps outlined above except actually developed a relationship complete with inside jokes, frequent check ins, long heartful texts, all without any physical contact.  When they did finally manage to go on a date it was awful.  The woman was in a total quandary about if she had to break up with the guy because they really only had a textual relation.  And if so, how she was supposed to do it?  The answer is with a text, of course!

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