Most of us have a mobile or cell phone at our disposal pretty much 24/7. So when we’re arguing with others regardless of who they are, it can be really tempting to carry it on via text.
Unlike verbal or face-to-face communication, digital communication is in a class of its own. There are real dangers of communicating using this medium particularly when the conversation is heated.
People need to be aware that although texts are super handy, there are also downsides to communicating this way particularly during an argument. Firstly, tech issues such as spellcheck can interject into a conversation. This can add fuel to the fire. Unfortunately the person on the other end won’t be aware the text they received was corrected. They will take it at face value and this can prolong an argument.
Then there’s the premature send. I’m sure most of us would have accidentally done this and it’s caused no harm. However when arguing via text we might rethink our words before sending. If this opportunity is missed we may send words we’d possibly delete before sending.
Additionally some texts may never get to a recipient, a phone may go flat or be turned off. This too can spark a texting war due to the lack of response. We can’t know for certain what’s happening so presumptions often heighten or even cause arguments. Therefore, we need to keep all this in mind which isn’t easy in the heat of the moment.
Another danger of arguing via text is the way we communicate. Although we may think our text messages are similar to the way we communicate in other ways, we need to be aware that isn’t always the case. For one text messages can easily be misinterpreted especially during an argument. This occurs because people search for the tone of the text.
This is done instinctively in traditional ways of communicating and while this is relatively straight forward, correctly identifying the tone of a text can leave plenty of room for error. For example, even a simple word like ok can mean various things when we add tone to our voice. Therefore when we argue via text the things we say can often be misconstrued. This is when things can get ugly!
There’s also the fact that people say things in texts which they wouldn’t say during other forms of communication. This is because they can’t physically see or hear a reaction. Someone can emotionally destroy another person with their words without really understanding how they’ve effected them.
Of course some idea can be gained by a response but it’s much easier to identify hurt feelings face-to-face or verbally. This is why some texts can get vicious or threatening. Without a clue to how the other person is reacting things can get quite server quite quickly.
So regardless of who is on the other end of a texting argument or whether a lack of response starts the initial fury, people should really refrain from arguing via text. While it maybe preferable to text someone a negative comment, it should be done face-to-face or via a phone call. That way there is less room for the downsides of digital technology to interject. Plus you’ll likely find the argument will be resolved much quicker.
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Kim is a writer and SHESAID's resident psychologist. A self-proclaimed tomboy who understands more about relationships and men than she ever will about glitz and glamour. Follow Kim on Google+.