OMG! “What did they mean by that? What do you think they are saying?” “Why did they wait a day and a half to say this?”
Here are a few ideas about that unsatisfying text message you just read:
- They can’t spell.
- They don’t edit predictive texting.
- They’re watching football.
- They can’t, or don’t want to wax on eloquently like in romance novels.
- They missed the memo on how to send pithy, loving, and validating text statements.
- They are not mind-readers and wrote the text before pondering the meaning of life.
- The text came in at the same time they walked into a meeting or was posting the best photo ever on Instagram!
Here are a few ideas about what many think the person meant:
- They feel loved and validated by words of affirmation. Many of us feel loved when we are told nice things about ourselves. See Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages.
- Their emotions guide their decision making, and the person fills in the blanks when they don’t have all the facts.
- The person lives in their head (those are the intellectual types) and they are overthinking the meaning of the text. Many of us look for reasons to not trust because we fear being hurt. Before we open up our heart to the chance of being hurt, we nip it in the bud.
- They are triggered by messages suggesting they are, not good enough, not smart enough, or are unlovable. Texting is like being fed crumbs of food. Like the plant named Aubrey 2 in Little Shop of Horrors, many of us need more and more and more, and it’s often exhausting for our partners when we want daily feedings of affirmation via text messaging all through the day.
Here’s the deal – Emotional texting is a bad idea.
I’m not saying anything about good or bad ways of loving and living. I’m not judging anyone who needs words of affirmation. It happens to be one of my primary love languages.
What I am suggesting is emotional texting is akin to being fed crumbs when we’re starving. Like in the movie Little Shop of Horrors, Aubrey 2 is insatiable!
“Feed me, Seymore, feed me all night long!
It’s hard to consistently affirm someone via text. Words alone just don’t work for those of us who read between the lines. For some of us, words need to be accompanied by inflections and tones in our voices, and facial expressions. It’s about how we turn toward our partners and physically connect with them. Those crucial body cues, combined with words, is what feeds many of our souls.
So, what do we do about it? Here’s a Tip from the Trail encouraging us to open up a dialogue about how, and when we text each other.
When you first start a relationship, discuss your texting habits, and develop mutually agreed upon texting ground rules.
- Come to an understanding about compartmentalizing your love life and work life. When you are at work, you are working and do not emotionally engage. Discuss respecting each other’s boundaries. It’s not about not loving each other, it’s about moving through our busy days, and not always having to work out emotional content at inappropriate times.
- Consider not texting during work hours except for an agreed-upon, midday text of an emoji, or an “I love you” statement. Talk about what those little emojis mean to each of you. Some guys hate them. Some women hate the emoji with the tongue hanging out. Sounds stupid, but these things matter to many of us. Discuss what works for you and what doesn’t, connect, and get back to work.
I hope this helps save a few relationships or start a new relationship with a clearer understanding of how texting can create unnecessary drama between two, well-meaning people.
Happy trails to you today,