Text is a great tool. It saves time and in occasions is the best way to communicate important information when we are in a middle of a meeting or in noisy places that make it difficult to talk. Sometimes we just want to reach someone and a personal conversation is practically impossible. Our lives are full with meetings, errands, work, family and many other things that we are usually exhausted and, let’s admit it; there are days or moments that we don’t want to talk to anyone. However there is no way for a text conversation to convey any real sense of intention, mood or emotion. When you use text to communicate with someone, there is a lot lost in the process. Texting more often than not, can be misinterpreted or construed in the wrong way. Face to face conversations or even phone conversations are always better.
I am a relational kind of guy, I like to talk to people and understand them better. Texting my way with someone is not a way to develop a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I use text but to give or get directions, ask questions or joke around with people I already know well. These “text” conversations are more relaxed because there was a previous relationship that has been developed over time. But when I meet someone new or that I am still in the process of getting a deeper understanding, I have found however that text conversations can change the mood of the relationship just because of the lack of emotions. It is basically lost in translation, so to speak.
I have also found that texting our way in life desensitizes people. We don’t feel it at the moment or even think of it that way, but we start to loose our sense of community and think of relationships like a mere transaction. When relationships matter, we need to be careful. Jesus himself stated this principle in John 15; without a relationship with HIM, we could do nothing. Relationships are everything in life. Why would we water down such an important part of our existence? The fallout of a misinterpreted text can be ugly, and I have heard of instances of even deadly. In the end almost always we have to go back and fix with a personal interaction what an impersonal text has damaged.
Here are some practical guidelines that can be used as to when or when not to use this technology. These are just some, you might find that there can be more do’s and do not’s, but for starters here are a few.
Text should be used to:
- Encourage someone
- Give or get directions
- Answer a simple question or those that require just a yes or no
- Thank someone
- Send a reminder
- Anything that is practical and not of a relational nature
Never use text:
- While driving. I will admit it, I have been guilty on this one
- For contractual conversations, it can be costly
- For counseling; a big NO
- To build or address relational conversations, with friends, spouses, family or significant others, Need to say more?
- When building or ending a relationship. Man up or Woman up!
- To chastise or correct someone. Always show grace.
- To get even with someone. Use the high road, always.
- Send inappropriate media.
It’s quite simple, Is it personal or transactional? Will it build or destroy? Is it honorable or dishonorable? Is it urgent or can it wait? Above all we should use common sense and caution when using text. To text or not to text?
“BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE Boldly”
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© Copyright Danny Maldonado, 2013
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.