We love texting. We really love it. Not sure why, but maybe because it’s easy and quick and uncomplicated, yet allows you to go deep if you choose. But texting gets a bad rap. We know the negatives, the way texting discourages human interactions, the way it's hard to judge one's tone, blah blah blah. We love it anyway, and we’re not backing down.
1. Texting is a great conversation starter or easy way to let someone know you’re thinking about them. Have you ever texted ‘hi’ to a friend? Or your mom? Or your husband? Or anyone? Try it, you might like it.
2. So many things are easier to say on text, and while that may be a negative for kids when they’re being mean and hiding behind a computer, for us adults hiding behind that computer may be the safest way to share something that makes us feel vulnerable or uncomfortable.
3. Sometimes, it's just more fun. Or funny. In real life, ‘how are you’ or ‘what’s up?’ or ‘how’s things?’ is automatically met with ‘fine, how are you?’ or ‘nothing, you?’ or ‘all good, thanks.’ Yawn. In text, you can actually answer the ‘how are you’ question the way you want to.
A: how r u?
L: maybe eh
A: is eh better or worse than meh?
L: marginally worse
L: head hurts
L: low grade headache
L: and shaky
A: sounds awesome
A: and kinda familiar
A: and same as yesterday
A: and the day before
A: and maybe the day before that
L: fuck off
4. When you’re texting, you have a few minutes to pause, formulate your thoughts and say exactly what you mean. Or what your most clever, thoughtful, just-give-me-an-extra-minute self would say.
5. Texting is an effective way to relate to your kids. We’re not advocating that you never speak to your family live, it’s just that texting can be a good alternative. For starters, it may be easier to send a message when something is hard to say (for example, always use protection or i'm sorry). It’s also good to have your rules in writing so ‘they’ can’t wiggle their way out (for example, be home by 11pm or you’re grounded next weekend - here's looking at you, Ben & Charlie).
Maybe if we stopped judging texting as a cop-out and impersonal means of communication, we could see its virtues. See virtuous text string below.
A: do you think i’m too old to wear a romper? can you ask ellie?
L: if we have to ask ellie then you’re too old
A: but it’s so cute. ok, fine. what about high top sneakers?
L: same as above
A: wow, cranky this morning
A: no sleep again?
L: no sleep ever
A: about what this time?
L: now i’m not telling you
L: ok, fine i’ll tell you
L: my big kids went back to school
L: i’m sad, I just hate not knowing what they do every day
L: and my house is so quiet
A: did u have a good cry?
L: i don’t let myself cry enough. maybe i’m insensitive
L: but do u wanna hear a weird thing about being insensitive?
A: tell me everything
L: when ellie was young she said to me ‘mom you’re like an oreo, tough and hard on the outside but soft on the inside’
L: i’ve always loved she said that
L: she probably wouldn’t even remember saying it
A: you should remind her
A: sometimes I feel more like a frozen oreo
A: but I did cry on Halloween
A: all those little superheroes choked me up
A: and I may have eaten an entire bite-sized butterfinger
A: to drown my sorrows
A: and thanks for referencing ellie again
A: and reminding me i don’t have a daughter
A: and how great yours is
A: in other news, i may or may not have played possum last night