Text arguments are ubiquitous.  We live in a society where smartphones seem to be involved in everything we do. If you’re guilty of having lengthy conversations via text, you’re not alone. But, one thing you should never do is engage in text arguments.

You can easily hide behind the screen of your phone when you’re angry and things get heated between you and the person on the line. Truthfully, there are so many things that could go wrong in prolonged text arguments, you’re likely to just end up making matters worse.

Disagreeing or fighting with someone is never easy. But, using your words, even “fighting words,” out loud and face to face is nearly always the better option. Still not convinced? Let’s take a closer look at a few reasons why text arguments are never the best way to hash things out.

Texting is Too Impulsive

It’s so easy to feel brave and quick-witted behind a screen, thus texting becomes very impulsive. Your thumbs are flying with a retort before your brain processes the consequences of what you might say.

When you’re looking someone in the eye during an argument, you can get a better sense of how they might be affected by your words.

Text arguments don’t give you the input needed to signal that you’ve gone too far or need to stop and think about your actions before saying anything more. So, of course, you’re more likely to say something you’ll regret later. Something that the other party has in writing.  And now your texts are out of your hands.  Potentially they can be re-read or shared in ways that further harm the relationship or even your reputation.

Emotions Are Misunderstood in Text Arguments

Whether you use specific punctuation, descriptive words, or even emojis, there is no way to accurately depict real emotions through text. Thus, someone might be reading your words the wrong way.

Text messages can’t detect sarcasm, real anger, or sadness. You may be able to explain some of what you intend to convey with words, but there is nothing more important in an argument than being able to accurately share your true concerns and emotions.

Because you can’t read someone’s body language, facial expression, tone of voice, or level of engagement through text, you really can’t read their true feelings either. Are they paying attention? Are they taking you seriously?

This can lend itself to projecting emotions onto the other person’s texts. You might start to think you know what they’re feeling or what they mean. That’s a dangerous game to play. In your heightened emotional state, you could be jumping to conclusions and making the situation much worse than it already is.

In general, not being able to accurately sense or send emotions through text can actually lead to a lot of cycling miscommunication and offense throughout the argument. Not to mention paranoia about the meaning behind each line of text.

It’s Easy to Make Mistakes

How many times have you made a typo or gotten frustrated with auto”correct” on your phone? Now, imagine those problems during a text argument. It’s not the time or place to let something like autocorrect make decisions for you. An accidental typo could make the argument even worse.

If you’re angry, you’re likely texing quickly, your mind running faster than your fingers so it’s even easier to misspell something you were trying to say. Think of the implications of leaving out a “not” or the “‘t” in “can’t.”  When you’re going through a serious argument, mistakes like that can end up derailing your honest intentions. You may end up leaving an important matter unresolved or festering because you’re annoyed by the miscommunication created by the technology.

Texting is Unreliable

Messages don’t always go through. Sometimes they’re out of order. Sometimes the person you’re texting may not be by their phone or focused solely on you. If they don’t respond right away, it could lead to even more paranoia and fuel your anger.

And it’s possible they’re not responding right away because they’re thinking about what to say.  And how to say it.  But you won’t know that – all you’ll “hear” is silence.

Safe Ways to End a Text Argument

If someone initiates an argument via text, it’s best not to respond right away. Back away from the phone. Take time to breathe through your initial response and reply calmly. Think about what you really want to communicate.

Or, better yet, simply offer to meet with them to talk face-to-face about the problem. Explain to them that you want to resolve the issue, but you are not willing to do so via text.  When you make the time to meet face-to-face, it shows that you care enough about that individual to engage them as a whole person and get things sorted out.

If you’re truly passionate about a topic, you can’t rely on text messages to make your case. Be heard and understood.  Use texts as a feature of convenience, not a substitute for real life.  Texting is not a reliable way to hold lengthy, important conversations. Rarely use texts for serious arguments or meaningful solutions. Your relationships deserve more time, consideration, and respect. Text arguments might be the easy way out, but they certainly aren’t an effective way to secure lasting connections.

And, if you’re interested in a story about a text argument averted by a passcode and a shower – read here.

Couples therapy can help you navigate misunderstandings and improve communication. For more information call 917-873-0506.

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