Saturday, July 16, 2011

Video Killed The Radio Star, But Texting Killed The Romance

Did you know that your mobile device has a feature that allows you to talk to your friends in real-time and hear them, as well? It’s amazing! It’s called a “telephone call.” You simply dial a number that’s been assigned to your friend, they are alerted of your desire to talk to them by an audible sound of their choosing (traditionally a sound of ringing bells) and they answer …. Voila! You can talk to each other for hours and hours … or only for a moment, if that’s your desire… and actually enjoy a conversation where the sound of their voice, their infectious laughter, and their tone and meaning are able to come through loud and clear. I know, I know… the technology is mind boggling… but it really works! Trust me; I talk to my friends this way from time to time.
Yes, I’m being snarky. Don’t get me wrong, I do text, and I find it useful and convenient for some things, but really people, what ever happened to the phone call? Especially in male/female relationships? Seriously, have we gotten that lazy that we can’t find the energy and drive to actually SPEAK to the people in our lives? Is it too much effort to actually engage in a real conversation where you have to actually give your undivided attention to another human being for a few minutes? It’s bad enough when my female friends want to discuss something important over text and burn a hole in my cell phone but when a man wants to talk to me… really… if he can’t pick up the phone and speak to me I pretty much get turned off and think “no manners on that one.” Besides, I’m really not into the idea of dating the equivalent of an “app.” If all you’re going to do is text me all the time then I’m better off to just read a book.
The whole point of communicating with someone should go much deeper than just the exchange of random crap like “running ten minutes late,” which, by the way, is what texting should be for. Communication should be a little more of a human interaction than that. It’s stimulation of the brain, the art of conversation, the sound of your voice, the spontaneous changes of subject, the laughter, the connection… you see what I’m driving at here? I have nothing against the texting of a sweet message like “Miss you” or some other small phrase that speaks a thousand words in its ability to convey  that you can’t stop yourself from contacting your sweetie. Those texts are marvelous and romantic and give a girl a serious case of the warm fuzzies and can earn you lots of brownie points to be cashed in at bed time. (Or dinner time, or shower time, or you know… whenever.) It’s also great to get a text when we know you’re in a meeting or someplace you shouldn’t be texting us. Actually, that’s pretty damn hot.
However… when you’re on the sofa, or otherwise engaged in just “killing time” and you text us to “talk,” it’s basically like telling us that we’re pretty much on the bottom of your priority list. I know everyone is into “multi-tasking” now, but come on… human beings are still way more important than machines. Televisions, Wii consoles, laptops, smart phones… they’re going to be there for those moments when you truly have nothing better to do. They aren’t going to pack up and move out of your apartment if you neglect them. One of my favorite sayings in the whole world is “happiness is only real when shared.” It’s something I saw in a movie. (Into The Wild) In all honesty, your relationships with people are truly the things you should be working on in your life. Not just the people you date, but all of the people in your life.
Texting has its place (and so does sexting, actually,) but you can’t base a relationship on it. A relationship should NEVER get to the point where texting is the form of communication of choice. Relationships are supposed to progress and blossom and become stronger and bring people closer. There is an element of human connection that is lost in texting. Things don’t translate clearly, for one thing; sometimes causing unnecessary arguments or misunderstandings. Secondly, with texting, it’s impossible to have an actual conversation: a FULL  conversation. Texting doesn’t convey the true emotion that is in someone’s voice, it doesn’t allow for the natural flow of idea exchange, and it sure as hell doesn’t create bonds between people.  And for the love of God... if I call you and leave you a message, don't respond with a text saying "Hey, got your message. What's up?" If I called, you - have the decency to call me back unless you're suffering from laryngitis.
The next time you have to tell someone something, or ask someone something, or even just want to ask how someone is doing, call them. Get comfy and settle into your chair and actually have a human to human conversation with them. You might recall the sensation from your childhood. It’s an amazing thing, human interaction. It brings people closer together. What’s really great, though, is when that phone call leads to “getting together.” Now, THAT is really something special. Yes, I’m being snarky again, sorry. We all have a little spare time in which to cultivate our relationships; the next time you think of someone, try calling them. It could be surprisingly pleasant. I know for me, the greatest thing is the sound of laughter coming from someone I care about. It just loses something in translation when all I get to do is see the letters LOL. Well, gotta go for now, the phone’s ringing!  (not mine, yours!)

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