We live in a world where social media rules as the way to connect. Because people over share every minute of their day you can feel like you really know someone you have never met. But what about the people you do know? The ones that you care about and are a part of your inner circle. How do you communicate with them? Most of us use the same ways we connect with a stranger to connect with our precious loved ones. If it's not through social media, it's almost always a text or an email but very rarely is it an actual phone call. Let me just be blunt, texting is the lazy path to connect with the ones you love. Texting someone is not the same as calling and FaceTiming is not the same as visiting them in person.
Texting and emailing require the least amount of effort in a relationship of any kind, so the fact that we have collectively chosen to communicate mostly through that way makes me sad and mad at the same time. Sad because some people really think they are connecting in a deep way via text and mad because people want you to receive a text like it was a huge effort on their part. It is not. What a text tells me is that you don’t value me as much as I thought you did. You have taken the path of least resistance. It does not deepen our relationship and there is almost always an opportunity to misinterpret someone’s tone, which can lead to taking well-meaning messages completely the wrong way. If we are cool and I’ve never mentioned this to you please forgive me for allowing you to think that texting me was a form of communication that made me feel really connected to you, and super valued in your world. It does not.
In this day and age, I understand I may be an anomaly with this one, but I’m okay with that. If texting or emailing is your primary form of communication with the people you care about and they feel it speaks volumes of love, value and connection for them as it does for you, stop reading now. But if you’re anything like me and it conveys that you are not worth a real effort to the other person please keep reading and start requiring more. Ask the other person for what you really want and what you really need to feel valued in the relationship and not just what is easy and convenient for them.
Now I’m not saying that texts or emails mean nothing, but when that is how you communicate 90 percent of the time you are in a relationship of diminishing returns. People text, email, inbox and DM strangers on Instagram all day every day, so tell me how is it special when they do it to you? It isn’t.
And group texts are the absolute worst. You’re telling me you feel the exact same way about everyone in the group and what you tell the one you can tell all? I think not. There’s usually one core person that binds the rest of the group together, however, people carry on like the closeness is the same with everyone in the group when it is so the opposite. It’s just an easy way to stay connected with people you are unwilling to put in one on one time with. Make no mistake about it, if you feel only having a text-based relationship with someone reduces your value; imagine that same person making you a part of a group text. Whether anyone says it or not most of the group is only interested in a few people on the list and could utterly give two shits about everybody else.
This really shows its ugly head when your phone keeps buzzing with responses from people you have never met because someone has added you to a group text or a Facebook group without your knowledge. In these cases, we make no bones about exiting stage left and getting out but anything less than that we suffer quietly without saying a word. Now if you love group texts and are super close to everybody in your group then, of course, I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to the folks who are in groups and want to get out.
At least Facebook gives you the option to leave with the ability to never be asked back again. However, if you are in a group text you have to actually voice to someone that you want out. And nobody's really doing that. They just chime in when necessary or become that group member who never responds to anything. Now I do believe group texts can sometimes be helpful like when it comes to logistical things such as a time change or new venue location, planning a brunch date or a girls trip that everybody really wants to go on. But just to be grouped together with everybody whom I feel varying levels of intimacy with is not special to me at all. It feels more like being in a town hall meeting where people give their opinions about random stuff I could care less about. I feel it’s a lazy way to connect and impersonal at best. But just like anything else in life, if it works for you and your peoples, ignore me, and carry on.
I feel special when people I care about put forth an effort to call, connect and share something of value with me. When they FaceTime me because hearing my voice is just not enough when they are away from me, or sending me a thoughtful gift to communicate what I mean to them. And the absolute ultimate, hold on, wait for it...to actually get in a car or take a flight to visit me because technology and gifts just won’t do it for them anymore.
I know for some people in this generation texting and using social media will suffice just fine. They are happy if you just respond to them with an emoji whether it is individually or in a group. That will never be enough for me. No text or email will ever replace someone actually picking up the phone to call me or getting in their car to come see me or FaceTiming me because they are far away and my voice is just not enough.
We allow people to be their most lazy self with us and then wonder why we are not fulfilled in our relationships. People send you a one-line text and act like they really connected with you. Puh-lease, I feel more connected to my Twitter followers or YouTube subscribers who respond positively to a thought I shared or a video I worked hard to create and upload.
If you love someone and all you are doing is texting, inboxing, dm’ing or shouting him or her out in a group text please step your game up. But hey, I’m self-aware enough to realize I’m not the average bear and it’s also 2018. So if texting, inboxing, dm’ing or group texting the people you care about sincerely meets all their needs and works best for you just go ahead and disregard everything I wrote. This is specifically for those of us who need to require more to feel valued by the people we care about. I know typing behind a keyboard may be more comfortable for you, but know that as human beings we are equipped to do more. So, stop being lazy, and put in some real effort to communicate beyond your phone or inbox.
Conveying real value to the ones you love will always pay off in the end. And this rant is not exclusive to any particular type of relationship. This lazy way of connecting has affected us all, be it a parent, a child, a friend, a marriage or a lover. Do more. The dividends will upgrade your relationship to the one you actually deserve instead of the one you are currently settling for.
So until my next rant, I must now stop typing, put my phone down and actually go engage face to face with someone I care about.