Avoid texting so much: Science shows how it's psychologically messing with you

Texting

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Bron:Collective Evolution

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Bewustzijn, (Grens)wetenschap, (Verborgen) nieuws

Texting is one of the biggest forms of communication in today’s world. From being able to send an important message without the lag time of a phone ringing or having to leave a voicemail, to sending passively funny statements and exchanging pictures and emojis, it’s become more than just a means of communication, but a multi-purposeful platform for self-expression. But is it entirely a good thing? Should we be speaking with one another more often instead?

While many of us get excited over the customized ding that indicates a new message, what about the aching feeling of waiting for an answer that never comes?

What about when you’re busy and respond quickly to a question instead of your usual vibrant, upbeat reply, and your friend asks if you’re okay because it seemed rude?

And how about feeling obligated to respond to every text, every time, on time? It’s a lot of pressure to always be “on.”

But it’s just texting. It can’t really be that detrimental to our wellbeing. Or can it?

Many of us wholeheartedly love texting as our preferred form of fast and casual communication, but just like many other forms, it’s important to take a step back and see how it might be in your favor to put down your phone and pick up your head every now and again.

Here are six reasons why:

1. The lack of tactics used in non-verbal communication.
In everyday life, we rely on voice inflection, facial expressions, and body language to interact with people in a way that allows them to understand how we feel and what we mean. These things are obviously not possible via texting. And while there are different forms, say the use of caps, exclamation points, and emojis, sometimes it’s the initial wording that can throw someone off and create a downward spiral. Bottom line, it is easy to misinterpret texting.

2. Men and women often value texting differently.
As a woman, I can certainly vouch for the fact that men simply don’t send 10 emojis and a novel every single time they text me or respond to something I’ve said, whether it be a significant other or a friend.

Men, you may wonder why women never seem interested in ending a texting conversation, or how they can go on forever with their girlfriends about anything and everything.

Each gender values communication differently, having different significances. Sometimes they align, and sometimes they don’t. Ronald D. Smith, a communications professor at Buffalo State (SUNY), believes men communicate to convey information while women do so to create intimacy.

The problem is not getting what you put out. Women want to bond, while men want to exchange information, and if the communication is not aligned to the others’ needs, someone can get annoyed or even angry. It creates conflict where no conflict ought to be.

Of course, this is a generalization, and doesn’t hold true for every man and every woman. Gender rules don’t always make sense, as people are individuals with unique personality traits first and foremost. But, should it feel relatable to you, perhaps this can serve as an awakening for ridding yourself of the unnecessary confusion surrounding your texting woes.

3. It can create an unrealistic sense of power.
Power is thought to be the ability to influence or direct the behavior of others. With texting, we give the power to someone else by waiting on them to respond to our text message. We are also given power by someone else to get back to them as well.

How often have you forgotten to get back to someone and been accused of not caring or ignoring them? Perhaps you’ve done the same. The false sense of power circulates for no reason at all. We get down on ourselves and others because of how and when we reach out or respond.

Knowing you might not receive a text back creates this power struggle of who should stop the conversation first. Unlike hanging up the phone or walking away from someone, we can simply slip our phones into our back pockets and escape without anyone knowing it until enough time has passed that they eventually get it.

This vulnerability disconnects us from the ability to politely begin and end a conversation, and to anticipate replies.

4. The “read receipt” can mess with our minds.
You have the option of turning this feature on or off on an iPhone, and if you opt for it to be on, you’re allowing anyone who texts you to know when you’ve read it. Sounds nice for the other person, but it’s sort of a trap for you. If you have it off, the message remains as “delivered,” in which case you’re letting others know you may not get back to them for quite some time, or you might respond immediately. It’s just a guessing game.

The read receipt once again contributes to the false sense of power that texting creates. If it’s on and you don’t respond, you cause others to worry over why you chose not to get back to them. However, it also creates the need for the sender to immediately get a response if they’ve seen that you’ve read their message.

Source: Collective Evolution | Alexa Erickson

Inspired by balance, Alexa finds that her true inner peace comes from executing a well-rounded lifestyle. An avid yogi, hiker, beach bum, music and art enthusiast, salad aficionado, adventure seeker, animal lover, and professional writer, she is an active individual who loves to express herself through the power of words.


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