I’m Exhausted by the “Rules” of Text Messaging

Brandy-Phone-Coat-Train-Snow Photo : Obvi, We're The Ladies

I’ve always been one to follow the so called social norms when it comes to texting. Whatever those norms are..

“Do I text him?!” 

“Did you text him first last time?”

“Well, yeah..”

“No. Don’t. That’s desperate!”

Recently I’ve found myself falling into the above pattern of conversation more times than not. When I do decide to ignore the so called desperation, I find myself physically chucking my phone across the room. Every time I text or snapchat a certain friend of mine, I can feel the insecurity eating at me. I still press send, but I cringe as I pick myself up off the bed just a few minutes later, drawn out with curiosity to retrieve my phone, and check if there is a response. I find myself shying away from keeping in contact with him because I’m worried my behavior, a simple text message, “Hey, how have you been!?” could come off as desperate.

Is there really desperation in a simple text message? I have never been able to wrap my head around why technology seems to have such a huge impact on how we view one another.  How can I really tell how a person is feeling, who they really are, or what their intentions are just by the way they type? Oh yeah, it is utterly impossible.

I find myself lately thinking about how my parents, who have 41 years of marriage tucked under their belts, did it. How did they communicate, date, and fall in love, in a time without this multitude of technology? Nowadays it seems relationships are so dependent on a simple “Good morning!” text, or the constant back and forth throughout the day, that without it something must be “off”.

“He took 10 minutes to respond, am I boring him? Did I do something wrong?”

“You should take, like, 30 minutes to respond to him! Keep him guessing.”

“Oh, you’re totally right. That’ll fix it.”

I have found myself in this situation way too many times, it saddens me actually. The fact that I overthink the amount of time a person takes to respond to me, and correlate it with their interest in me, is ridiculous. My self worth and a person’s interest in me, does not depend on the amount of time they take to respond to my text messages. It does not depend on who texts who first. It does not depend on who their best friends on snapchat are, who they tweet about, instagram all their pictures with; none of this matters. Because what really matters is the face-to-face interaction. The time spent between me and someone else. And the fact that I have to constantly remind myself of this is frustrating. I mean deep down I know this.  But time after time I catch myself shying away from sending that text message first, and I let these seemingly pointless norms keep me from doing what I really want to do.

I need to keep reminding myself that what matters is whatever I want. If I want to text someone first, I should be able to and I should not feel this force of fear of desperation holding me back. Because if someone is going to judge me off a simple text message, where is the substance in that experience anyways?

Becky Harrison : Certified klutz, free spirited, go-get-em goof ball. Loves writing poetry and the beach. Strong believer in bucket lists.