With technology radically changing our lives, some things have been sacrificed. Two of the traditional things falling to the wayside are the telephone and face-to-face conversation. Sure people are now making greater use of video chat but the simple act of calling someone to talk has been replaced by texting, as indeed have many occasions when people used to meet. I still prefer to converse in person and you might too when you see why you should talk instead of text.
There are several reasons to talk instead of text messaging somebody when you've had a disagreement or want to end a relationship that isn't working. It is much harder to disrespect a person when you're face-to-face with them. Meeting on "neutral ground", such as a cafe for example, means people who tend to rant and rave in texts will pull themselves together and not get so over-emotional in public when you meet them to talk. Instead of making matters worse, you stand a chance to resolve conflicts amicably.
Even small encouraging noises like a grunt, an "I see" or "is that so" will show you the person you're talking to is listening and paying attention. You don't get that with a text. You'll feel more understood and validated when you talk to somebody, and their facial expressions and body language will give away what they are really thinking, even if their words do not.
Other reasons to talk instead of text messaging is that a face-to-face conversation will remain private and confidential. The moment you text, there's a written record and while this may sound rather paranoid, in a culture of "my lawyer's bigger than yours" is the daily motto of many people just looking for an opportunity to fleece you for money, it's not a good idea to leave yourself wide open for accusations of libel. Make a phone call, if you cannot face meeting the person in question, but don't text.
Texting somebody that it's over or that you think they're a louse doesn't compare to a meaningful conversation where differences of opinion are finally aired and both sides get to talk about their feelings. You are far more likely to address underlying reasons for your conflict than you would be with texting. Talking demands greater focus from both parties and establishes a deeper connection that is more likely to bear positive fruit.
Even when there's no conflict involved, texting robs you of the chance to hear the other one laugh or giggle. Seriously, LOL just doesn’t convey the same emotional connection. Studies show how healthy laughter is for our bodies and our minds - and also our relationships with others. It reduces stress levels by lowering cortisol, a stress hormone, in our brains - and exercises all sorts of muscles, which burns a few calories. Laughing at how a minor argument got so out of hand will often put things into perspective for both parties - and heal the rift.
Unless you happen to be an experienced wordsmith, texting in anger or in an emotional state can often end in unintentional insults. When we meet somebody face-to-face, our body language, tone of voice and facial expression tell the other party if we are being in earnest, sarcastic or if we're joking. A text cannot convey this.
Talking in person engages several senses, while text is merely visual and therefore less memorable. We concentrate more on what the other person is saying, because we are studying their body language and facial expressions, listen out for changes in their tone of voice. Of the many reasons to talk instead of text messaging, this is perhaps the most important one. Solving conflict in a constructive way allows us to learn from our mistakes and move on. Trading text insults cheapens us in our own estimation and won't allow us to disengage emotionally from the conflict, as the feeling of being misunderstood and undervalued will persist.
What do you think about this? Do you think the digital age is damaging the art of conversation?
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