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You’re upset with your partner – he/she messed up. Again. Now you’re home alone, running the situation over and over in your head, going through every possible angle and convincing yourself that they’re in the wrong. Seething, you pick up your phone and bang out a long message. But hold on a second – before you hit that send button, think twice. Arguing over text is never a good idea, and here are three reasons why.
1. Things get lost in translation
Without the benefit of body language cues and facial expressions, text messages are easily misunderstood. Ever gotten annoyed at a text message that simply read ‘K’? You’ll know where we’re going with this one. The language of texting does not lend itself well to accurate interpretation: a blunt, seemingly harsh one-liner could be the result of distraction rather than anger or insensitivity. Emotions simply cannot be conveyed over text, so save yourself the potential stress and have the argument the right way – in person, instead of through a mobile screen.
2. The wait
So you did it. You hit that send button. You watch as the message reads ‘delivered’ and feel a sense of righteous satisfaction – you sure gave him/her an earful! Sitting back, you wait for the response. And wait… and wait. Thoughts begin swirling through your mind. Shouldn’t he/she have read your text by now? Are they not replying on purpose? What if they’re showing others the message? What if they end up giving you the cold shoulder for hours?
In reality, what could be a ten-minute conversation gets drawn out into a three-hour long exchange over text message as both parties stall, censor and edit their thoughts and feelings. In the end, what you’ll get is a whole lot of unnecessary second-guessing as you play the waiting game, instead of an authentic exchange. It doesn’t help that your spur-of-the-moment essay will be forever immortalised in text form for both parties to relive the nightmare, either.
3. Missing out on a valuable experience
Arguments are part and parcel of relationships. In fact, the best sign of a healthy relationship isn’t the lack of disagreements, but the ability to resolve them through mutual compromise. It’s a process that requires vulnerability, compassion and sincerity. It reveals how you and your partner address conflicts together. Avoiding this honest exchange of emotions by hiding behind a screen won’t help your growth as a couple.
In short, don’t have an argument with your partner over text message. No matter how tempting it may seem at the time to let it all out on the keypad, it will prove harmful to your relationship in the long run. Arguments will last longer, and there’ll be an obvious disconnect between you both – it’s a world where the lack of a smiley face could take the conversation into dangerous waters. Don’t go there.
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