I don’t want to talk to you. I will do so many things just to not engage in a vocal exchange with you: text, email, Facebook message, “like” a post on your wall, reply Tweet, direct message, re-tweet, leave a 1-800-SPY-DIAL voicemail. I will wait out loading browsers, updating apps, and a slow connection. I will take my gloves off in 10 degrees F, hold my phone in the air, and spend ten minutes in this position having a textual conversation just to avoid speaking to you. Why?
On December 1, I swore off texting. I figured giving up texting meant I would spend more time on the phone. What it actually did was make me crafty. I could just email her. I could write on his wall and tell him I can’t text. I could, in theory, print this photo and mail it to my parents. Or I could call them. To me, swearing off texting meant swearing off passive communication, but I was shocked to realize just how many types of back-seat interactions were now available to me. In efforts to remain true to what I understood to be the purpose of this texting ban, I picked up the phone.
I started easy: my best friend, my parents, my brother. Then shit got weird. Acquaintances, an executive at my company, one of the guys I’m dating. Well, okay. Fine. I started immediately calling people back. I rolled my eyes back into my head and passed out from awkwardness. And then I got over it.
Truth be told, these conversations were not perfect – they were productive. I was able to make plans with a new friend, better understand the needs of a project, and hear the excitement and nerves in the voice of a boy I liked. Instead of seeing, “pick you up at 8,” I got to hear him ramble about how he was concerned he’d get me home in time to give my cat his medicine. And did I need him to also pick up my bike? And was I okay with a long drive out to the country? And how did I feel about beer versus wine? He could hear me giggle and how my words slipped out through a smile. Can you hear a person blush? Because he might have.
We were able to answer questions you can’t ask. We gave each other something: a connection. Instead of analyzing old football plays, we were on the field playing, and we were having a blast. Yeah, we got a little beat up, there were pauses, there were whats and huhs and can you say that agains?, but we were there together.
But first dates are one thing. What about what my distant uncle wants for Christmas? What about my work frenemy? And what happens when I want to fade out of someone’s life? What about loud concerts and emergency messages? Texting has its pros. It was created to fill a void: ease of communication. And while actually hearing someone’s voice builds a connection, does it really matter if that connection is already there? And if my best friend is asleep on the East Coast, is it really so bad to text her a funny photo at midnight? Is emailing it to her any different? And would I have spoken to her at all that night if those types of communication didn’t exist?
I want to keep doing this, and I want to convince my friends to do it, too. But I like the challenge thus far solely because I like the results. So what happens when the results change? I guess I’ll call and let you know.