19 reasons why I’d rather text than talk
According to a PEW report quoted in the New York Times one in three teenagers sends more than 100 text messages a day, and a whopping 72 per cent are now official ‘text-messagers,’ compared with just 51 per cent in 2006.
Sure enough, messaging has now become the most popular method of communication – beating not just phone calls, e-mails and the much-hyped social networking sites, but face-to-face communication as well..
What is the unvarnished truth?
Many of us prefer exchanging text messages to having an actual conversation. Now ‘prefer’ is a strong word; it shows that given an option, the average teenager would rather ‘text’ than ‘talk’; he would rather flex his fingertips than exert his tongue.
This, however, should not be much of a surprise, considering how texting very conveniently gives you the opportunity to:
1. Ask someone out without meeting them in the eye.
2. Then dump him/her, still not meeting the eye.
3. Phrase your sentence as best as possible, read and re-read it over and over again to make it sound diplomatic, thereby negating any chances of stuttering or babbling endlessly like an idiot.
4. Use smileys – either in the beginning of the sentence or after (or both) depending on the desperation of the situation – to ask for a favour, for example:
“Darling, can u pretty please do the assignment for me :) :)?”
“May I borrow ure DSLR and iPhone for the weekend? Thanks – ur so cool! :D”
5. Use LOLs – either in the beginning of the sentence or after (or both) depending on the desperation of the situation – to tone down an insult, for example:
“U’re so ugly, LOL!”
“LOL, ure room smelled like pee, dude”
“ROFL…u should have seen her eyebrow-jungle! Enough to trap all the fleas in the world!”
The LOL thereby gives you freedom of expression, without actually making you look – and feel – evil. You thus assure others how deep inside your chest lies not a coal-black pit, but a golden, alive and kicking heart.
6. Get your message across to that old lady who fails to hear you past your first word.
7. Get your message across without getting interrupted (meant for the disciples of one-sided conversation; the yap, yap, yap types).
8. Deliver a heartfelt, emotional message to the other, without fearing the prick in one’s nose, the catch in one’s throat or the embarrassingly unexpected, unwanted outpour of his tear-gland.
9. Apologise. No matter how fragile your ego, the text message somehow always ends up cushioning it.
10. Enjoy the benefit of doubt by reserving the right to not respond, and innocently pretend as if you never got that message in the first place or did not have the credit to reply. For example (three days later):
“I am soooo sorry; I ran out credit! Anyway, so what’s up at ure end?” (topic very conveniently changed)
11. End a conversation, without being accused of chickening out due to the fear of losing an argument.
12. Take your time to come up with a clever comeback, then act all smug, even if it took you an embarrassing half-hour just to think of it.
13. Calling someone is expensive. Texting is relatively cheap.
14. Evade the exhaustion of actually meeting someone.
15. Raise the dramatic element of your conversation up a notch, courtesy the use of *hugggggggg*, <3, *sniff*, uncountable exclamation points, the uppercase etcetera, to distract/overwhelm your recipient.
16. Silently communicate. You can send text messages to each other without other people being able to eavesdrop. It also works wonders in movie theatres and during drop-dead boring seminars/ lectures/ speeches.
17. Get your message across efficiently without having to go through any awkward pleasantries or the accusations of being brusque.
18. Talk to more than one person at a time, and make them both think he/she is more important to you than the other.
19. Reach out to anyone, anywhere, anytime – midnight loo hours inclusive.
And yet, readers, SMS is a contagious flu; a tempting desire to jump into a whirlpool of convenience.
But where there exist the unquestionable advantages, lying also in the periphery is its ridiculous misuse. Have the will and the wisdom to shut your whirring phone once in a while, to keep it aside – or on silent – each time your time and attention are required by the others. And remember, in case you have forgotten, that non-stop texting very easily impairs brain function – a function, I am sure, you would not dream of living without.
Even if, secretly, you already are.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.