Why Dating and Texting Give You Anxiety

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a terrible texter.

My use of sarcasm doesn’t always translate very well. And let's be real - no number of exclamation points can truly express the joy I felt when I passed all my exams.

With no facial expressions or body language to give me visual clues, I’m fairly certain that I don’t fully understanding what many of my friends and family are trying to tell me in the messages I receive (sorry guys).

Sometimes emojis just don’t cut it.

Happy woman dancing with headphones on in front of yellow background

Unfortunately for me, the majority of my friends use text messages as their primary source of communication - no matter how hard I try to push for voice memos.

Come on, I know you <3 them too. 

But I digress.

The appeal of texting

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the appeal of text messaging. It’s convenient and you don’t have to worry about your friend not answering the phone. You avoid vulnerable emotions and you can protect yourself from someone else’s distress. All essential tools to self-preservation in a digital age.

At the same time you lose a lot through text messages.

You can’t accurately convey tone, emotion, facial expressions, gestures, body language or eye contact in the way you do with oral speech. You miss what comes with a face-to-face conversation.

Two men having a beer

Meaning that there’s a good chance messages will be misinterpreted or that the meaning will be lost altogether. Hence resulting in dating panic - will he/she message? Was my last text too long? Did he see that I read it? We've all been there.

Sure, I’ll shoot my roommate a text to see if she wants anything from the grocery store, or message my brother to see if he can pick me up from work (thanks bro). But anything that requires more than exchanging a few sentences should be done on a call (or even better, in person!).

This is especially the case in the dating world where you're getting to know someone, and inference may impeded an otherwise epic connection.

The power of spoken word

Words are only a fraction of communication so how can we expect to rely so heavily on them? You have to take into consideration pitch and tone, the speed and rhythm of someone’s voice and the pauses in between words and sentences. And that’s just what you can gather from someone’s voice.

You’ve probably heard someone say that over 80% (sometimes even 90%) of communication is body language, right? The truth is, the numbers look a little more like 55, 38, and 7. They represent the importance of each communication channel and the belief that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken.

Dating apps generally miss this point, but Wandure actually addresses it directly by ensuring that a date = a match. No virtual small talk required, just dates - which we're pretty happy about.

Man taking picture of a huge body of water

Despite the gains made by including bold or italicize words in text, it still doesn’t fully combat the problems that come with messaging back and forth. 

But maybe you’re good at texting. Maybe you’ve picked up a few tricks of the trade and know the proper etiquette when it comes to using the proper emoji and whether all lowercase or all caps is appropriate. You’re a texting legend. But despite your legend status, you’re still likely to run into the issue of messaging someone like me (who is absolutely NOT a texting legend).

Woman laughing and touhing her hair

The different ways we view communication

Take the difference between the way men and women communicate for example. According to various psychological studies, and scholars such as Ronald D. Smith - a communications professor at Buffalo State- men and women see communication as having different significances and values. 

Men see communication as a way to exchange information. Once the message is sent that’s it, it’s done. On the other hand, women see communication as a tool to connect. Communication isn’t just a way to send information from point A to point B. It’s a way to create lasting bonds. You can imagine how this might cause some miscommunication.

Unfortunately, this study doesn't take into account a non-heterosexual lens, but the power of the role of communication and manner of communication is important. 

Group of friends having a picnic with a dog

It’s hard enough trying messaging with someone you know intimately, but what if you’re talking to someone new, someone you’ve only seen photos of? How can you expect to fully capture their vibe when you’re missing more than 90% of communication?

With no facial expressions or body language to give me visual clues, I’m fairly certain that I don’t fully understanding what many of my friends and family are trying to tell me - at any time (sorry guys).

You can’t tell what kind of tone they’re speaking in. You might say something jokingly and they take it as serious. It can get confusing - especially when the only sound coming from your phone is the ding of a new notification. No number of emojis can make up for a lack of those ever important visual cues. That human element. 

There’s nothing wrong with communicating over text, but nothing beats meeting up and chatting in-person where emojis are excluded, and facial expressions and body-language are included.

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