Written by Writer’s Corps member Katie Moino
I want you to be honest with yourself: Do you sometimes have texting anxiety? It’s totally okay if you do! In fact, I’d say most of us do.
While texting is nice because it gives you the time to really think about what you want to say, it can be challenging to decide what the right thing to say is. We all know it’s so easy to misconstrue the meaning of a text, and we don’t want someone to misunderstand our intent.
Let’s Play a Game!
So how can we address this problem and minimize anxiety? I’m glad you asked! We’re going to play a little game I like to call “This or That”. I’m going to give you some common text situations I know we all might find ourselves in and a couple of responses. We will then decide which is the healthiest text response to send. For these situations, I’m defining a healthy text message as one that conveys the most emotion, clearest intention, and understanding.
These examples will give you some ideas on how to confidently craft that text the next time you’re unsure of how to respond.
You messaged your partner asking if they want to get dinner the following night. They respond that they have a work event and are super busy the rest of the week, but that they’d love to find a different night. How do you respond?
Would you say this: But tomorrow night is my only free night. Can’t you skip it?
Or that? No worries! Let me know which days work for you next week 🙂
If the first response made you feel a little uneasy, it should. While it may seem harmless, this could be a sign of possessiveness if this type of response is frequent. Possessiveness means that someone is trying to control who you spend your time with and how you spend your time. This is a sign of unhealthy communication. It’s important to be understanding of your friend or partner’s life outside of you. Everyone has the right to be independent.
Check out our related article How to Spot the Signs of Abusive Texts & Get Help.
The second response shows understanding and respect for the other person’s time and obligations. It also shows that both people have independence in the relationship.
You feel like your partner blew off your plans to hang out with their friends. Which message do you send?
This: I felt a bit hurt when you went to hang out with your friends instead of me. I thought we had plans. Can you tell me what happened?
Or that? I’m so mad at you.
Let’s break down these messages. The first response might seem a bit wordy, but it’s always best to be as clear as possible, especially over text to avoid any misunderstanding. Remember, the other person can’t see your body language and expressions, so it’s always best to air on the side of clarity. Also, remember that conflict is normal in any relationship! Just make sure that you are dealing with it in a respectful way that does not escalate the problem. It’s always best to look for solutions to ensure you come to a resolution.
While it’s good to express how you feel to your partner, this second response is not very clear. It tells your partner how you feel but doesn’t explain why. This could lead to further problems and escalate the conflict. Remember, it’s always best to communicate as clearly and honestly as you can to address the conflict in a healthy way, even over texting!
You call your partner, but they don’t pick up the phone. Which text do you send?
This: Where are you????? Call me back NOW
Or that? Just wanted to say hey! Call me back when you can 🙂
The first response seems a little intense, right? If your partner is demanding and their behavior and communication seems extreme and overwhelming, this is a sign of intensity.
The second response is friendly, respectful, and shows trust. These are all signs of a healthy text response.
Now Let’s Review
Before you send that text, ask yourself, does this message clearly communicate how I feel in a way that is understanding and respectful? It is always best to ensure this before sending off that text to make sure that you’re not creating problems and instead finding solutions to them.
Conflict is normal in any relationship, but we want to address it in a healthy way! Some other ways you can make sure you’re being clear and understanding in your messages are to add emojis to further show how you’re feeling. Adding punctuation like exclamation marks can also help to show your tone and emotion.
Check out our related article Texting Do’s and Don’ts in Relationships.
Texting adds a whole other dimension to communication that wasn’t around before. As we know, this can make it challenging to communicate clearly with one another, but we can adapt! Check out our ten signs of a healthy relationship for more inspiration on how to make those text messages and responses as healthy as ever!