How is anyone meant to know that you’re thinking about them if you never say?
I will openly admit that I am awful at replying. A quick reply from me is within 3-5 business days of your original text. And yes, this applies to my own mother too.
I just hate texting. It’s a lot more effort to communicate what I’m really trying to say without being able to see my eyebrows raise or my mouth turn up into a smile. My sarcasm comes across as blatant rudeness and if you’re having a deep meaningful chat, the replies are as long as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (for non HP fans – this is a big ol novel). And ain’t nobody got time fo dat!
So, you can imagine that lockdown has definitely taken a toll on how much I am in contact with friends and family.
I’m aware of how great phones are for communication, we can be in constant contact with someone thousands of miles away from us at the touch of a button. But there’s just something different about face to face communication that I’ve always felt makes it not worth bothering to text. A very unsociable approach I know.
We live in a digital age now, and I need to accept that.
Trust me when I say this, the length of time I ignore you for has nothing to do with how much I do or do not like you. You could be my worst enemy or my best friend and I would still see that notification pop through on my phone and think “I’ll reply later”.
I’ve even confused my poor old Nan replying to her “Are you in?” message three days later with a “Yes I’m in, are you popping round?”. She’s there thinking she’s got early onset dementia as she can’t remember asking me, but really, I’ve just finally been bothered to pick up my phone and reply.
My careless ways with texting have definitely been eye opening during this lockdown. The lack of human interaction has made me – and I’m sure everyone else too – crave it even more. Admittedly I’ve not been any better on my phone, but I’m starting to see the damage that it’s doing.
Before, I could ignore someone’s message for days with the knowledge that when I next saw them in person, they would see how much they do still mean to me and therefore there are no hard feelings about the text situation.
But now, there’s no face to face encouragement of our friendship. My friends and family who reach out to me, only to be greeted with a wall of silence, have nothing to prove that I am thinking or caring about them.
We live in a digital age now, and I need to accept that. To maintain my ‘real life’ friendships I need to talk to them online. I need to make them feel appreciated virtually as well as face to face. We are constantly on our phones and living through other people’s lives on social media, the only way to make it all a bit better is to stay intertwined with the lives of the ones we love. To let them know that we are still encouraging them over social media as well as in real life.
I don’t know if I’ll be any better on my phone after lockdown, but I do know that I will probably always feel guilty for ignoring messages from now on. Guilt that my loved ones may be thinking that I no longer care for them because I have not typed out a simple text.
It seems mad when you think about it; that a text can convey such a strong message. Phones have consumed our lives and have changed our relationships; I think it’s clear to see now.