Don't Have These 7 Conversations Over Text

by Erica Florentine

While texting is a super convenient way of communicating, there are particular conversations you should never have via text. Most of them seem obvious, yet many people still continue to do it. For instance, breaking up with someone through a text message. Wasn’t that a tactic we should have ditched many, many years ago? Regardless, countless people still think it's a good idea, despite how hurtful it may be.

Texting grants us the liberty to be lazy as hell, to the point that we can’t even hold our phone up to our ear. So, of course, when we’re feeling ultra lazy — despite what conversation we’re sparking — many times it seems far easier to type it out instead of call or really be bold and go meet up in person. According to a study reported on by CNN, one-third of Americans prefer texting to voice calls, which comes as no surprise. Also, now with the age of the Internet, our generation has become much less likely to be open to face-to-face confrontation. Texting, therefore, feels safer.

Here’s the issue. Many times, texts can be totally taken out of context, so it makes it difficult to hold certain conversation using this means of communication. Also, there are definitely topics that are just completely inappropriate to relay through text (e.g., death of a loved one). Here are seven conversations you should never have via text.

1. Any Argument Whatsoever

This is so difficult to avoid these days, I know, but it’s so important. Let’s say you’re not much of a confrontational person, but someone is really making you irritated. It can seem really simple to send a text expressing your frustration, rather than waiting to speak to him or her in person. Nothing manages to turn what might otherwise be a tiny quarrel into a full on brawl quite like texting, though. The issue is that texts are very easily misinterpreted, and those on either end of the conversation could each be reading the communication completely differently. Also, the fact that people can take as long as they want to respond can feel maddening.

I’ve sent rude and sarcastic texts to get little things off my chest before, like the time I sent a friend, “Hey, nice of you to show up last night.” Then, that snowballed into a month-long argument. By the end of the month, I genuinely had no idea what we were even fighting about anymore. Now, I try my hardest in all situations to see the person live if I have something I’m angry about, and talk it out that way. If in-person isn’t physically possible, worst-case scenario make a phone call. At least you’ll hear the person’s tone and get immediate (and more likely, genuine) response.

2. The “What Are We?” Conversation

If you’re at the “are we or aren’t we?” point with someone you're seeing romantically, it can definitely feel uncomfortable to ask if they consider it to be a relationship or not. The fear of what their response will be can give you serious anxiety. What about texting them, so you don’t have to verbally hear their response — and rather — can just read it? Nope. Don't do this.

This is a conversation you absolutely should have in person… face-to-face. It’s a serious conversation. You don’t want to get in a position where you’re playing it cool via text and they misunderstand where you’re coming from. Or, oppositely, where your texts force them to give you the answer you want. According to Psychology Today, there are definite ways to read someone based on their body language. This is just an added bonus when considering having the DTR conversation in person — you’ll truly be able to decode them. So, despite how terrifying it could seem, tell them you need to talk, and put it all out there on the line in person.

3. A Breakup

Never, ever break up with a partner through text. I repeat, never. Of course, if it's an extremely casual fling with someone that you're ending, some people insist that text is fine. However, in general, if you breakup through text, it will probably somehow feel like there’s a sense of unfinished business. According to eHarmony, it will make it difficult to find closure. For instance, you never were able to physically see the person to give it closure, so even if you’re completely sure you’re feeling apathy or hate, you didn’t officially close the book.

4. Serious Business Discussions

Whether the issue is extremely complex and might get easily confused through text, or you’re discussing large sums of money or upcoming layoffs, none of this is right for a texting conversation. Also, giving your two-weeks notice via text — just don't do it. Text (and even email) make certain work aspects very quick and simple, but when problems aren't getting resolved or there are very hard-hitting dilemmas happening for the company, in person in the way to go.

According to Elliot D. Lasson, executive director of Joblink of Maryland, “If you find yourself going back and forth on a workplace matter three or more times without conclusion, it is best to pick up the phone or go over and discuss it with the other party.”

5. Big Life Decisions

Are you ready to meet my parents? Are we moving towards marriage? Should we have kids soon? Should we move in together?

None of these are topics that should be decided upon through text. Any time you’re trying to make a big life decision collectively with another person, you should be doing so in person. It’s helpful to discuss these things in person because it allows you to get a quick and real response, rather than a thought-out and precisely executed one. If your partner physically flinches initially when you bring up adopting a dog, you will know that their, “Umm, I mean… maybe,” response might lean towards a giant, “Nope.”

6. Letting Someone Know About A Serious Illness

This should go without saying, but any news that is worthy of worrying and/or scaring the recipient should not happen through text. Of course, an exception comes into play if there is a large amount of physical distance that doesn’t allow for this conversation to happen in person, but even then, it should be done via a phone call.

7. Relaying News That A Loved One Has Passed Away

Similarly to sharing news of being very ill, finding out someone you love has passed away through a text is simply not right. I once heard a horror story of a girl finding out her sibling died through a text message. She and her sibling were extremely close, so the news alone was shocking and horrible. The way she found out made the situation even more atrocious. It’s impractical to think the news of someone passing can always be told to their loved ones in person — sometimes they might be literally on the other side of the world when it happens. However, it should at least be explained through a phone call, no matter how difficult and terrible the call might be. Think about being on the flip side. Would you want to look down at your phone thinking it’s a pointless text from a family member, only to find out it’s regarding death? No way.

Even though it may be so much simpler, and sometimes seem far less confrontational, to send a text on certain topics, as we can see there are times when it’s flat out inappropriate. By keeping these conversation topics in mind, we can collectively become far better (and kinder) communicators.

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