It's so important to pay attention to texting habits that can lead to fights with your partner. Even if you're both great communicators, it's easy to misunderstand each other via text and have all sorts of arguments and misunderstandings that could have easily been avoided.
The biggest issues usually have to do with tone, and how easily texts can be misread. "Texting leads to fights because human communication is much deeper than just words," certified counselor Jonathan Bennett tells Bustle. "In person, it’s possible to not only hear a person’s words, but take into account tone and body language. These are either difficult or impossible to determine over text."
That's why little comments, jokes, or even certain punctuation styles can lead to problems — if you're not careful. "For example, you might send something you think is witty and sarcastic, but your partner can’t pick up on your lighthearted tone and smile," Bennett says. "So, he or she takes it seriously and gets mad."
Sending sarcastic texts is one bad habit that can lead to fights. But there are many more you should keep in mind when chatting with your partner. Read on for the main culprits, so you'll know just what to avoid when it comes to communicating effectively via text, and keeping the peace in your relationship.
1. Sending One Word Replies
Everyone gets busy, so it's important to give each other the benefit of the doubt when texts become short and sweet. But do keep mind that one word answers can start fights, especially if that's all you ever send. "Responses like 'cool,' 'nice,' or 'OK' might be appropriate, but they can be misinterpreted as a rude or annoyed reply," says Bennett. "In addition, they are conversational dead ends. If your partner wants to have a genuine text conversation, constant one word responses can become frustrating and lead to a fight."
2. Ignoring Your Texts
It's one thing if you're busy and don't see a text. But if it's obvious you're not busy — maybe because you're posting to Instagram — ignoring a text from your partner can lead to fights. "You don’t have to be instantly available to your partner. However, if your partner sends a text, then it’s polite to reply in a reasonable time," Bennett says. "If it’s clear you’ve been active on your phone ... but you can’t respond to your partner’s text, he or she could interpret that as not being a priority." And that's definitely not message you want to send.
3. Forgetting To Proofread
While you certainly don't want to overthink every text, it is a good idea to give 'em a quick once over before hitting send. As Bennett tells me, proofreading will offer you a second chance to quickly edit texts that might have otherwise sounded negative or rude. And, it'll save you from sending horrible auto corrects, which can lead to misunderstandings.
4. Using Too Much Sarcasm
As mentioned above, it can be difficult to communicate via text since it lacks facial expressions and tone. That's why, if you're making a joke, be sure it's clear you're joking — especially when dishing out sarcasm. As Bennett says, "If you’re making a joke or using sarcastic humor, add an emoji to make it clearer." It may sound obvious, but this little can change save you all sorts of drama.
5. Texting When You're Mad
When fighting with your partner, it might feel good to unload your anger via text. But this habit will only make things worse. "If you’re mad, wait a few minutes to calm down before you hit send," says Bennett. "Many texts sent in the heat of the moment don’t reflect your true opinions, just the flowing adrenaline. Give yourself time to calm down before possibly ruining a relationship."
6. Checking In Too Often
Do you text your SO all day long? As author and relationship expert Marina Sbrochi tells me, "constantly checking " on each other can make you both feel smothered. So give each other some space. "Let them have a life without you knowing every detail," she says. Do your own thing during the day, send a few sweet texts, and then catch up later in person.
7. Not Paying Attention To Your Punctuation
Punctuation may seem like such a simple thing, but we all know it dramatically impacts how a text is read. Take texts that end in a period, for example. Those can seem super harsh. And a million exclamation points? That sounds like you're yelling, even if you aren't. As psychologist and radio host Dr. Joshua Klapow tells me, you should be extra careful when choosing punctuation. If you don't mean to be blunt AF, for example, then leave off that period.
8. Texting While You're Together
It's obviously OK to text a few friends while hanging out with your SO. But don't go overboard to the point you're both ignoring each other. "If a couple is spending time together whether on a date or at home, it shouldn’t be spent texting on a phone," relationship expert Holly Zink tells Bustle. That last thing you want to do is ignore each other, or make it seem like whoever's on the other end is more of a priority. That's just not cool.
9. Using A Few Too Many Ellipses
Getting back to punctuation, take a moment to think about how often you end a text with an ellipses. And then reevaluate. As Zink says, "This leaves any conversation unresolved and ending with a cliffhanger." Plus, those three dots can make you come across as slightly impatient, or even a bit judgmental.
10. Having Important Convos Via Text
If you're in the habit of texting mini novels to your partner, it may be time to stop. "If you can't say it in a full sentence or can't convey it completely via text, then don't text," Klapow says. "[That's a sign] the topic is too important for the text." Save it for in person, or over the phone.
11. Texting Instead Of Having Face-To-Face Convos
Texting should never replace face-to-face or over-the-phone chats. "Texting was never meant to be a substitute for real conversations," says relationship expert Stef Safran. So don't let it become your go-to, even though it's often easier.
Because texting may be handy, but it certainly can lead to fights if you aren't doing it thoughtfully, or if you use it as your only method of communication. If you think your texting habits are leading to arguments, it may be time to change your ways.
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