Love and Text - Have cellphones & Social Media turned us into lazy romantics?
The cellular phone, and the advent of text messaging in particular, has revolutionised our personal relationships. Text messaging is commonly used for 'breaking the ice', flirting and setting up meetings in a non-intrusive fashion which minimises the possibility of rejection. The popularity of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook have expanded upon the 'short messaging' theme for our important relationships, including our romantic relationships.
However, recent research conducted at Australia's Macquarie University suggests that in terms of its impact on our most important personal relationships, text messaging is very much a double-edged sword.
Clinical psychologist Dr Natalie Robinson, who completed her PHD on the subject of text messaging, studied the texting habits of people aged between 18 and 35. A whopping 15 per cent of those surveyed admitted to breaking up with someone via SMS!
The fact that such behaviour is quite common doesn't mean that ending a relationship with someone via text (or via email, facebook, twitter, post-it note...) is OK. Says Robinson, "This is not a socially acceptable thing to do. It gives the impression that the recipient isn't even worth a phone call or a meeting."
Breaking up is one of the most painful of life's emotional challenges as it is-to add to the injury by 'letting your fingers do the dumping' is thoughtless at best, and at worst may be perceived as a particularly cruel act.
Part of the problem is that social rules haven't kept pace with new technology. There are all kinds of social rules relating to other forms of communication, from the tone of our voice, body language and polite speech versus impoliteness. These rules have been developed over thousands of years of civilised society. With a technology as new as text messaging, which has grown so quickly and contains none of the normal verbal or body languages cues, it is inevitable that misunderstandings will occur from time to time. All the more reason that really important relationship issues deserve at least a phone call, if not a proper face-to-face meeting.
Another fairly common, not to mention embarrassing, peril in text messaging is the phenomenon of accidentally sending an SMS to the wrong person. More than one relationship disaster has resulted when a message obviously intended for another person and/or referring to a particular person, has been accidentally sent to the wrong number. Put your texting fingers up if this has ever happened to you? ^^ ;-(
There are positives to text messaging and social media of course. Enthuses pro-texter Brett, "Texting has completely turned the traditional way we date on its head. It makes meeting someone for the first time a whole lot easier, and unlike phone calls , we no longer have to be embarrassed in case of rejection. And we can be as risky and flirty as we like."
The same thing could be said of email and internet dating. Unlike SMS its easier to get to know someone online before meeting them (sms does after all stand for short message service.) So there is definitely a place for sms in the dating lexicon, along with online chat, email, social media, internet dating sites...but let's try to remember that it's a real person with real feelings on the other end of that communication...and at the end of the day these technologies are there to assist us with having successful relationships with other people, and are not a substitute for good manners and respect for the feelings of others.
SMS messaging and messages sent by social media can be an important component in your communication with significant others.
There's many aspects to good communication and SMS messaging is just one of them - all things in moderation.
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