“The New Rules of Technology in Relationships” by Josey Miller

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Ever since technology—text messaging in particular—invaded our relationships, there’s been a lot of gray area as to what the rules are. So I decided to set the record straight once and for all. After all, sometimes love and electronics just don’t mix…

  • My friend recently had plans with a guy, and he canceled on her at the last-minute… over text messaging no less. Her response was perfect! With her sense of humor and dignity in tact, she simply wrote, “Texting is for flirting, not for canceling.” Bottom line: If you need to cancel a date, well, don’t! It’s rude. (Everybody knows that.) But if you have no choice, make your mom proud by doing the right thing and picking up the phone to offer a reasonable explanation and to beg for forgiveness. Texting, emailing and IM make it very easy for us to forget that there’s a real person with real feelings on the other end of the line.
  • Texting, emailing and IM are quicker than calling, which makes them very convenient. But too much convenience can be very unromantic! If someone asks you out in a text, I beg of you… please write back telling him to call you and ask you again. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t deserve you. Never accept a date over text messaging! And if it’s after midnight? Don’t get me started.
  • If you want to thank a guy for a date, well, that’s very well-mannered of you. Tell him you appreciated it in person at the end of the date—and that’s it. You do not need to email him, IM him or text him the next day to tell him again. But it’s “just a text message,” you say? I don’t care. You know what that’s called? It’s called torturing yourself. Because if he doesn’t respond, you’ll assume he didn’t feel the same sparks you felt, and you’ll drive yourself crazy checking your phone for a flashing light or repeatedly pressing “send/receive” on your email.
  • Are you in love with the guy you’re dating? That’s so exciting! I’m thrilled for you! But don’t you dare even consider using email or text messaging to tell him so if you’ve never said it to his face. “I love you” (or even “i luv u”… gag) is a very cute text when you’ve said it to each other—out loud—a few times before. But no sooner. Never send a text, IM or email that you wouldn’t say in person, or at least over the phone. The feeling of anonymity these forums provide can make us feel very brave. But that courage can make us say things we’ll later regret.
  • Don’t drink and text! Nothing you want to say could possibly be so urgent that it can’t wait until tomorrow… when you’re sober and have thought things through. If necessary, put a friend in charge of your phone—the way you would responsibly hand over your keys—when you’re hitting the town.
  • Texting, emailing and IM are not substitutes for phone calls and meeting in person. If you’ve been in touch with someone for more than a week without having heard his voice or seen his face, move on.

And by the way, moms out there: I know you want your young sons to grow up treating women respectfully. So when you gather your kids around the table for dinner tonight, be sure to tell them to do their homework, to say no to drugs and to never use text messaging for canceling a date.

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Responses

  1. Your article hurts because it’s dead on. The email below is to my boyfriend that I love. We broke up.

    “I really needed some quiet and no calls, or emails. I think we both need this. I do believe relationships and technology have collided in our current age. The two have ran into each other and it’s not a good match. I don’t believe technology should ever take the place of a woman and a man talking face to face, falling in love over emails, text messages. There is no human emotion in a text or email; if you can’t see the natural emotion and desire of their words while holding them, sitting drinking coffee on a kitchen stool, or looking at them sideways in a warm bed, holding their hand while walking down a busy street, something gets lost. And this hurts deep when you love them.
    Sometimes all it takes is a look or taking a hand to end a war or hurt feelings; you end up loving your best friend for 50 years.
    Text and email should never beat out two people standing somewhere holding each other.
    I am so deeply sorry for the hurt we’ve caused each other. I hurt you with all my nasty words. In my defense I have felt shut down with all the texts, emails, voicemails, quick phone calls, hanging up on each other. It’s too bad I couldn’t have seen your face when you where hurt by me, it would have stopped me in my tracks.
    When we first met, we had to show up to fall in love. We had to actually see each other and interact. I fell in love with that guy. We biked, played pool, hung out and talked in restaurants.
    Today I’m very sad that technology and a failure to communicate in person has robbed me of a possible husband and two beautiful girls.
    I’ve been accused of not getting it, assuming so much, getting angry and cursing. I guess your right, I don’t get it, I can’t, I feel too much and am too passionate for a stand in. This morning I’m sad that I even own a cell phone.
    As you can tell, I’ve given this allot of thought. When t-mobile said i had 932 text messages in a one month bill cycle, it came clear what happened to you and me. If we had been together, just together without texts, reading emails.. That one email helped destroy our trust and future. It dictated everyday moving forward. It made it ok for you to dismiss me and leave out a loving touch that I deserved. And I fought back with nasty words and comments because I couldn’t see what had happened, you kept it close for one month.
    I my heart I believe if we had spent more time together and played fair and gave the other a fair shake regarding what emails meant, where ex-wives fit in, where blocks of hours passed with zero communication because one of us was pissed in secret, I’d be standing in your kitchen right now instead of at this crappy computer. We’d be skiing, X-Mas Tree shopping, hanging pictures, taking pictures, walking the dog, finding the cat a new home, working out, making love and laughing at mindless chit chat. We would have made a great hot looking couple lighting it up. We spent 99% of our time debating what the other said on the phone, trying to anaylyze an email, a text… never getting resolution because we where on the PHONE… I bet a million dollars that if we where put out in a field to debate, we end up naked having sex instead.
    After you made comment about how you didn’t want your girls to see me like “this”, i pulled my phone out of the wall, turned off computer, cell phone included. I fell into a deep sleep. I woke knowing what went wrong”.


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