resolving miscommunication part 4: technology be damned (1 of 2)

whoops

oh how we love our gadgets.  phones, computers, iPads… they keep us connected to the magic interwebz 24/7.  they also keep us connected to people.  grandma is adorable on Facebook.  who doesn’t love having her post about that one time you cried because you got a stuffed Smurf instead of white painter pants on Christmas as her status?

what were we talking about?

oh right.  miscommunication, technology, blah blah blah. 

i’m pretty good, i think, at using words to convey not only my point, but my emotional intent.  it’s kind of my job.  i’m a professional.  but not even i would attempt to clear up a serious misunderstanding by the written word only.  and certainly never with Craig.

i’m as into texting, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other form of social media as anyone.  love it.  what i don’t love is how easy it has made it for people to move away from face to face contact.  personal interaction and knowing how to have a real honest to goodness disagreement while looking someone in the eye is a dying art.

people know they can get away with doing it over the airwaves.

and it makes them meaner.

not having to face someone provides an imaginary security blanket to say something in a way that you wouldn’t dare if you had to do it while the person was looking right at you.

even when people aren’t meaner, they leave everything they say open to interpretation as far as intent and tone.  there’s only so much that can be communicated with an emoticon.  and i really hate those.

1.  texting – i have had some friends show me the most horrible things that have been texted to them by their honey of choice.  and their responses were no better.  then when they are face to face they either pretend like nothing is wrong or simply don’t speak at all.  neither of those things are acceptable in a healthy relationship.  if you wouldn’t say it to her face, do not send it in a text.  if you are already in the middle of texting war, end it.  send one last text that simply says, “i don’t want to fight this way.  let’s order some decent takeout tonight and talk.”  then let it go.  if you get a positive response, perfect.  respond positively.  if you get a negative response, let it go.  do not react.

2.  Facebook – i can’t begin to tell you how much i hate relationship status updates.  they have caused more problems between people than politics.  when people ask me about them, i always say unless you’re married, do not even use it.  not only does it invite several hundred people into your relationship (never a good idea), it can cause much hurt if you change to something the other person does not understand.  going from “in a relationship” to “it’s complicated” is a nightmare for you, her and all 634 of your closest friends.  again, it invites people to butt in on what is going on in your relationship and address it on your wall.  horrible.

and for god sake, don’t post anything ugly on your wall, her wall, mutual friends walls if things go south.  that’s just cowardly and makes you look like a horse’s nether regions.

a relationship is difficult enough to navigate under the best of circumstances.  do not shoot it in the head by hiding behind a keyboard.

i’m going to hit 2 more technology no-no’s tomorrow.

’til then…tell me your e-stories.  doesn’t matter if it happened to you or not, we’ve all seen relationship train wrecks happen on the internet or via text.

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24 comments on “resolving miscommunication part 4: technology be damned (1 of 2)

  1. Mandy Rausch says:

    I don’t have a relationship story (except the ones I’ve seen on Lamebook.com…all of which make me cringe), but I do know that social media can be a major stressor, even in my own life. I blogged about it once. Also, those who say it’s “high school all over again?” No way. My high school life wasn’t nearly as dramatic as social media has made my adult life at times.

    Too bad I love it too much to quit it.

  2. Jenn says:

    1. Do not use FB for your relationship. Plain and simple. You’re married and you want the world to know that you are your honey’s and no one else fine – keep it simple. But none of this other status stuff – the people who need to know, know you in person and that is where those personal discussions should happen.

    2. Do everything as face to face as possible. I am in a long distance relationship – we do no have any indepth conversations on BBM. I call or we skype – it is not worth the frustration of trying to convey something remotely complicated via text.

    3. Keep your honey out of your blog. I annoymously blog because my ex fiance knew about my blog, and when that went bust the blog had to go too – all of them – yes all. So when I do mention previous dates or my current honey – I keep it to a minimum and or they don’t know it exists and I make sure there is no tell tale info. Maybe sneaky – but I think somewhere in all the technology you have to draw a line.

  3. Brian says:

    I’ve made for myself that i follow when I become interested in a girl; Never attempt to have any meaningful conversations through text messages or Facebook.

    My “friend” and I use Facebook and texting only for playful teasing between each other.

  4. It doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships, either. The only romantic split I was privy to online was a congenial one. But I was party to a prolonged, nasty spiral down of a long-term friendship via “public” arguments in a real-time gaming environment. Some of the publicness was unavoidable, because the blow-up began over some in-game stuff that others were involved in, and thus anything one said to the other about the situation indirectly impugned other people in the situation, forcing a significant side-taking situation. The fact that 3 persons in positions of power were on one side of it also turned it into a nobles vs peasants sort of a mentality to boot, and at least a dozen people’s enjoyment of the game was ruined by it.

    Imagine a company picnic baseball game where one of the junior managers is an umpire and makes a questionable ruling that results in a game-ending brawl in which a couple of other managers join the ump’s side and at least one junior manager sides with the worker. Then imagine the work environment the following week. That’s pretty much the environment it left behind for the next 4-6 months.

  5. Bekah Hope says:

    Blah. I loathe, despise, and detest it when people want to “confront you” via facebook. This has happened to me. Seriously? Grow up and learn how to pick up a phone, or better – drive to my house.

    Sidenote: It gets even weirder when you have people (namely, the over 50 crowd) who stalk you silently on facebook and then “casually” mention something you posted 2 months ago when they see you in the grocery store.

    I have a friend in my life who I cannot communicate with through text, except to make the most basic arrangements. Because inevitably one of us is going to read something the wrong way and end up upset with the other. It’s just a downward spiral of crazy that we have sworn off for the sake of our relationship. So I agree – it’s way too easy to twist text in order to make it fit what YOU think the intent is.

    • Mandy Rausch says:

      I have friends that I’ve actually told to hide, unfollow, and/or delete me because they obviously can’t deal with my “online personality.” It’s just a hot mess sometimes. I’d rather be your friend in real life than online, dude.

      • one of my closest friends had two of her family members stage an intervention on her to try and get her to unfriend me. they were convinced i was being mean to her all the time.

        she laughed at them.

        • Bekah Hope says:

          They obviously don’t know what’s funny.

          Sarcasm is lost on some people. Which is sad to me.
          I had 2 people “confront” me (via fb) for saying, “I hate Mark Driscoll.” And while that word isn’t far from how I feel about the man, I do not actually “hate” him. They didn’t understand this.

    • i know someone who had to unfriend his own brother for being such an aggressive jerk in comments he would make on my friend’s statuses.

  6. Jamie says:

    I use “It’s complicated” sometimes to describe relationships. Like the time I went on a date with a Jehovah’s Witness and didn’t know it until he friended me on FB. Then, he tried to convert me on my wall.

    I think my eternity is worthy of at least a phone call, right?

  7. my0wneyes says:

    I totally agree…recently one of my friends ended her relationship with her bf and he decided to take it to FB and write horrible things about her and tagged her in it…she didn’t respond to him she emailed FB and reported him. It is getting out of hand though

    • Smart girl to not respond and just report. Way too many people respond back and then report someone in online venues. Good way to find yourself punished just as much as the initiator.

  8. Brynn says:

    relationship drama and intense political talk on facebook make me cringe…i think i have successfully hid all the repeat offenders from appearing on my newsfeed.

    also, never confess your undying love for a girl through email or facebook. if you can’t tell her in person, you probably don’t have a chance anyway.

    • Now the intense political talk, I’ve done before. I’m a right-wing Conservative fundamendalist Christian type (I know, I know, you’re all shocked). I have some gaming friends who are hard-left, openly atheist, and/or feminists. We have occasional moments of enthusiastic opinion sharing. :>

  9. I don’t use the Internet.

  10. Chris says:

    Facebook? What’s Facebook? 🙂

    I’m a bit odd, I suppose. I don’t use Facebook, and I’m quite happy that way. Of course, that means I miss news and updates, especially for groups that use it to communicate with their members (like church!), but I’m sure the bad stuff I miss outweighs the good.

    I’m a little shocked, though, that so many people have trouble communicating in text. Email is a valid way of discussing some heavy topics, in my book. It’s not a replacement for face to face, but it’s not the crippled version of communication that people make it seem.

    Maybe it is my verbosity. I get very frustrated trying to fit something into 140 characters. And if that was the medium I had to use for a relationship discussion, forget about it! 🙂 (Sorry, Sharideth, that emoticon just slipped out.)

    But I tend to use email like letter writing, and I’m a big fan of letter writing. You can take your time and craft your words and say precisely what you wish to say. You can say it calmly, and not in the heat of the moment. And you can re-read, and the recipient can re-read.

    I’m not sure I’d want to date someone who couldn’t manage a decent email conversation, nor a person who I couldn’t trust to keep those emails private.

    The written word, baby. It’s a sexy thing.

    • I definitely know where you’re coming from, Chris. The ability to figure out exactly what you want to say and go back and edit and re-edit till you’re satisfied with the way it’s said in an email is priceless. In my business life, I use a telephone only if I *have* to do so. Email allows me time to analyze what they’ve said, look up any information I need, and produce a carefully considered response.

      I do have a relative who has no fear of computers but has difficulty sometimes with electronic communication because he uses facial responses to know what the other person is receiving when he communicates, allowing him to adjust his course if they’re not understanding him. He can do communication through text, but he doesn’t get a sense of connection from it. I, on the other hand, do. I think it’s partly because I grew up loving to read and almost everything I read, whether fiction, poetry, or prose, is a story to me. There are times (like Ben’s guest post a few days ago) where I can’t get a satisfactory read on what the other person intends, but that’s usually when dealing with a stranger. People I’ve communicated with at any length begin to have a voice through the context of what I’m reading now vs what they’ve said in past.

  11. Jennifer C. says:

    Working for a divorce attorney (past– if you’re hiring…) opened my eyes to the horrific uses of social media. Even good things or things intended for good can and will be used to evil/ stupidity.

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