Lost in textlation: “I don’t know how to talk to you”

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Rihanna and Drake aren’t the only ones singing about communication issues. There are nuances with the spoken word that don’t come across in the written word. How you say something, the tone you use, your body language makes all of the difference as to how something is perceived. We all know this, but texting is easy so we resort to it anyway – in dating, our friendships, etc.

Awhile back, someone paid me a genuine compliment through text. The way I read it, it seemed more like a corny joke, so I “lol’d.” Oops! (Egg on my face) I would never laugh at someone who is being sincere especially when they’re paying me a compliment.

On a different occasion, a friend, who I’ve known for years, texted me. I read it as I was walking into a meeting and didn’t have time to respond. She texted later hoping that I hadn’t taken offense and wanting to clarify. I hadn’t taken offense at all, because when I read it, I heard her voice and know her well enough to know how that message should come across. Re-reading it, I could see how she thought I might have interpreted it differently.

But, when you’re getting to know someone, either through dating or a new friendship, the meaning in those messages can get lost. It’s easy to get sucked into texting because you can do it when you have time. It allows you to do other things at the same time and also cuts down on moments of silence. But phone calls and face-to-face add those crucial communication layers so that messages are more accurately conveyed and when you’re getting to know someone, those are things that matter (at least to me).

I’m a writer and I have those “oh shit” moments when I draft an email and hit send instead of save (same with text) before I have a chance to reread and see if it conveys what I’m trying to say. It can be hard to write tone especially when you’re in a hurry or emotionally responding to something.

Everyone has different communication styles and I know that writing can also be easier for some (especially guys) when it comes to expressing emotions. But if you can learn to open up and be vulnerable with someone face-to-face, the communication, and your relationship, will be so much richer for it. And you’ll learn to how to talk to the other person. (Yea! You and your message are understood.)

I’ve heard the comment several times that I’m a woman of few words (when texting). That’s because I’ve decided that if you want to get to know me, I’m the old-fashioned type and face-to-face or phone conversations work best. If I get to know someone well enough through those methods first, I’m happy to text more. Otherwise, I think it’s just a waste of time.

And, texting crucial conversations is the worst. When emotions have the potential to run high, meaning can get completely lost through text (or email). Part of that message is just gone, or misinterpreted.  Bye Felicia! Something that started out as a minor difference (and could’ve been easily and quickly resolved) can end up being a BFD. Ugh! No one has time for that.

In the song, “Too Good” their issue is communication. Don’t be like the dude in the DIRECTV commercial. Don’t end up in a communication ditch. Don’t end up Lost in Textlation.

Drake “Too Good