By: Jennifer Hallgren
Communication doesn’t set us apart from an animal, language does. We still adhere to our primal means of communication through noises and body language but we are able to up the ante and add detail and meaning. We’ve evolved from simple body language to something more personal like mannerisms. We’ve taken a simple grunt of hunger into a parade of words that paints a brilliant picture of a filet wrapped in bacon and topped with crab meat. With this entire amazing means of communication, why the hell do we still suck at communicating especially when dating?
We have more resources than ever before to reach our love interest. Instead of paging someone to let them know you want to say something, you can text, “Good Morning Beautiful” and make your point. Instead of calling a landline once a day to catch up with your lover, you can barrage them with texts every second. Unfortunately though, we EXPECT instant communication because of these advances. So, are we putting too much pressure on ourselves because of this? I admit, I get uneasy when dealing with someone who doesn’t text frequently like I do. My mind starts playing tricks on me and feeds me irrational thoughts for fun. Communication through words, whether in person or text, has become easier. However, it is rarely used for topics of substance like letting someone know when things are going well or not. Here are some examples of horrible dating communication.
I’ll start with the always immature, “I’ll just randomly stop talking to you so you’ll take the hint”. Welcome to How to Be Cowardly 101. Instead of closing the door completely by stating that there is no interest, it’s not going anywhere, I’ve decided to reconcile with my night walking ex- you come up with the brilliant idea to put a door stop in and just disappear. The door never closes, so is it open? Who exactly is the door open for? When things don’t work out the way you planned, at least you didn’t close the door completely and can try to slip back in. Unfortunately for you, the door let in a wicked draft and I round-house kicked that door shut like Chuck Norris.
Sometimes though, we can over communicate through text (because who is mature enough to hold conversations over the phone). I’d say that this is better than not talking at all, but the more you have to say the less I want to talk in person. There’s a fine line between liking me and needing me. I understand that you care about how my day went and want to know every detail of my breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I understand that you are just trying to get to know me. Unfortunately, the more I feel you need me (to fill time in your day because you are jobless, you have no friends but me, etc.) the more distant I’ll become. Be happy that I am only annoyed by the sound of the text notification and not your voice because instead of turning my phone on silent, I would end up punching you in the throat. My favorite part about this type of communicator is the moment we end up “taking it to the next level” and talking on the phone, you are suddenly mute. However, I do appreciate the over texting communicator above the sporadic and weak text conversationalist.
The sporadic and weak text conversationalist opens the door for a lot of war within your brain. Are you busy? Are you ignoring me? Are you talking to someone else? Am I boring? Is this a sign that I am perhaps not as confident in myself as I first thought? This has come to be my generation’s expectation for instant or consistent responses. I stand by my motto- it takes two seconds to answer a text. If you are busy, please say so. If you are not busy and don’t want to talk then lie and say you are busy. If you specifically don’t like talking over the phone then abide by the rules of texting and text me back in a timely matter. Sorry, but text was not meant to lax communication. I know it gets to you right away and you see it. I know your phone has become an appendage. You can’t avoid your left arm. Don’t avoid my text. Even if you get my text hours later because you truly are busy, there is no expiration date on a question or statement that heeds a response- text back!
The real hero in all of this is the one who picks up the phone and dials out. The hero who bravely uses his or her allotted minutes whether it’s after 9pm or not to use the beauty of language with the music of the voice to tell you he or she is just not interested and thank you for all the good times. It may not be a song you want to hear, but at least you heard it. The song of closure is never easy but neither is being the one who had to sing it, by communicating on the ‘find’ line.