|Image: © Yanik Chauvin | Dreamstime.com|
I thought of how our interactions with others have been impacted, specifically by e-mail and text messaging. Are there any situations or conversations that should never be handled via text or e-mail? I’m not sure that there is a blanket answer, so I’ll speak from my own experience.
I received a series of text messages from someone who was attempting to offer an explanation and apology for something they admittedly failed to do. Although I knew this person rather well, it was very difficult under the circumstances to “read” the true emotions via text messaging. The succinctness of the text messages just made the explanation, and the accompanying apology, feel really insincere—even if they weren’t.
The whole incident made me nostalgic about the “old days.” The days when people sat down and poured their emotions from the ink of a pen onto a piece of paper, and the recipient just knew that they were on the mind and heart of the writer. When any ambiguity regarding a person’s thoughts and feelings were cleared up with sometimes pages upon pages of their written words.
It made me wish for the times when friends knew they needed to talk, and problems would be resolved, and hugs and tears exchanged over a cup of coffee. I’m afraid that those days are all but gone. I’m fearful that they now have a sometimes cold and impersonal replacement.
Technology is a double-edged sword. It can be helpful in communicating a simple idea, thought, or feeling to a friend or relative. On the other hand, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Technology is great, but it’s making us into a bunch of wimps when it comes to handling disagreements and delicate situations. It gives us a pass to get out of facing someone we've hurt. On the flip side, it may give us the gumption to say things we'd probably not have the nerve to say in person.
You simply cannot replace the value of human interaction in every situation, and especially sensitive ones, with a text message or e-mail: You don’t break up with someone, for instance, via text message—that’s cold and tacky. Sometimes you have to pick up the phone or arrange the face-to-face.
What are your thoughts? What are situations that should not be handled via text message or e-mail?