When you phone a person, there’s always that niggling concern that they’re busy and too polite to say that they’re just about to sit down for dinner, watching their favourite TV programme, helping the kids with their homework or getting ready for an evening out. And if you don’t really have anything important to say, you’re not phoning for any particular purpose other than the fact that you fancy a bit of a catch-up, then your finger hesitates over the number pad, and often you think better of it and go off to do something else instead. That way, days, weeks, even months can pass without you speaking, which can make it even more difficult to make that call if you don’t have a specific reason.
There’s no such guilt behind texting. You can send your message, safe in the knowledge that the recipient can respond at their leisure, at a time that’s convenient to them. You don’t need to have anything of major importance to impart, a quick How are you? is sufficient to keep the channels of communication open, and a How about lunch tomorrow? allows the other person time to consider whether they really want to do it without having to make an on-the-spot decision that they might later regret.
Lots of people bemoan the fact that modern technology such as texting, emailing, twittering and facebooking is replacing face-to-face communication and leading to a decline in social interaction and social skills. I disagree. Since the advent of these services, I’ve been able to keep in far more frequent touch with a wider range of my friends, acquaintances and colleagues, and because of this, we actually meet up and see each other much more often.
Used in the right way, technology can enhance our friendships.