This is article #44 to be published on the Get The Guy blog from my brother Stephen. Steve helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.
I’ve always been a useless texter.
Until recently I was a running joke amongst my close friends, who would always say that I must have given them a fake number, since they would text me and never receive anything back.
My friends found this quirk amusing. My parents did not.
I don’t know how I got so bad at messaging people back. Perhaps I was just over-exposed to texting as a teenager and got bored with it.
Before the days of Facebook, I would, like most of my friends, sit for hours punching away at my clunky Nokia 3210, sending pointless messages to classmates, forwarding lame chain texts, or trying (and mostly failing) to get a date with girls I liked at school.
Whatever the reason, text messages became a pain by the time I reached my mid-twenties. Something to be ignored and quickly brushed away so that I could get on with my day.
I always had a reason (excuse) for why I couldn’t be bothered with texting:
Excuse No. 1 – I prefer face-to-face contact.
Excuse No. 2 – I didn’t have time to text all day.
Excuse No. 3 – Texting is a WASTE of time that serves no purpose.
I’ve recently come to see how bad all these excuses are:
No. 1 – Even if it’s true I prefer face-to-face conversations (and it is true), using that as an excuse not to text is like me saying I should never eat chicken soup again because I happen to prefer pizza. Or that I should never go out and dance because I prefer reading books.
It’s a lame cop-out.
No. 2 – This one is also true. I don’t have time to text all day. But even if I need my phone switched off to concentrate on work, that doesn’t mean I can’t turn it on for ten minutes to give the people I love a quick message to let them know I’m thinking about them.
It’s a small investment of time to show people I care about that I care about them.
No. 3 – Ok, this one is just plain wrong.
Even in days long before texting, people realised the value of writing out their thoughts in the form of letters to the people they loved, as another way of reaching out, or even just sharing a funny thought or touching emotion.
Texting is only a waste of time if we use it for bland purposes, or if we use it simply to rid ourselves of boredom.
I’m sure a lot of texting serves no purpose. But that doesn’t mean yours and mine has to. I’ve recently re-awoken to the value of being in touch through texts and have found myself feeling happier and more closely bonded to everyone in my life.
11 Types Of Text That Will Change Your Life And Make You A Better, Happier Person
So now I’ve lost my old excuses, where does that leave me?
I feel a bit like Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas morning.
I’ve awoken to a new world and am eager to make amends for my previous miserly conserving of texts, desperate to shake off my reputation as ‘he who cannot be contacted via digital means’.
I haven’t exactly transformed myself though.
I hardly now have the texting proficiency of a teenage girl raving about One Direction, but I have found the untold benefits of pinging a message over to friends and family to make them smile, or even just to show them I’m alive and well.
I don’t want to preach to you why you should spend your life texting, since I don’t think you should.
But I do want to preach about the kinds of texts I’ve found to have enriched my relationships with friends and family and made me feel like a warmer, more socially engaged person.
Here are some of the texts that have changed my life in the past few months:
- Making my mum smile by sending her a picture of something that reminded me of her. In fact, sending my mum anything that lets her know i’m thinking of her and looking forward to catching up (usually followed up by a phone call).
- Sending my brothers messages about movies I’ve recently seen that I know they’d love.
- Forwarding a friend a link to an article or website that I think will be of interest for their work, make them laugh, or relate to one of their hobbies.
- Sending a personal, thoughtful birthday message to a friend telling them why they’re special to me.
- Restarting old friendships by checking in on people from school/university. e.g. Maybe I’ll see they’ve been abroad recently on Facebook and text them saying: “Tell me about Brazil! Where did you stay? What are the best things I should see when I go next year?” – something as simple as that has put me back in touch with so many people.
- Sending a flirty message to that ‘special friend’/partner you had a fun night with recently ;)
- Congratulating a friend on their job promotion after seeing it on Facebook.
- Asking a close friend out of the blue: “what books/movies have you seen lately that you’d recommend?” – Once I start the conversation at this level, it cuts out all the boring “what you been up to?” chat and goes straight to a subject that gets us both excited.
- Asking a friend for advice or a recommendation – People love sharing their expertise, so why not let them? If they’ve been to a good restaurant or know somewhere cool I want to visit, I’ll just ask for advice on places to stay and what to see.
- Sending a ‘nostalgia text’ to remind a friend about a fun memory we shared together (optional extra: add a photo or YouTube video that encapsulates the memory).
- Telling someone I miss them, for no reason whatsoever (other than I miss them).
Now, if all that doesn’t inspire you to send a text to someone today, I have something else to share that might give you the necessary kick to spread some inbox love.
I was inspired to write this post after a new song was put on Matt’s desk at his iHeart radio show recently.
Whatever your thoughts on Christmas songs being released in November, somehow this unbearably cute single worked subliminal holiday magic into my brain and encouraged me to fire-off texts all morning, as though each swoosh from my iPhone’s “Sent” tone was the sound of me posting a handcrafted gift-wrapped christmas treat delivered by Santa himself into my loved ones’ inboxes.
If you’re offended by Christmas coming too early, maybe save this one until December 1st!
* * * * * * * * * * * *