Texting sucks. I think it might be the worst technological invention we’ve ever had to suffer through. It’s no secret that old people despise it. We’ve all heard their complaints: “You kids these days don’t know to have a conversation. All you kids do is text. You kids are always on your phones.” I have to reluctantly agree with my elders on this one. And this is ironic coming from a millennial who is constantly on his phone and who undoubtedly uses texting as his primary form of communication. But to my defense, I’m not going to try to buck the evolution of technology and be some kind of Neo-Luddite. That kind of resistance is initially cute, but how cool do people look today who still try to resist getting a cell phone or using email? They’re definitely not winning. But nonetheless, why exactly do I hate texting? The answer is simple: people freakin’ suck at it.
I’m going to categorize three types of texters. Instead of coming up with pithy little names and coming off like I’m trying too hard, I’ll simply say there are people who go overboard with a rapid fire, always-get-the-last-text-in style; people who play it just right; and people who are the cause of the problem—the ones who treat getting a text like getting a hand-written letter in the mail, where a two-week response time is the norm.
We all know the super texter. They can type paragraphs faster than you can type LOL. They’re already responding to your next text before you send it. And they always get in the last smiley face or “HAHA.” But as bad as these people are for the culture of texting, they’re reliable for getting ahold of—you can rest assured that your text will be responded to in less than three minutes, anytime of the day or night.
The just-right texter is just that—acceptable response times, good tone, and to-the-point information. I like to think the majority of people fall into this category. I mean, it’s not that hard. When someone sends you a text, you respond to it in a timely manner and engage him on the level of conversation he’s seeking. It should play out like a quick, amiable phone conversation. Again, easy. But this isn’t so easy for some people. The last category of texters drives me nuts, and we all know them. But before we dive in, what’s an acceptable response time to a text? A few minutes? A few hours? A few days? Hell, a few weeks? Understandably, there is not one set time frame. There are too many variables that have to be considered: What time of day is it? What’s the relationship of the parties? What’s the subject matter? These are valid questions that can vary the potential response time. But c’mon! You know damn well who absolutely sucks at texting under any conditions.
From my experience, shitty texters suck under all circumstances. I’m tempted to drop some names on here but I’ll refrain. So where to begin? I could fill the pages of a three-inch thick book with a run-on diatribe, but again, I’ll refrain and aim for brevity.
It’s got to be universally agreed upon that texting sucks in the dating game. It absolutely sucks. Is there anything worse than sending a text to a new love interest and getting no response? That’s the emotional equivalent of being repeatedly water boarded. But it’s the assholes on the other end that make it unbearable. People are able to take “playing games” to a whole new level with texting. Oh, maybe I’ll wait two or three days to respond. Maybe I won’t respond. Maybe I’ll claim I didn’t see your last text that I left you hanging on. It’s terrible. And nowadays, there’s that extra decision that has to be made between sending a text or calling, which wasn’t there in the past. To some people, sending a text as initial communication is immature and effortless, while to others, it’s completely acceptable. I can semi-let off the hook the poor texters in the dating game because it comes with the territory. Back in the day when you had to call and leave messages every time, you could still be ignored or have to wait a week to receive a return phone call. But with your people, friends and family? There’s no excuse!
Cell phones and texting are ubiquitous in our day and age. It’s not unusual for a homeless person to have a cell phone. Non-smart phones are about to go the way of the cassette tape. Everybody is on their phone, all the time. So please tell me how the hell I can text a buddy of mine and not get a response for three days? What the hell are you doing? And it’s not a one-time occasion. It’s every time. The busy excuse can kiss my you-know-what. Let’s add facts to this situation that make it even worse (I’m using a singular example to represent many people I know, both male and female). This text offender is always on his phone. All he does is text other people when we hangout—thumbs driving like pistons nearing the redline. This dude doesn’t delay probing the contents of a new text more than three seconds after his phone chimes. So when you finally get a response three days later, you know damn well he got that shit three seconds after you hit send.
Then there are those friends you know are not busy. You know them well. They don’t do anything. They sit in an office with their phones right next to them. When they get home they watch TV with their phones right next to them. But when you send them a text they take three days to get back to you. Go to hell! There’s Facebook evidence. Within that three-day span of silence you see numerous mobile Facebook posts. Hmmm… You’ve been busy, huh? Yeah, ok. You’re an asshole is what you are. Once you know someone is a texting flake you can categorize them as such, and not take it personally. But you still can’t help but to feel that they view you with a cold indifference, like you’re not that important to them. It sucks all around.
I’ve been focusing primarily on time as the underlying determinant of texting quality, but plenty of other obstacles add to the list of why texting sucks. These are content related. Reading comprehension is a big problem. Nothing like sending a text saying, “Hey man, what time is the game and where are you going to watch it?” And the response you get is, “Six o’clock.” Cool man, but did you not see the part about where at? Like the most important part?! And then you have to ask again. Or there’s the classic “left hanging” situation. You send them a text of an observation or a rant and they don’t respond at all. Granted, you didn’t ask them a question, but shouldn’t they at least acknowledge receipt? To me that’s natural, normal conversation. If a friend texts me venting about how much his fantasy football team sucks, I’ll at a minimum respond with an “I feel ya man” or “that sucks, dude.” Is it really that hard you bastards?
Call it the school of hard knocks or maturing enough to know you cannot change people, but I don’t harass—or I should say usually don’t harass—the repeat text offenders anymore. All I can do is keep up my end of the bargain. “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” right? When one texts Danny, he or she will receive a timely response, all questions answered, all statements acknowledged. Nonetheless, I feel like people would classify me as good texter as I am. If I leave someone hanging, it’s generally an isolated and sincere mistake. I guess it’s not texting that so much sucks, it’s the people who text that suck.