Texting has always been the most pointless and awkward way to communicate

It’s just so boring

I remember getting my first phone. Naturally, it was a Nokia 3210. It was indestructible, the battery never ran out and nothing beat the adrenaline rush of Snake. It could also text – something that, like the phone itself, has become a worn out relic from a bygone era. This isn’t because everyone is glued to their screens and so not living in the moment – that will always happen. It’s more to do with how pointless and frustrating texting can be.

The conversation is awkward

No one has time to text anymore, so text conversations stagger and wilt, often spanning days and even weeks. The longer you leave it to reply to Callum the guiltier you feel about not replying and the more irrelevant the whole conversation becomes. Now it’s three days later, and his question about tomorrow night (now two nights ago) has expired. The question remains unanswered and the glitchy, awkward cycle lurches forward.

You can never tell what they mean

Was that “K” serious or sarcastic? Is “Count” an auto-correct, or new slang? And why is Liv replying with one-word answers? Is she mad? Shit, she’s found out about the milk.

Frustration and confusion are the hallmarks of texting. The tone, intonation, texture and subtle nuances that give words meaning and bring conversation to life are lost. You’re left with incoherent fractures of something that you can’t be bothered to put together.

text circle 2

Having a good time

It makes organising things harder – not easier

You try and meet up, but there’s never any signal. You can’t see if they’ve received the message. Someone always takes ages to reply. Timings get confused. Plans change. It’s all so ugly and inefficient. Much easier to drop a line in the group WhatsApp, or go proper retro and set aside time for an old-fashioned phone call.

There’s just too much pressure

There’s always a weird need to mirror your mate’s style and delivery – from the same message length right down to the numbers of “x’s”. When a friend sends a full on essay about their life the pressure is on to reply with an equally long and comprehensive response – something that will take time, signal and brain power you just don’t have on the District line home at 8pm. But a short reply will make you look self-important, and ignoring it just plain rude.

The crippling anxiety when first texting someone you like is unbearable

Every moment is agonising. When should I text her? What should I text? How long should I leave it between messages? Shit, she hasn’t replied for five hours. That joke about her pug killed it. It’s over. She thinks I’m weird. She hates me. Wait, she’s replied. Thank God. But why did she only reply with one kiss when I put two? This is big. What does it mean? Has she gone off me? Fuck, this is it. I’m done.

The self-conscious doubt and eagerness to please pillars away at your self-esteem until the whole thing becomes stilted and contrived – and not in a charmingly awkward Hugh Grant kind of way. Sure, the same cringe shit happens in person, but at least then you have the power to change the situation. No one can hide behind a screen and play God with your fragile emotional state in real life. Tinder might be brutal, but at least nothing is lost in translation.

me and phone

It’s just too much

All this isn’t to say texting is completely obsolete. It’s now in the same league as the letter or telegram – perfect for the odd, thoughtful message but, on the whole, pretty redundant. Although it was revolutionary and exciting at the time, its influence is sadly waning – a bit like Wayne Rooney. Or the Catholic Church. If you want to talk, your best bet is to use WhatsApp, Facebook or make a phone call. That way you can keep playing Snake in peace.

More
The Tab