Pet Peeve #16: Text Conversations

I got my first cell phone when I was studying abroad in Japan. At the time, if you called someone, you got billed by the number of minutes you used, but they got a free call.

So if you ever needed to tell someone something really quick, like, “Meet me in 10 minutes at Starbucks,” you could either call the person and get charged a lot for all the smalltalk required to convey a simple message, or you could text them for 5 cents. No big deal.

I know that sounds like such a normal thing now, but back then, no one texted over here in America. Few people even had cell phones. So although the idea of texting someone seemed completely foreign to me, I quickly realized the sheer convenience of it. You could cut through all the crap and get to the point, every time.

So that’s what texting is to me–a way to convey a quick, time-sensitive message to someone else.

Oh, but the horror of what it’s actually become. Some people want to have entire conversations over text. Why in the world would you want that? No matter how good predictive text software is, texting will always be slower than typing on a keyboard. You’re bent over that tiny screen, your big fingers trying to tip-tap a comprehensible phrase. It’s tortuous!

I’m just going to put this out there: If you want to have a conversation with me, e-mail me. It’s less immediate than texts, and I can reply via a real keyboard. Or e-mail me and ask if we can hang out to chat in person. Or, if all else fails, call me.

But don’t try to have a text conversation with me. Leave the texts for things I need to know right now. That may include something really funny that just happened to you that you absolutely had to share with someone, but after I give you the obligatory, “LOL,” that’s it. Walk away. It’s better that way.