Think about the way you text. Are you short, dismissive, sharp? Long, wordy, droning? Or somewhere in between those ends? And, do you have good manners?
Texting is both a wonderful invention that brings us closer together, and a terrible invention that allows for massive misinterpretation and drives us apart. How can such a little phone cause so much joy and so much trouble?
Because, in person (as opposed to on text), we have context for the words we issue, but also in person we are more likely to have manners. On text, we eliminate manners for brevity, and that’s a shame because we lose so much when we lose manners. Because manners aren’t just some stuffy relic that your parents made you practice. Manners aren’t simply for schools or country clubs. Manners are evidence of caring. Think about that: Evidence of caring.
Case in point: I have two friends who are the same gender, almost the same age, and in the same socio-economic demographic. In person, both are kind and caring people with good manners. But if I send them both the same invitation by text to the same event? Very different styles of reply.
Friend 1: “Thanks so much for thinking of me. I can’t make it, but I really wish I could. Let’s make sure to do something else in the near future, okay? Thanks again.”
Friend 2: “No. That doesn’t fit my schedule.”
Same basic info conveyed. Same outcome. But a radically different experience for the person receiving those texts. And which texter do you think is likely to receive another invitation in the near future?
Sure, you could tell me to toughen up. That Friend 2 means well, and is just a little gruff on text. Maybe that’s true. Maybe I’m an overly-sensitive writer. But let’s also remember what Maya Angelou said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
And that’s the point of this story: think about how you’re making people feel. Improve, if you can, not just for others but for yourself, too.
Crazy but true. Be kind, and remember your manners when you can. I know it’s not always possible, but do what you can. Good luck!
Strong Starts in the Mind
You've got a brain. Let me help you turbocharge it.