Texting vs. Talking (How Come You Never Call Me?)

1 Posted by - October 22, 2008 - Uncategorized

The other night I was out with a friend who misplaced her phone in the bottomless thing she calls a purse. After she searched for a while I decided to call her phone so either the ringing or the illuminated screen would help her locate it. Sure enough it did. As she pulled the momentarily misplaced Blackberry out, she looked at the screen, smiled and said, “That’s a name I don’t see on my caller ID very often.”


“Yours, silly.”

“But we text back and forth all the time.”

“Texting doesn’t count, you hardly ever pick up the phone and call me.”

“Fair enough. But at least we have good conversations when we’re face to face.”

“Yes, thank, God.”

As my friend and I got wrapped up in actual conversation and a couple after work drinks (yeah, I’ve finally partaken in a handful of drinks since ending my fast, sue me) I forgot about the above exchange. But as I was coming back from the swim class this past weekend, I saw an ad that reminded me of the topic of texting vs. talking. It was a Dentyne campaign called “Make Face Time” that promotes the idea of getting off the computer and Blackberry and having actual face-to-face interaction. The billboard that caught my eye on the train was a picture of a man and woman kissing, accompanied by the words, “Original Instant Message.” Not sure what all the human contact has to do with Dentyne, but the general philosophy behind the campaign sends a good message.

See, the more technology we acquire the less personal we become as a society. With IM, iChat, Twitter, email, Blackberries, texts, FaceBook, MySpace and a host of other technological marvels at our disposal, we have less reason or actual need to talk directly to one another because we now have the ability to communicate electronically from all over the world.

I know I’m a notorious IMer that keeps up with people electronically more than I do on the phone. What’s sad, though, is the other day I realized I hadn’t been in touch with one of my good friends in a few weeks, but instead of picking up the phone and calling, I searched for her on IM. She wasn’t online so I figured she was busy and I didn’t bother reaching out until she popped up on my buddy list two days later. SMH. Is this what we’ve come to? Digital over dialogue?

My typical excuse for using electronic means of communication more frequently is it allows me to multi-task while still keeping up the appearance of personal interaction with friends and acquaintances. See, when I’m on the phone I step away from the computer, mute the TV and turn down any music so that there are no outside elements to distract me from the conversation. The problem is I actually talk a lot once I get going and long phone conversations don’t always mesh well with my work schedule—especially when I’m on deadline. So I’ve found that it’s much easier for me to text or IM with someone while editing a blog/article or searching for pics online. But how good of a conversation can I really have if I’m doing a million other things at the same time, and tossing out random LOL’s and K’s as placeholders for actual dialogue?

Texting is no different. When you actually think about it, it’s kinda lame to spend hours trading key strokes on your phone instead of just pressing the ten-numbered sequence that would complete the call and probably get wrapped up quicker than your endless and impersonal text-athon. And is just me, or does it seem like phones nowadays have so many functions that focus on doing everything else but making calls? There are cameras, Internet, IM, email, Bluetooth and a host of other functions that make phones everything else but devices designed to help two (or more) people have direct contact with one another.

It’s like what was supposed to bring us as a people closer together has ultimately brought us farther apart. That’s felt most in the world of dating. You’d be hard pressed to find two people actually talking into the early morning on the phone today. Now it’s all about texting, IMing and emailing, which starts to get annoying and a tad passive aggressive. Rather than live in the moment, people would rather pick and chose their words and aimlessly spew them at their intended target with no real regard for the lost art of courtship. I for one am growing tired of the shenanigans. I think it’s time to put down the phones, step away from the buddy lists and truly reach out and touch someone. Not via text message, not via instant message but actual interaction. Because I don’t want to wind up a distant memory on someone’s caller ID that only dials their number to help locate their misplaced phone. I think I’m finally getting the message: Talking is way better than texting, so pick up your phone, it’s me.

What’s do you guys/gals think about this texting/IMing phenomenon? Have we lost the art of true courtship in dating? Do you have text relationships with someone that only communicates with you via short digital messages? Is there any hope for dating in this digital world? What’s on your mind?

Speak your piece…

*This blog post is sponsored by Dentyne (LOL)

  • AroundHarlem.com

    The only time I text is when I’m running late or something. I may send one or two texts a month to people with crazy schedules.

    In regards to dating and texting. I tell guys that I work on computers all day and I don’t use them to socialize. If you want to get to know me, you have to call.

    I tend to learn a lot about people from direct conversation and the only way I can really get to know you is through spontaneous conversation, listening to what you say and how you say it.

    Anything else, like the other commenter said creates false intimacy.

  • Ayanna

    Texting is especially great when you’re single. It can make multiple people feel special at the same time…. It can’t only be me that has given the old “Good morning, sweety” to 4 guys at the same time! Lol, but in all truthfulness that was just my laziness and manipulation- hey, if we’d only just met then what are the odds I’m THAT concerned about how his day is at 8 a.m.? :-)

  • http://nwso.net Naked With Socks On

    SMH Yanna,

    Damn is it really like that? A mass supposedly “personal” text to several folks? No shame…

  • AroundHarlem.com

    “Then there are times when I feel like texting is so impersonal, but that’s usually when I’m waiting on a response and it either doesn’t come fast enough, or the person texting me is being ambiguous on purpose which makes me have to text MORE.

    This is actually another BIG reason why I don’t text.

    Too much ambiguity. Too much potential for BS.

  • http://nwso.net Naked With Socks On

    Uh, whoever you are Anonymous you must have missed the point or seen the comments above. How am I the only one caught up when some of the folks above said the same thing. And I did say there is a dial feature and the point was that we should do that more.. .

    I said it here: “it’s kinda lame to spend hours trading key strokes on your phone instead of just pressing the ten-numbered sequence that would complete the call and probably get wrapped up quicker than your endless and impersonal text-athon.”

    and HERE: “I for one am growing tired of the shenanigans. I think it’s time to put down the phones, step away from the buddy lists and truly reach out and touch someone. Not via text message, not via instant message but actual interaction.”

    SO…. :P

  • http://nwso.net Naked With Socks On

    Word, I’m with you RH

    4 mass texts is just wrong on so many levels… to each his/her own, though..

    Ayanna, I’m bout to put you on DontDateHer.com


  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06874603132114484836 biba the Diva

    I read an article that said, “Text messages create a false sense of intimacy.” It hit me like a ton of bricks.

    All of this digital type over talk stuff makes you think that you are close to this person. But, it isn’t the intimacy that real friendships or relationships should have.

    I do all the digital stuff too, even with people that I am close to. I have a very close friend who hates to talk on the phone, but, sometimes, it’s just worth it to have that real dialogue. Hear the voice, the inflections, the real laughter. Sometimes, you just have to reach out and touch.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15104817264338783251 Harpist

    While some people feel it’s rude, texting is convenient when you’re somewhere that you can’t talk! You can also respond at YOUR convenience :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03831501030214758302 PhlyyGirl

    ROFL@ Ayanna.
    No sweetie, you are soo not the only person who does that. I have three specific texts that get rotated throughout the week to specific people to make them seem special. It seems to work though.
    I go back and forth on the texting/talking issue.
    There are times when I just don’t feel like talking. I feel that at LEAST if I text you, then you know that I was thinking of you.
    Then there are times when I feel like texting is so impersonal, but that’s usually when I’m waiting on a response and it either doesn’t come fast enough, or the person texting me is being ambiguous on purpose which makes me have to text MORE.
    But there’s nothing like having text sex. Those messages you get before you actually get to the person? Yea, sometimes that’s better than talking on the phone and you have something to remember the next day.

  • fayemi

    You ladies are hardcore. lol. Lately, I’ve been a text-a-holic. I’m a writer by nature so I prefer that form of communication to actually talking because I have more time to think about my response. But I balance it out with face time. I’m just not a phone person. Great post. SOOOOO timely. I’m so guilty!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17332350101985226312 Professor Ice

    I didn’t read any of the other comments first so if someone already said this, my bad but just FYI the Dentyne commercial is implying that you want/need to have fresh breath when going for that human/face to face contact (Stank breath ain’t cute…at all)..ok on to the point.

    It was actually one of my close guy friends that commented on how much I stay on my blackberry. He stated also that he would never be that person that went back and forth on AIM or Text all day instead of picking up the phone (funny enough also, is he is the one person I talk to just as much as or more than my mother and me and moms talk a lot AND he refuses to get a blackberry…but I know one day he will…it’s a job requirement.)

    The thing about digital communication is that no emotion is involved. Yes, we have a pethora (sp?) of smiley faces to choose from and special ways to insert emotions into texts but it’s no where near the same as face to face expression. One of my ongoing resolutions has actually been to spend more time with those I value. This means more phone calls just to say hello more meetings over brunch, lunch, dinner coffee or pizza just to catch up and say all the things we would say digitally. My weekends are all about face time…

    I also learned my lesson about “text relationships”…I was “dating” someone a couple of years back and we talked regularly on bb IM and saw eachother often as well but one day I picked up the phone and decided to call him and ask him a question and his reply to my voice on the other end and what ever slick shit I said to him was “Who’s this??”…nah honey, 1. You don’t have my number in your phone?? and 2. I’ma need you to know THIS voice…

    Good post:)

  • Chocopina

    totally off topic, but its good to hear you are keeping up with your swim lessons.

  • SB

    LOL yall are crazy

    but i think texting/IM’ing/etc are an impersonal way of communication.

    in the paragraph were ur ranting about phones LOL u sound like an old ass man

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07056091464391621030 katmamblu

    we r im’ing rite now, LOL but I hate when my friend texts me, he and I ride share to school and we have to meet every morning, so there I am waiting for his text to say he is on the way, AND HE WONT CALL ME AND JUST SAY, I AM RUNNING LATE!!!! I hate when he does that. His story is that he dosnt have a lot of minutes on his cell but really if its as important as getting to class on time CALL!!! I like to text as other people have said when I dont have time for a full conversation, so a quick text is good to let the person know, ur thinking of them and will call later.

  • anonymous

    What…ever Anslem.Your the only one I know besides… that’s getting caught up with the ‘technological’ crap. Phones nowadays to me are cool you can share a picture, say a quick hello while on the go, and let others know you are not forgotten but it’s no excuse to use the other features as a method to converse when a comforting or familiar voice can say something a text cannot. Remember there is a dial feature that can initiate verbal conversation….Hello! my piece has been spoken.

  • Recording History

    I personally prefer to talk on the phone. I save text messaging for times when 1) I don’t have time to talk or 2) I really don’t want to talk to you but I have some information to pass on. Words can be taken the wrong way if it is not interpreted correctly.

    But honestly, from some of the responses I read, I will never trust a courteous message again unless I have been directly addressed. One text for four people is time efficient but there is something so insincere about that. I would not want to be on the receiving end of that text message.

  • Shells

    Texting is convenient for short messages that don’t really require a 20 minute response. Things like, “I’m on my way”, or “I’m in a meeting”, “I’ll call you later”, or “I just boarded the plane”, etc. are nice simple text messages that makes me love it. What I hate are the endless conversations that go back and forth. You’re typing, I’m typing, you’re typing, I’m typing. Dammit, pick up the phone and call me. If you can’t talk now, call me later. I piss people off with that. After the 3rd or 4th exchange, I’m calling your ass!
    I once did that to this guy. He answered the phone and asked why did I call him? I responded, “Why do you keep texting me? I’m tired of typing!”
    Text messaging is also responsible for the illiteracy problems that we’re having. People can’t read nor spell simple words N E more. (any) In turn, I feel like I can’t read because people can’t spell. What a mess!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14495364587650946011 VOD

    “Now it’s all about texting, IMing and emailing, which starts to get annoying and a tad passive aggressive.”

    Anyone who knows me well, knows that this is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to technology.

    “I for one am growing tired of the shenanigans. I think it’s time to put down the phones, step away from the buddy lists and truly reach out and touch someone.”

    Same here.

    “Do you have text relationships with someone that only communicates with you via short digital messages?”

    Yes, earlier this year. It began to annoy the shit out of me, so that person was given the red light a few months ago.

  • AA

    LMAO at shells.. True and true…and just like I texted you last night Ans, my AKA name is now Dentyne, because I refuse to go down that lane again.

    I, too, had a texting/digital relationship with someone, but it was over g-chat (that is the devil incarnate!) and we would talk from 9am until 5 pm, yes this meant that we could carry on an hour long conversation about the spec of dirt on my jeans, but when it was all said and done we ended up losing touch of the importance of that critical “face time,” then jealousy/insecurity issues came into play…and after one, too many, g-chat arguments (which are the worse because you’re reading what the person is feeling in real-time, and at work) we couldn’t fake the funk, and it ended…badly…So yeah I’m all about face time now with peeps i’m dating… For friends and associatess, I reaally don’t think it’s that big of a deal to text/aim, it’s definitely a timesaver… I could go on about this topic, but then I’d risking creating my own post in the comment section

    And I’m not trying to steal your shine Ans, besides I probably couldn’t have said it any better myself anyway ;-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07797849664590160921 Jackpot aka H.D. aka Desckabaisses

    Viva la text messages. It’s just so convenient, man. You said it yourself, you can get a lot done when texting rather than being on the phone. I hate talking on the phone. I’m sorry. I just do.But I ain’t stupid. If the one wants to talk on the phone, we’ll just have to talk on the phone.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16311383160115646887 Jomo

    hmm so I just finished texting over 100 people thanks for support through school in 40 min. Couldn’t have had 100+ thank you’s that easy or quick. On the other hand I’m considering fasting from e-luxury. that is electronic luxuries. no call id, no vmail (maybe), no text messages, no email. I remember when life existed before pagers, beepers, ipod/phones, cellies, metro-cards (i love philly tho it be slow out there lol ol school ass transfers) and those things kids and uggh hipsters play with from t-mobile. its odd i’m not old (30’s) but we move fast now…i can use all the gadgets in a manner of hours regardless of how complex BUT i can also take out garbage, wash a floor by hand and screw a phillips screwdriver with a butter knife. am i old or are we dumbed down or is it about meshing all of life and being aware of what we do when we do it? anyway i love them and i don’t love them…i’m going to fast.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16311383160115646887 Jomo

    the nice thing is to read text responses and then respond by voice it surprises the heck out of people. lol

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06455919793487339872 Sunshyne

    I totally agree! If I’m at work then it’s easier to text. Or if I just have a quick question or just bored it’s useful, but it is so impersonal.

  • Anonymous

    im definetly different from most females bc Personally i HATE talking on the phone, bc i do it as means to pay my bills aka its my job lol, i have no desire to speak to anybody on the phone unless its my family like my mon or dad or my lil sis whom all live in different parts of the world in which case i will talk to them but otherwise im not a phone person im a texter i will text all day all night until i fall asleep lol, even with a guy im actually diggin and even then its still sketchy bc if i really like a guy i will actually talk to him on the phone but if he doesnt seem to be making any connection or conversation with me over the phone im quick to end the call, so if dude dont call me i could careless text me everyday and im good and if you dont do that then the hell wit ya.lol besides that with the schedule i work i dont wana be bothered during the week the weekends are my time to catch up with everybody. if i decide that i wanna chill then i may make a phone call or two but otherwise i despise it….

  • Anonymous

    This has struck a chord with me… I have been “talking” to this dude for about 8 months now. Everything is going ok seeing as how we both have crazy schedules, but when I get that “Good Morning (Lady)!” text, I am not always sure that I am the only lady receiving it. I said to him to other day while on the phone, “I don’t get to talk to you anymore”, and he replies, “We were just talking” (he meant texting). I had to clarify saying, “No, I mean hearing your voice and your laughter”. I could have sworn I heard the light bulb filament begin to burn…

    On another note, especially for the holidays, I was so determined to give everyone a quick (even if only for 2 minutes) phone call and by noon on Christmas day, my phone was full of texts!!. New Year’s was the same thing. It is pretty sad, because I just noticed that I can’t remember peoples’ voices or have no idea what their handwriting looks like. What’s going on??

  • anonymous

    I love this discussion and have finally found other humans who desire actual human, flesh-and-blood contact! Digital communication, while valuable for brief impersonal or even fun flirty exchanges, is a sorry substitute for a real relationship with a person. So… Does anyone have advice for how to encourage someone (in dating) who does not like talking on the phone much to do it a little more, instead of texting and emailing almost EXCLUSIVELY? Should I stop responding to the texts (and thereby scratching his itch without reciprocation)?The “honest, ask him outright to call more” approach backfired, but shouldn’t there be some compromise on this? I’m beginning to feel it’s time to move on…

  • firefoxfreak147

    I prefer texting to talking by a lot because I usually don’t want to have a conversation, I generally want to ask them something, or tell them if I’m late, etc. For conversations, I still prefer texting/IM because then I can do other stuff at the same time, and it’s also just easier.

  • queen_vette

    I text cuz I am lazy and often bored a work. It gives me great pride to know that my cell phone bill will never suffer from overages and I can communicate with a lot of people at once. I like to say I didnt get that last text soemtimes even if I know I did just to trip up some lame dude who is mass texting all his babes. I like the photo mail and the impromptu video messages from places far and unknown. Hell I am texting now as we speak telling someone that he cant come over with his chick to use my computer. Its convenient for me and the chick he is with doesnt know he doesnt have that kind of friendship with me sohis ego is saved. Texting is a blessing if I could only teach my mom how to use the text message functions on her phone I would never talk again. I work in an office with 8 other people and we will email, im, text and go so far as to put post it notes on each others desk just to save ourselves those few extra words a day and quite frankly I love it I embrace it and I am not ready for the change back to voice calls. I have a home phone that when you leave a message it sends it as a text. So this Texas chick is down with keeping everything on digits…to inifinity and beyond!!!!

  • stiring the pot

    OMG!!! I was just blogging about this very issue the other day. I hate texting, I feel like it is soo impersonal. Half the time you don’t know what a person means or what the intention was when they text. They could be mad and yu would never know. They could be joking or anything. It’s ok when you have a short messege. Isn’t that what it’s for. Short Messege Service. Not the marathon messeges that some people have. My question is, if you are in a relationship and find out your s/o is texting with someone all day and all night, about their personal business and they know more about your s/o than you do, is this considered adultry, even though they are never going to actually meet? Is emotional infidelity, when their text conversation takes priority over the actual conversation they are having with you right now? If your s/o continues to send a texts to someone, even while you are having a “important” we need to talk, conversation, is this disrespectful. Just my 2 cents worth


  • JuJu

    yea its true txt’in is so impersonal…

    like i was talking to this one guy i met at a show

    we started of text granted he txt my every day all through out the day

    he says he is feelin me and stuff i but i gotta damn near beg for a call

    he says he shy and wen he do call on tha fone his voice is low and he dont talk or he cuts it short ( i kno for sure it aint another woman)

    but still like wen we do go out and hang its good we have fun

    but if we’re not on a date we textin and i’m, gettin tried their basically is no real relationship i sorry but i dont get a emotional connection through a text

  • CC

    I can relate to that. I convinced myself, that a gentleman that I had met online years ago actually was my friend and that maybe there was a possibility of something more. Last November we started the text/IM thing on a daily basis for about 4 months. He too didn’t want to talk on the phone because he preferred texting. We met, had fun, went out to eat (dutch I might add) and then the next day it was back to texts/IM when I pushed him about it he got mad and eventually disappeared. I figure its like Steve Harvey said in his book you have no idea how many girls he’s shooting out the same text to or how many he’s talking to online. Its a way for guys to multi- task women! lol Words mean nothing, all that counts are actions i.e. phone calls and face time.

  • single23

    lol. I love this topic!!!! Texting is for booty calls these days. so any guy that is serious about me needs to pick up the phone. I only text when I don’t feel like wasting my time talking for a long time. It gives a false sense of intimacy. I don’t see the sense of “hey, we’ve barely spoken to each other, but I know you well enough to get intimate.” It’s silly, but thats how most people do things now.

    It’s even harder now, with myspace, facebook, twiiter, blackplanet, etc. all these sites that makes more people aware of you, and interested in you. But I don’t see the point in digital dating. You date a person so you can have them in real life, not digitally. So why start off that way?

  • Me

    I must admit I am one of those people who have become an avid “texter” and most of my family and friends know that I will not pick up the phone to talk so….. “Text me!” Is what I usually say.. How sad and disappointing that is to realize. Most people ask me why I only text and I tell them it’s because I can do 2 things at once and if I don’t like the conversation I can just cut them off and not really have to say “Good bye” Texting should really be used to quick relay messages or maybe a random hello. I feel I am way too consumed in my Blackberry that I really have forgotten what it’s like to hold a real conversation over the phone. I wonder what it would be like if all the people who are notorious for texting, IM’ing, Facebooking, Myspacing, Twittering etc,. stopped….. Would we then pick up the phone and start communicating with our voices?? Or would we freak out and go through “withdrawals” Just something to think about…

  • Pingback: Button or Autumn? « IrishGirl821- n: Self-Proclaimed Representative of Everyday People()

  • Robin

    The last time I talked on the phone to my BF was 9/11…he has texted almost every day since then…I miss his voice and seeing his face through real communication. Texting should never replace real communication. This totally pisses me off! I sent him a text telling him that text is limiting…that I wish to hear is voice and see his face and that I miss our conversations…that was 5 hrs ago…he’s either mad or with another women…I think it’s time for me not to care about where this relationship goes.