Why the Speed Information Travels At is Ruining Interpersonal Discussions

The Task

Luxy Hair’s 30 Day Self Care Challenge, Day 3: Text someone you care about and tell them how you feel about them.

Read more about this journey by checking out my previous acts of self-love.

Talking about Talking

Twenty years ago, email became mainstream and was the fastest thing on the planet. Now it’s considered an outdated form of communication.

Please don’t read on if you’re looking for some “whomp whomp texting is bad and millenial’s brains are rotting” discourse. This isn’t that. I think texting is great. I can talk to friends and family from all over the world by tapping my thumbs against a piece of glass.

Ah, see, there’s the problem right there. Did you notice it? Go back and read that last sentence again and see if you can find it. I’m willing to bet older people reading this will be more aware of it, while the youngsters might think nothing of it.

I wrote “talk.”

The dictionary definition of talk is,

to communicate or exchange ideas, information, etc., by speaking.

Head on over to the definition of speak, and you get,

to communicate vocally.

I know it’s a weak woman’s argument to use a dictionary definition as a starting off point and I am also aware that words change meaning over time. This is one word, however, I feel has lost its meaning entirely.

Last night, after I submitted my post on podcasts, I texted a friend. We fired back and forth quickly, and then she stopped responding. Fourteen minutes passed. I re-read my previous message. Had I said something to upset her? What did I do wrong? Did my tone come across as rude?

In a fit of panic, I text her again. “Are you mad at me?”

The reply comes instantly. “No, I’m cleaning.”

One side of my brain was laughing at me, telling me how ridiculous I was being. Fourteen minutes. I have ‘thank you’ notes and birthday cards sitting on my dresser that should have gone out months ago, and I’m the hypocrite freaking out about a fourteen-minute gap.

I do not think people should be on their phones 24/7, and I don’t think that my friend owed me an explanation or a goodbye. We weren’t having a fascinating or intellectual conversation. I was complaining about someone I went to high school with getting engaged and she was arguing the tax benefits of marrying young.

So why was I so bothered?

Because, while I rationally understand the pitfalls of instant communication, I rely on it. I rely on the instant gratification. The “woo-pa-ting” of Facebook. The “blooo-wOOp” of Skype.  I jump for my phone. Someone has something to tell me or a question to ask me or wants to know how I am feeling.

I matter!

There is the very root of this socital problem. The validation instant communication gives is a wonderful poison. Someone out there is thinking of you. Negative or postive, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that tiny rush of dopamine when you’re being contacted. When you swipe to open that message. When you read “what’s up” and you debate responding with the truth (eating a cold meatball sub in your underwear) or trying to sound interesting (reading a literary journal/flying a rocketship). Do you lie to sound compelling or be honest to seem real? The possiblities are endless!

The Challenge in Practice

Today’s challenge seemed so odd. “Text someone you care about and tell them how you feel about them.” Uh, okay. That could mean anything. I could have messaged a distant cousin I haven’t seen in years and said “ily.” That’s no less the truth than what I did send.

While I won’t talk about what I said or who I said it to, I will say this: it felt weird. I didn’t want to do a simple “ily” or heart emoji. I wanted to strip myself bare and tell someone how deeply I cherish our relationship.

Then, as I was typing out a heartfelt message, I started to grow uncomfortable. Was I only gushing to this person because I felt like I had to. If this person is reading my blog, what are they thinking? “Wow, what a bitch, she only said those nice things so she could talk about it in her blog.”

That’s what I would probably think, but then we have to look above and see I’m not the best with self-confidence and the tone of texting discussions.

I sent the message and the person and I talked back and forth for a hot second. It was nice. Pleasent. I got an “I love you, too” in response. I felt validated. Someone said they loved me. That was worth the risk of potentially being called out/though of as shallow/someone who only “does it for the views.”

So, yeah. That’s it for today.

Question of the Day

Respond down below

Q: After I pointed it out the first time, did you notice how many times I used “talk” to indicate messaging?

A: The answer is


2 thoughts on “Why the Speed Information Travels At is Ruining Interpersonal Discussions

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