Opinions

Phone in a persons' hand
Are you a slow texter, or do you have a raging need to answer right away? Photo: Emilie Azevedo/Fulcrum
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The waiting game is no fun

Point: The frustrations with slow texters by Mariam Fawaz

Are you really busy, or do you just simply not feel like texting back? 

Both are valid excuses — being unable to communicate your situation is where it gets frustrating. A quick “I’m busy” or “TTYL” will suffice. I don’t expect a text 0.5 seconds later. However, I don’t want to wait three-plus hours to get a text back, either. If I really wanted to wait three business days to get a reply, I would have sent an email instead. 

The point of texting is for it to be a quick and easy mode of communication. Different mediums are used for different reasons — texting is meant to be faster than its counterparts. We’ve evolved so much in the realm of communications. Since we live in the 21st century, it should’nt take you two weeks to get back to someone. This is not the 1800s. Your text does not have to embark on a boat ride to get to its destination. 

It’s no surprise that text messaging is one of the most popular communicative tools. In fact, 89 per cent of Canadians use text messaging on a daily basis. We spend so much time texting that it’s become an integral part of all our relationships: family, friends, and maybe even strangers. 

Communication is key to healthy relationships and texting is a part of it. I’ve known some chronically slow texters, to the point where we would make plans and they would miss the date because they didn’t bother opening my text (I wish I was exaggerating). It definitely puts a strain on the relationship. The longer you take to reply, the more unwanted it makes us feel. It almost begs the question: am I worth your time? 

Now, this is not to say slow texters intentionally want us to feel unwelcome. However, this is a feeling that should be taken into consideration when they finally decide to respond. The point I’m trying to make is: be honest when texting people. If you’re disinterested, busy, or stressed, try to meet us in the middle. Let us know instead of leaving us on delivered for four days.

Counterpoint: Texting, itself, is frustrating by Sanjida Rashid

 I am well aware that I am among the bad texters of the world. It is an unfortunately true fact that, should you want to reach me, your best bet is to plan a few business days in advance. 

Should you opt for a good old-fashioned text to my number, you have the highest success rate. You may actually get same-day results! Instagram is more like ordering from a sketchy online store — a roll of the dice. Maybe you’ll get what you wanted the next day… or weeks from now, when you least expect it. Who’s to say? Not I. Never let them know your next move, I always say.

 Snapchat, however, is a write-off. If you think that is the best way to reach me, we can’t be all that close right from the get-go. I loathe when you are locked in one of those interactions where you send pictures of your face back and forth. So, while I keep the app as a photo album of sorts, comprised of nostalgia-inducing, year-ago-today memories, I have stopped giving it out to people to avoid the whole process.

 The fact that I am a bad texter is tragically ironic to me.

 As a political science student, I spend my week writing countless essays and discussion posts. Worse still, I’m a journalist who can’t be bothered to type a few words when prompted by friends and family. Despite being unable to limit my opinions pieces to anything less than a 2000-word ramble, I can’t motivate myself to send a quick and easy two-word “talk later?” Perhaps all this writing renders typing to feel like a chore.

 I’m aware that this is my toxic trait — a red flag, you could say.

 I know, of course, that the waiting game is no fun. Like everyone, I’ve been on the other end of it. The cute guy you want to text you back already, the job posting from which you’ve yet to hear back, the midterm marks your professor has yet to post (that you only sort of want to see) — it can be agonizing. Because a watched pot never boils or because the universe is a sadistic little puppeteer that snickers at simplistic human follies, we never get these responses fast enough. Or, more likely, it’s because of people like me who can’t seem to send that “I’m busy” text.

 Maybe knowing this makes my slow replying crueler still. However, my unwillingness to text back is not rooted in a lack of empathy, but rather a myriad of factors.

 First of all, I’m never one to have my phone out around other people. Texting while in the company of others goes against my better etiquette, and I truly like to be present as much as I can. It feels rude to have my phone out or even face up on a table, which has successfully been indoctrinated in me by the school system.

 A newfound enigma in my life that amplifies this habit of mine is that I am constantly surrounded by people and, thus, my screen time is at an all-time low. I’m sure that even the FBI agent that is rumoured to watch me through my little phone camera misses me these days. To her discontent, even my mom is being left on “read” as of late.

 Mostly, it is a result of sheer forgetfulness, and not malice. My memory is strange in that I remember the birthday of every friend I’ve ever had, but I lose my phone and keys a double-digit number of times in a day. Often, I’ll see a text as soon as I receive it but think I ought to give it a minute before I reply and, all of a sudden, two weeks have passed, and it feels a little late to reply to that “what are you doing tonight?” text.

 That’s another inhibitor to my texting abilities: texting etiquette. How soon is too soon to reply, what the way you type says about you, and all the intricacies that surround this affair. As usual, the idea of being perceived is horrifying and not worthwhile. 

What do you respond to when asked “what’s up?” How much do you divulge? Do you shoot back a “not much, you?” Now you’re trapped in a fruitless exchange of pleasantries. You could have actually said what’s up, but that’s an awful lot to write and wouldn’t you rather just say it in person? Agony. Agony every time. 

The silver lining to this habit of mine is that I’m the opposite of a catfish: I’m better in person, as far as conversations go.

 Sure, I understand why everyone resents slow texters. However, I see your point and raise you a different perspective: the uncomfortableness of waiting for a text is rooted in a culture of immediacy as the standard. Instant gratification or none at all, it seems.

 At the risk of sounding like one of those pretentious, born in the wrong generation, too cool to appreciate modern technology, wise beyond my years’ types, I have to emphasize that being able to reach someone instantly and demand a response just as instantly is a new phenomenon.

I mean, the first iPhone made its grand entrance into our lives in 2007 — that’s pretty darn recently. For context, Hannah Montana premiered in 2006. What I’m saying is: it’s not too late to back pedal a bit. Let’s bring back letters — a hand-written letter is infinitely more romantic than a “wyd” text. Plus, I wouldn’t have to subscribe to this culture of quick responses. I could send off a long winded letter, say everything I had in mind, and expect a response in a couple weeks time, just as Canada Post intended it.

In short, I hate texting. It’s just not for me. Talk to me in person, call me (if you really have to), or become the pen pal I’ve always wanted. To surmise in the words of Lorde: “Can you reach me? No. You can’t.”