I am an avid texter. There are some days when I feel like my thumbs have RSI because I’ve been furiously firing off emojis, gifs and requests to meet for a drink.
I also have a bad temper.
When the two combine, you get a vomit text.
If I’m mad or upset, I spew forth all manner of negative accusations in an effort to play the victim, and get what I want.
And what do I want? Sympathy. An apology. Attention.
It’s a bad habit I have and one I’m trying to break via emotional control.
Because as I’ve learned recently, Princess Camilla Bitchface is not a persona I like to adopt. And those close to me don’t like her either.
Maybe you feel the same way about your shadow side?
What to do after you’ve sent an angry text
Tired? Cranky? Feel like chastising your friend/SO/mother via text? Already pressed send? Dammit!
Put your phone down
Switch it off, or give it to a friend. Have you had wine? Yes? Definitely get it to a friend. When we’re angry and hurt, we want to blame someone, and it’s easier to do this via text. Aim, fire, repeat.
But believe me, you’re going to regret whatever your fingers spell out. A nasty text is so much more hurtful than spoken words, because a text is not ephemeral. The receiving party can read them again, and again, and again. They can show it to their mothers, their friends, and crowd-source opinions and insults. Or worse, post it somewhere public. So put your phone down.
Go do something else
Having a fight with your best friend or S/O? We say some pretty messed up stuff when we’re mad. Go take it out on a treadmill or the pavement. You’ll be ready to communicate when you’re not feeling so hateful.
Have a meta conversation
Ask the person face-to-face or via text if you can talk to them later. A meta conversation – a conversation about having another conversation – lets the other person know that you're open to resolving the situation, without putting them on the spot.
Craft what you want to say to them later
- Start with how you’ll receive consent. Will you approach them as they’re walking in the door, or 10 minutes after they’ve sat down?
- Talk about the situation and explain the facts. No accusations.
- Talk about how it made you feel. Your feelings. Not theirs.
- Suggest a solution. Ask them what they’d be open to.
Resolve the situation face-to-face
Do not text what you want to say, but by all means, write it out on paper. Serious conversations need to be had in-person, and if that’s not possible, via Skype. This is a tired old statistic, but human communication consists of 93% body language, and just 7% words. You’ll be able to convey how you feel and what you want a whole lot easier in person, and be more receptive to what they have to say too.
DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS ARE SURVIVABLE
Nobody explicitly likes conflict, but disagreements are a part of everyday life. It's how you deal with them that's important.
And where words fail, gifs always remain.