Texting Anxiety

By C. G. Medina

I get a text message from my partner saying: ‘I’m on my way home’. I am surprised that he decided to let me know that when he is downstairs receiving a parcel from the post office. I reply: ‘All right, I am at home.’

When he is back, he lets me know he sent that message one day and three hours earlier, and that my lack of texting skills is exasperating.

‘What would be a reasonable wait to you?’ I ask

‘Four minutes,’ he says.

‘That’s too little’ I say

‘That’s the average’

‘He must be wrong,’ I think. My average answering time is between 4 hours and 2 days. Just like an e-mail! It is common sense! I would find it stressful to answer to all of my messages as they arrive. I would feel constantly interrupted in my daily tasks. I would have little time to plan appointments, to consult my diary. When someone is letting me know about his or her problems and feelings, I want to take some time to incubate a possible answer and come up with the right one. I like thinking before I text. I didn’t know there was a Text Etiquette.

What happens if I answer later? How would others feel? I start searching for answers in the Internet. If the recipient ‘is slow to answer the Text’ says one website, in ‘99% of the cases’, it is an indication that the recipient ‘lacks in interest in you’, and they see replying as a chore. The website coaches the sender into stop texting the recipient and work on their social skills and social appeal.

I need to find something I find reasonable and that backs up my texting habits.

I find the Two Day Rule, in which if it takes someone two days to get back to me, I have two days to get back to her or him. That feels good.

We live in a fast world. I get it. However, just because I have a phone in my pocket, I will not be available to be found at any time. I like having my privacy. I want to have the best of both worlds. I like the convenience of texting someone when I am arriving late, or finding someone in a crowded shopping center with the help of my phone. I also like ignoring my phone when I am concentrated on a task and I don’t happen to have social life responsibilities at hand

‘Concentrate on your job and you will forget your other troubles’ said author William Feather. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I will get on with some work and forget that I don’t have the capacity to answer to a text message in four minutes.


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