Social Question

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

When do you need to stop texting, and call someone?

Asked by MyNewtBoobs (19044points) March 2nd, 2011

What’s the point that it’s no longer appropriate to text or email someone? Telling someone you’re breaking up with them? Telling a friend you’re moving to another state? Telling your kids that Grandma had a heart attack? Telling your kids that Grandma had a heart attack and now she isn’t waking up?

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21 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I would not have any of those conversations by texting.

Texting is not appropriate for any serious or emotion-laden topic.

filmfann's avatar

Today I texted my wife and kids, letting them know my neice just surrendered herself to county jail for a 40 day sentence. I guess the line is past that.
I just didn’t want to deal with talking to each one about this. Better to just spit it out and rinse.

KateTheGreat's avatar

Anything exceptionally serious needs to be done over a phone call. Texting should be used only for general information or small talk :)

Prosb's avatar

@filmfann I would have waited till all or most of us were at home to tell them, only because it’s not news that involves a life or death situation.

I dislike texting in general. When I have something I need to say, I SAY it. Whether it’s breaking up with someone (which I think should be done in person honestly), or that Uncle Dave had a heart attack, some things need to be verbal, so that the person on the other end understands your tone.

I almost never text, I just feel it’s a waste of time usually. Instead of going back and forth with texts about what to do tonight, I just call and have a decision within two minutes. Straight, and to the point.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Prosb I used to feel that way, but I actually hate talking on the phone more – there’s all those awkward pauses (at least when I do it), and you can’t talk in public (like at the grocery store, where no one minds texting as long as you aren’t in line). I eventually realized that either I texted, or I never talked to people.

JmacOroni's avatar

I think any conversation where the tone of voice is an important factor in conveying your message effectively. Including all of the situations you mentioned above. Although, I have gotten several “such and such had a heart attack/car accident…” type text messages when it wasn’t a life threatening situation, and I think that was alright.

Likeradar's avatar

Any time the recipient will have a real emotional response to the news. “Wanna get dinner?” “How’s it going?” or “Great sale at the Gap” is textable. “You’re fired,” “I just ran into your supposedly dead aunt,” “She’s in labor” or “I just won the lottery” is worth a phone call.

lillycoyote's avatar

Didn’t there used to be a line… where some of these things were actually done in person, face to face, like breaking up with someone? Or am I just hopelessly old?

Kardamom's avatar

Pretty much anything other than, “What kind of toilet paper do you usually get, hon?” or “Do you want KFC or Del Taco for dinner?” or “Watcha watchin’ right now?”

Real conversations are just that, real. Texting has allowed people to become lazy and un-emotional and un-concerned and not really give enough thought to what they are saying. People don’t cry, hang up on you or ask you important questions when they text like, “Did Aunt Mary say anthing about me, before she passed away?” or “What am I going to do now, now that I’ve lost everything?” and “Was he really only four years old when the cancer took his life?” on a text message.

Texts are for mundane conveniences, not for real life. Technology can be a good thing, but it can also be a curse and cause a lot of unnecessary pain, especially for people who are older and are accustomed to writing real letters, and making real phone calls and having real conversations. Technology should make the quality of life better, not just make things quicker or easier to deal with. Some things are really hard to deal with and texting just makes certain things seem less important.

Bellatrix's avatar

Texting, for me should be about functional issues. When are you going to be home? Are you at so and so’s house? Can you call me. I would like to say nothing emotional but .. I sometimes send my kids and my husband messages to say I love them. My kids think I am nuts but you get that. You know when they come into your mind and you get that warm, fuzzy feeling about them though? At those times if I can’t phone, I send a message to let them know they were in my mind.

However, I have a friend who sent another friend text messages after the second friend’s mother died!!! I was like wtf!! Pick up the phone! Hmmm too many !!!? Anyway, such times are not the time for texting or when you break up with someone, sack someone, have something that might need further information etc.

Text for function… Talk for heart/emotion.

Soubresaut's avatar

I was texted by a close friend when another close friend was in a serious car accident, and texted back for details. It wasn’t because we were being impersonal, though. We were both freaking out and she was trying to help calm me down a bit with some of the information she knew. Text for whatever reason seemed more appropriate.

I guess it’s different where I am. People rarely have time to have a whole phone conversation, and when they do, the person they need to call doesn’t have the time. Leaving voicemails becomes very cumbersome, and they often cut in and out. So, we text the information, and it becomes habit.

And, texting does have some perks. It’s much more private; everyone’s usually out and about, so texting them something gives both of you the opportunity to have a quiet conversation. It’s easier to understand; cell reception can get pretty bad, or background noise pretty loud, in some places. You can edit; say only what you really want to. Conversations can be held at whatever pace you need at the time; no minutes ticking by while you think.

I’m not saying it’s a great practice, and some things probably are more appropriate with voices or in person. I’m just saying what it is where I am.

For sure, if a lot is being said, and talking would be easier than thumbs, one’ll ask the other if they can talk at the moment. Then the other’ll call if they have the time, or send back a “no, sorry” when they get another moment to type.

podwarp's avatar

Whenever it’s “srs bsns” I stop texting. I was texting a friend a week or so ago; it was idle chat at first but then I wanted to ask about her experience going in for counseling, so I texted to ask if it was okay to call. That’s pretty much what I’ve done; I text first to check if they’ve got time/space enough and if it’s all clear then I give them a ring.

I know a lot of people, especially in and around my age, who will pass along very important info through a text (or break up with someone) but I’ve never understood that myself. Whenever there’s even a possibility that something serious might come up, I call. I consider texting incredibly impersonal (this is actually what I like about texting!) so when I’m discussing something intimate it just seems.. not only inappropriate, but rude, to do anything but call.

jerv's avatar

I have only sent a couple of dozen texts in the last five years. Most of the time, it takes longer to type a quick message than to give a quick call and say a few words. I have had a lot of calls that lasted less than a minute.

The real question here is, “Is there anything that is appropriate to text instead of call?”.

cazzie's avatar

I get really annoyed at my husband about this issue. He wants to hold an entire conversation texting me. He’ll be gone for weeks at a time and I’ll send him a message about the kids after he sends me one of his standard..‘landed safely. how is it going there?’ texts and instead of calling (his work pays for all the calls to it’s not a money thing…) he’ll write a short novel asking all sorts of questions, expecting me to text back answers and carry on the ‘textersation’. I’ve stopped replying when he does that now. If he really wanted to know, he’d call. It gives me the feeling that taking some ‘real’ time for his family is less important than the social time he’s having while he’s away.

Texting is for reminders about grocery shopping, appointments, social notices you wouldn’t mind hearing over the loudspeaker at work. I want to hear certain things through someone’s voice, not pixels on a screen.

sliceswiththings's avatar

Joke:
There once was a woman who loved her cat more than anything. She went on vacation to France and left her cat in custody of her daughter. While she was on vacation, this woman received a text from her daughter saying “your cat died.” The shock gave her a heart attack and she ended up in the hospital. The daughter came to visit, and the mother, from her hospital bed, scolded the daughter on the manner that she had delivered the news. She thought it would have been better to receive a card that said “Fluffy’s having a lot of fun chasing birds!” then another card a few days later that said “Fluffy’s having fun playing on the roof!” followed by “Fluffy fell off the roof and broke a couple of ribs.” Finally, she could receive a card saying “Fluffy didn’t make it.” The daughter noted this advice. Since her mother was okay, she went home. The mother continued her vacation. A couple days later she got a card from her daughter saying, “Grandma’s having fun playing on the roof!”

coffeenut's avatar

lol….This seems more of a Twitter job….

perspicacious's avatar

If it’s me you want to communicate with, don’t text because you won’t get a response. Phones are for talking as far as I’m concerned.

jerv's avatar

@perspicacious Exactly! They have a microphone for a reason, and the speaker isn’t there just for ringtones.

perspicacious's avatar

@jerv Glad to see my like-minded friend. I think you know me by this name. :)

Adagio's avatar

@KateTheGreat “Anything exceptionally serious needs to be done over a phone call.”

What about in person, I wouldn’t want bad news transmitted to me over the phone, unless there was physically no other way around it.

KateTheGreat's avatar

@Adagio I kind of worded my answer wrong. If you can do it in person, that is great. But if you are far away from your family like I am, it has to be done over phone.

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