It’s hard to imagine a time before texting. Standing in the grocery store, trying to recall what was on the list and not being able to check with your roommates. I’m anxious just thinking about it. With the almost inevitable role that texting plays in our day-to-day life, it’s worthwhile to be mindful about the emotional subtext that our texts can convey — in addition to what they literally say. If you and your boo just had it out, it’s hard to know what’s the worst text to send after a fight. You want to express yourself, you want to be heard, but you don’t want to add fuel to the fire — especially with read receipts attached.
“Texting is meant for shorthand — It is too easy to miss all of the nonverbal cues you get from someone’s tone of voice, breathing or facial expressions,” licensed marriage and family therapist Nicole Richardson tells Elite Daily. “If you are too upset, take a break (do not hang up, that will only make it worse), agree to take a breather and start fresh in an hour or the next day.” Although it may take some serious self-restraint, taking a second before hitting send could be helpful in ameliorating conflict as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Not knowing how your partner is saying something can take away from what you think they’re trying to say. When you’ve just had it out with your boo, it’s important that all parties involved are on the same page.
Richardson says that the worst text to send to your partner after a fight is “‘I’m done!’ or ignoring your significant other altogether.” According to Richardson, something as short and cutting as “I’m done” can be dismissive and hurtful after an argument. When you’re texting in the heat of the moment, your frustration can get the best of you and can hinder positive conflict resolution from happening.
Whether you’ve been dating someone for a while or you’re still honeymooning, it’s common and healthy to have healthy conflict with the people you’re close to. Though shared interests and values may have brought you together in the first place, it’s unlikely that you and your boo will agree on literally everything. If you and bae have a similar sense of humor, and spend the better part of the day texting, it can feel impossible to not to text during a fight. Yet, Richardson says that the best use of texting isn’t for big talks or deep discussions. “Big conversations deserve your nonverbal cues,” Richardson says. “Let the person hear your voice and see your face when you have something difficult to say. It can make a world of difference.”
According to Richardson, not being able to see your partner’s facial expression and body language, and not hearing the tone of their voice, can make it impossible to interpret a text message as intended.
“Imagine when someone walks through the door, shoulders hunched, never looking up and says, ‘Hey’ almost like they were saying it to the floor. Now imagine someone walks through the door, looks you in the eye, smiles and says, ‘Hey!’ The exact same one word has a totally different meaning in both of the situation,” Richardson says. “Nonverbal communication is about roughly 75 percent of how we communicate and all of that is lost in text. Give yourself, your partner and the relationship the gift of your nonverbal communication.”
If you and your boo just had a major fight, try putting the phones down and talking it out in person or over video chat. Although it may be hard not to respond in the moment, taking a minute to make dedicated time to solve your problem in person can help in the long run. When it comes to relationships, sometimes it’s worthwhile to limit the screen time and up the IRL convos. If you and your partner are arguing and you don’t know what to text, remember that seeing each other face to face can help you to see eye to eye.