To Talk or Text? That is the Question! Which is best for strengthening a relationship?

Bustle recently posted an article this month by Michelle Toglia about the best and worst relationship communication methods.  By far the best way to communicate is in person, and the worst way to communicate is the most commonly used: texting.

Although it’s quick and easy, communicating via text message leaves a lot open to interpretation. Texts can and frequently do result in adding complexity to the back and forth communication process, as so much gets lost in translation. In text conversations as well as in emails, we “project our own experiences, memories, mood, assumptions and more,” leading to miscommunications and misunderstanding.

Texting has become the primary form of communication in today’s relationships, but one must beware of the many dangerous traps. So, what is the best way to communicate successfully when you can’t talk in person?

Talking on the phone.

Yes, phone calls seem so passé, but they offer a lot of benefits that texting doesn’t.

I must agree with the Bustle Magazine author’s observations.  While reading Michelle Toglia’s article entitled, 17 Reasons Talking On The Phone Benefits Your Love Life, five reminders stood out for me.  I hope they will for those of you who have become frustrated when receiving unclear text messages and don’t know how to interpret or respond.  When in doubt, don’t be tone deaf.  Pick up the phone to hear the deeper meaning in the words, find the true and sometimes hidden emotions, get overall clarity and hopefully come to a mutual understanding.  A phone call might just help bring compromise to a difficult relationship, make an already healthy relationship even stronger or keep a brand new relationship on track.

1.    Hearing someone’s voice helps you interpret what they’re saying

Tone of voice conveys information that written words cannot. Does the person sound anxious, annoyed, happy, excited? The inflection of their voice offers insights into what they are truly saying. Texting (or emails) leave too much to interpretation, often causing relationship spats when we misconstrue their meaning.

2.    We are more engaged when talking on the phone

Verbal exchanges require active listening, focus and can provide much more clarity than text or email communications.  All of a sudden, our conversations are capable of having more depth, rather than expressing soundbites we would use in a text message.  We are less apt to miscommunicate our thoughts and feelings when speaking “live” and in “real time.”  Our attention is focused when we’re chatting with someone via phone, while texting allows for lapses in attention or for questions and comments to go unanswered, ignored, avoided or overlooked.

3.    Calling is a more intimate form of communicating

Texting is nowhere near as personal as talking on the phone. Of course, face-to-face communication is always best, since it includes body language, facial expressions and tone of voice, but with texting and emails, all these indicators are absent. With a phone call, again, vocal intonations provide insights into the message being conveyed, as well as emotion, that a text (even with emojis) cannot.

best ways to communication for healthy relationships

4.  People are more honest

It is easier to deceive or lie in a text than over the phone. The distance, slow response time and lack of emotion often lead people to be less forthright when texting. On the flip side, people are more honest during a phone conversation because the response time is immediate and the communication can be more genuine.  Also, inflection and emotion are paramount.

5.  Response rates are immediate during phone calls

Everyone has different expectations of how quickly a response is required when talking by text.  If the sender expects an immediate response, but the receiver thinks a delay is acceptable, it is inevitable that one person will become upset or even a bit emotionally bruised. When talking on the phone, that question of how quickly to respond is a moot point.

Let’s face it!  We live in a social media and Internet world now. Society is evolving and we must accept the changes as they relate to how we do relationships.  Texting is an increasingly important form of communication in the new dating and relationship model, but it cannot and should not be the primary source for making a connection. Texts are great to inform your significant other that you’re on your way home, thinking about them, or wondering if they need something while you are at the store.  In-person and vocal conversations are by far the best ways to ensure understanding, honesty, and intimacy in your communications with your significant other, especially when it comes to important topics that need to be discussed in-depth.  This is what it takes to foster the development of strong relationships.

For the complete Bustle article that lists 17 reasons why phone calls are better for relationships than texts, click here.