People Don't Talk No Mo' All They Do is This...

When it comes to communication when dating and in a relationship, things have definitely changed.

Back in 1998, the Southern rap group Goodie Mob knew things had, and were going to change very soon with their song titled, They Don’t Dance No Moe’. Goodie Mobb wasn’t talking about effective communication, but they were on to something.

While Goodie Mob was talking about the [current] social climate 22 years ago, (11 years ago) I was talking about the crippling effects of electronic communication.

If You Don’t Use it, You’ll Lose it

To elaborate, I believe that purposeful and effective communication is a skill. It needs to be open-minded, impartial, focused, tolerant, and malleable.

Another key point, effective communication must be practiced. Or, it will begin to degenerate.

In other words, once the internet became an easily accessible resource not only from your desktop but also from the palm of your hand, the “effective” [in] effective communication became… ineffective.

All They Do is This...

From there, it seemed like we were trying to find ways to ineffectively communicate.

For example, we had AIM, or AOL Instant Messenger, Google Hangouts (formerly known as Google Talk),  Skype, and a few others. We could carry entire conversations without having to make a phone call.

At the same time, we were communicating via instant messengers, we also had the infamous chat rooms, where effective communication went the way of the Dodo Bird. A lot of those chat rooms still exist to this day, but to a much lesser extent. They have now mutated into social media groups where people exchange ideas, debate, and argue among themselves to no end. And I mean… All-Day about various topics of interest.

Finally, there’s the undefeated champion of e-communication. Utilizing email was always an option everyone used to exchange information. However, it quickly became a way to connect without a long-distance phone call. Or, waiting until after 7 pm for our cell phone minutes to be free.

" Before you work on learning how to improve communication in a relationship, you need to realize that not everyone has the same communication preferences. "

Tony Robbins, Philanthropist, Coach, Business Strategist

Enter: Ineffective Communication

If my memory serves me correctly, text messaging, also called SMS (short message service) was meant to be… Short! Why on earth would we take it completely outside its box and use it for conversations? Important conversations at that. The original intent of text messaging was for a memo of information to be sent quickly without composing an entire email. Hence the word, “short” in SMS.

Texting Abuse

However, the moment text messaging became available, we were off to the races in T9 mode, sending whole books. It got so bad, we’d go over our maximum amount of characters per message. As a result, the provider would separate the conversation into pages. It was downright abusive to the keys on our phone.

This was before the advent of touchscreens or Blackberry keyboards. For this reason, texting was slower back then. Now, we have dozens of downloadable apps for composing messages with our [thumbs].

" Once the internet became an easily accessible resource not only from your desktop but also from the palm of your hand—the "effective" in-effective communication became... ineffective. "

It Was All Good 18 Years Ago

That was when the first text message was sent (1992) from Neil Papworth, a former developer at Sema Group Telecoms. Mobile phones didn’t have keyboards at the time, so Papworth had to type the message on a PC. The first cell phone text messages were sent from a Nokia in 1993. Not to mention, Nokia was also the first company to develop a cellular phone with a full keyboard. 
Nonetheless, with all that awesome technology, little did we know that was the beginning of the communication challenges we currently face in dating and relationships.

Ineffective Communication Goes Super Saiyan Blue

Eventually, we’d overcome the inability to compose text messages quickly, and the “we can only text someone in our network” limitation. Without delay, in 1995 (T9) predictive text and 1996/7 (Qwerty) Nokia 9000 Communicator keyboards came to fruition. Both made texting more accurate, efficient, faster, and expensive.

In 1999, text messages finally cross networks for the first time. Now we can text whoever we want no matter what carrier they had.

At this instant, in 1999, effective communication in dating, and relationships took a turn for the worse.


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Let The Misunderstandings Ensue

Fast forward to 2020, and you have social media, social media direct messaging, social media groups, emojis, emoticons, and much more. All of which are used to convey your thoughts and feelings, without actually hearing voice inflection, emotion, or tone.  All via text message or messenger (of course).

Consequently, in-person or phone conversations, sensitivity, and empathy have decreased. Conversely, understanding, interpretation, assumptions, arguing, cheating, deception, and heartbreak have increased.

In essence, our lust for technology and innovation has effectively turned what was once a strength, into an emotional and mental deficiency.

The Rise of the Textationship

Thomas Gabriel (played by Timothy Oliphant) in Die Hard IV said to John McLain (played by Bruce Willis),

“John…you’re a Timex watch in a digital era. You’re going to lose.”

To put it differently, technology has and will change the way we communicate and interact with each other. The old ways (actually picking up the phone or getting to know someone in person) are apparently outdated and obsolete. Next thing you know, we’ll be getting to know each other via phone text, and direct messaging.

Imagine That Type of Communication

To make matters worse, instead of taking time to articulate our feelings verbally, we’ll show how we feel with little icons and GIF images. Then, when things don’t go as planned, when we [do] physically see each other (or we have a disagreement), we’ll disappear without notice (ghosting). Uncaring, unforgiving, and digitally indifferent.

Oh, wait… that’s happening right now (facepalm).

The Death of Communication and theRise of the Textationship Part IIComing August 11, 2020, @ 9:00 AM

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    Enabling the Pen Pal Movement

    All things considered, most things when done in moderation are okay.

    Although this may be true, (as a society) we have overdosed on that “texting dope-a-mine,” with an emphasis on [dope]. Don’t laugh (and stop looking around the room). You’re reading this right now saying… damn, I’ve taken that pill.

    To clarify, just in case we are having a moment of selective amnesia,

    When we consciously overlook or engage in textationship shenanigans, knowing these actions aren’t intentional to our goal, or, healthy for our mind and heart. That’s dope-a-mine at work.

    I Think She/He Likes it

    Not in the literal sense (dopamine), but figuratively speaking. When things fall apart, the impact of how foolish we were is apparent. Consciously knowing that texting isn’t a solid foundation to stand on when it comes to effective communication… We take that dopamine to dull our otherwise acute judgment.

    Altogether, (similar to an addict), and for some masochistically unintelligible reason, we receive an intended “high” from the Minecraft-like world we’ve created (or accepted) for ourselves.

    Albeit, a “temporary high” from that dope-a-mine.

    Have you ever been in a textationship where you were the enabler and allowed the digital communication to persist even when you didn't want it to? What action did you take to change things?

    Please comment below