Digital communication, including texts and emails, is a great way to communicate information and facts quickly, efficiently, and effectively. But what texts and emails can’t communicate are emotions, your heart, eye contact, non-verbal cues, forgiveness, love, etc…all the things that are required for a relationship to really flourish. Those things can only be experienced in true relational connection…face-to-face.
For the sake of relationally connecting, we need to know when to talk face-to-face and when to type a text or email. To help resolve that tension going forward, the following 3 QUESTIONS are helpful to use as filters to determine when to talk and when to type…
1. COULD I say this face-to-face?
Part of human nature is to avoid anything uncomfortable because it’s easier on us. While typing a text or email may be easier or more comfortable you in some situations, it’s likely that it will also be harder on your relationship. If you’re getting ready to type, and you ask yourself “could I say this face-to-face?” and the answer is NO, talk instead of type.
2. WOULD I say this face-to-face?
We get really brave behind our computer and phone screens and type things that we would never say face-to-face. When we do that, it’s hurtful to our relationship and to the person we texted or emailed. If you’re getting ready to type, and you ask yourself “would I say this face-to-face?” and the answer is NO, talk instead of type.
3. SHOULD I say this face-to-face?
To relationally connect, there are definitely some instances where you SHOULD talk instead of type.
You should TALK instead of type…
- If you want and need to communicate your heart or emotions, instead of just facts. Emojis are not a good substitute for emotions.
- If you want to share intimacy instead of just information.
- When conversation and not just one-way communication is needed.
- If what you type will ruin their day.
- If what you are thinking about typing could be misunderstood in any way.
- If you need care, support, prayer, and companionship.
- If you need to confront someone or have a hard conversation. Or if you’re getting ready to type “we need to talk”. TALK about TALKING instead of typing about talking, and in doing so, lessen their anxiety and yours.
- If you’re going to type anything that might be hurtful to their soul.
- If you’re going to feel dismissed if they don’t respond right away to your text or email or by how they may or may not respond.
- If you’re not willing to immediately talk about what typing
- If you’re mad. (Side note: it’s OK to be angry, but so many times our anger goes away when we take a step back and wait before we choose to respond.)
- If someone texts or emails you something that requires you type back something more than facts or information. If a response requires more than facts or information, get together and talk or talk on the phone about it.
- If what you type might leave the other person thinking “If I was really important to them, then they would have called or gotten together with me instead of typing that.”
If you’re getting ready to type, and you ask yourself “should I say this face-to-face?” and the answer is YES, talk instead of type. The only time you should type instead talk is if that will be most helpful for them and your relationship with them.
Digital communication is helpful when it is used correctly. But don’t fall into the trap of substituting true relational connection with digital communication.
For the sake of your relationships, it is worth to begin asking today…Could I…? Would I…? and Should I…say this face-to-face? before you type. Let’s RECONNECT!
Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”