You’ve likely heard the stories about how modern communication through text messaging, instant messaging, e-mail or social media can sometimes take a statement completely out of context.
I’ve seen one example floating around online where a child thought his parents were getting divorced because of an autocorrect mistake with text messaging. There are others that I really can’t go into here since kids might be reading this.
I have now experienced this for myself through a text conversation with a friend of mine. He actually suggested I write this blog to show just how easily it can happen to anyone.
The miscommunication centers on my friend’s attempt to court a young woman he met recently. They had gotten to know each other for several months and finally went on a date in early February. He said it went really well and he really liked her.
For a couple of days, I heard nothing else about it, so I finally texted him to see if they were going out. Somewhere during the following conversation, a text message he sent didn’t get to me and took the whole conversation into a tailspin.
Me: “(Going on) your date tonight?”
Friend: “I sent this to her about Friday:”
Right here is where he sent me another text that I never got. We’ll get to that in a minute.
The conversation continues.
Friend: “I feel like I put my heart out there and am about to get it ripped out and crushed.”
Me (in disbelief): “You sent that to her?”
Friend: “I did… Bad? sounds like you think it was bad”
Me: “Um… might have been too early for something that deep. But I don’t know enough about your interactions to be sure.”
It’s at this point I’m thinking, “Oh, boy. Young guy just fell head over heels and poured his heart out to the woman. She’s probably thinking ‘Creepy guy. Get away from me.’”
We talked later that night and he tried to clarify the conversation, but I was still left feeling like he had told this woman that he felt like he was about to have his heart ripped out – after one date! I shared the story with my fiance’ and she thought he’d lost his mind.
There was never a second date, not that I was surprised based on what I thought I knew had happened.
Fast forward to this past weekend. We end up in another text conversation about him asking someone else out.
Me: “1. Ask that girl out. 2. After the first date, don’t tell her you feel like you’re about to get your heart broken.”
Friend: “What to the second one?”
Me: “I was referring to what you said to the last girl you went out with.”
Friend: “I don’t recall telling a girl that on the first date”
My friend then called me to sort this out. I again read him the text message where he said “I sent this to her about Friday: … I feel like I put my heart out there and am about to get it ripped out and crushed.”
He goes back through the original text conversation and discovers the one message he sent that apparently never made it to my phone. Here's what he actually said to the woman.
“A friend rented out the top floor of the Columbia Tower starting at 8 for socializing and, yes, (West Coast Swing) dancing. Will you go with me?”
At this point, my open palm is making swift contact with my forehead. For the last month, I thought my friend really stepped over the line and came off as creepy stalker guy. The part where he said he felt like he was about to have his heart crushed? He never said that to her. He was just relaying his feelings to me.
What do we thank for this miscommunication? Text messaging.
How did we clear it up? Actually talking to each other.
Some food for thought.