How to Prevent Text and Instant Messaging from Smothering a Relationship

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instant messagingLadies and gents, ever heard of the old phrase, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder?”

It’s not just some silly cliché. In fact, it’s quite possibly more relevant in this day and age than it ever has been. Why? Simple: It’s nearly impossible to be absent anywhere these days. We are an omnipresent society that utilizes avatars and instant messaging which reside in mobile phones, PCs, and tablets that connect us with other people who can be miles away. With that said, like all things, communication can become poisonous if it becomes too intense.

Unfortunately, constant communication kills relationships – emphasis on the word “constant”. However, by looking past technology and into human interaction, there are ways to prevent text and instant messaging from smothering a relationship.

Don’t Text So Much When You First Meet A Person

instant messaging

Texting and IMing do not convey the personality of a person very well. It’s the same reason that sarcasm doesn’t work over these mediums. With that said, when most of your initial interaction with a person is held via text on a screen, you may get the wrong impression of what they are like. This can lead to a variety of awkward in-person interactions when you do not know how to respond because your whole idea of the individual is based on instant messaging.

(It’s also why characters in movies can seem quite different than their in-book counterparts.)

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Save The Serious Stuff For IRL


Things you shouldn’t text your girlfriend:

“I crashed my car.”

“My grandfather died.”

“I’m leaving you for Jenny.”

All of these messages have a rather serious inflection, and they should be saved for a more intimate setting (except the last one – you actually might want to text that). Serious issues like these typically require a tad more communication than the discussion about the core topic at hand. Without the added flavors of human-to-human comfort, touch, and body language, your relationship can suffer. Think of it like a balanced meal – you need a bit of everything in order to stay healthy.

With that said, save the serious, dramatic stuff for a real face-to-face conversation. If worse comes to worst, make it a phone call. Tone and inflection can do wonders!

Know You Can Live Without It

text messaging

My girlfriend and I are at a point where texting and instant messaging isn’t that big of an issue – it’s not a necessity in our relationship. So here’s what I recommend if you feel like your relationship : perform a self-check. Do you feel compelled to text and IM your significant other? If that’s the case, then chances are that you are killing your relationship already. When you become attached to the presence of a person rather than the actual person, things can get a little uncomfortable.

With that said, I do tend to text my girlfriend on a near-constant basis. We send each other funny cat pictures and short bits about our workday, and honestly, this makes my life a little more interesting.

However, when she takes a nap, has to stop texting during her work hours, or is out with a friend, I don’t crawl in a hole and die. I’m still able to function, so it’s obvious that we are doing things in a healthy manner. If it got to a point where I found myself constantly waiting on a text message or IM from her, then I would know it’s time to take a break.

Do You Still Know The Person?

instant messaging

There’s a joke I have with my girlfriend. If we ever get to the point that we start instant messaging or texting cliché messages like “What’s up” or “K”, then we know it’s time to cut texting out completely. Granted, we still say occasionally this stuff, but it’s for practical purposes.

Sometimes people participate in two relationships with the same person because of texting and IMing. While in a face-to-face relationship you can watch the person grow and change throughout the course of their life, text messaging – again – doesn’t show very much personality. While a person may be constantly evolving throughout their lives, you may not be able to even tell through their text messages.

With that said, make sure you clear out your day for some facetime, and no, I don’t mean Apple’s patented product. Instead, make sure you know the person so you adapt their personality to provide life for the words on the screen.


Text messaging and instant messaging are like spices. A little bit is good on food, but it is possible to let their flavors overpower the main dish. With that said, make sure you are using the right amounts of ingredients in your relationship.

What other ways do you prevent texting and IMing from smothering your relationship? Do you believe couples should even use these mediums?

– K thx bye. xxx

Image Credits: Intel Free PressDing Yuin Shan, Hatmanu Florin, mik salac, coolcal2111 

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