When Texting Gets Totally Lost In Translation…

I’m not a big fan of texting, mainly because of the impersonal nature of it all, but even more so because things often get lost in translation causing far more problems.

Case in point, I was sitting in a coffee shop listening to a friend play the guitar and sing just recently when I decided to text message another friend from the same recovery circle who normally comes to these types of things. I didn’t know if he was still working, as he is employed in a position where he can’t take any type of phone calls during normal work hours. Sure enough, he was still on the job and wouldn’t be able to make it. So, in response, I sent a funny gif of some guy in a work uniform walking past his co-workers, snapping his fingers, and waving his arms quite flamboyantly, which I knew he would totally laugh at, seeing how he’s sent a bunch of those to me as well.

Shortly after, I received a text message back that said that was definitely not him with a big “LOL.” I smiled and continued to listen to my friend jam in front of me. A few minutes later, I received another text from him that said he might like to try that someday but has to work his way up to it. Given the last message I had received, I assumed he meant he would try to make people laugh someday by acting flamboyantly like that animated gif. I told him I’d love to see that and would laugh my ass off if he ever did. Suddenly, his messages became irritated and upset and then stopped altogether. Every attempt I made after that to communicate and even to ask for a phone call when he got off work was answered with messages that he wouldn’t be available. Thankfully, well late into the night I received a text from him asking if I was still up and that he’s be opened to a phone call. I was, and promptly called him where I quickly learned why he had gotten so pissed at me and stopped texting.

You see in his line of texting and thinking, he knew I was watching our mutual friend do a musical jam session, which is one of his dreams as well. And he just assumed that when he texted me the message about working up the courage to do that, that I understood what he was talking about, which was playing the guitar and singing in a coffee shop. What he didn’t know was that I was thinking he was referring to acting flamboyantly in front of a bunch of others, just to make them laugh, because if you knew this guy he is the exact opposite of someone you would ever think would or could act flamboyantly. Thus, a few simple miscommunications through texting, ended up causing much anger, irritation, and resentments, as well as a lot of fear, worry, and sadness on my side as well, all for no reason.

This is the very reason why I wish I could rid this world of texting, as this was not an isolated incident by any means in my life. In fact, I’d place this one as Incident #2148 at this point. Nevertheless, while texting does have its advantages for sending quick messages about contact information and where to meet and such, I’ve had far more negative experiences trying to get my point across, trying to communicate, and trying to deal with any type of conversation over texting in general. It’s truly hard to discern one’s mood, emotion, and even what someone may be thinking or attempting to convey through texting, as it was in this case.

Of course, texting isn’t going to go away, probably ever at this point, and more and more people are most likely going to continue using it as the primary means to communicate, rather than actually talking amongst themselves. That at least seems to be the growing trend these days. I guess the only thing I can do to prevent text messages from getting totally lost in translation is to spend less time giving in and engaging with others in that way and instead encourage them to call me when they are able…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson