One of the tools referred to in The Solution is The Telephone. Technology has changed “the telephone” to texting, email, voicemail, as well as one-on-one conversation. Texting is convenient, quick and efficient, but is it part of the Solution? For me, I try to text only to check when someone may be available to talk. I try not to put substantive material in texts. Texting can easily be misconstrued because it lacks emotional connection. As most of us in ACA crave emotional connection, it is easy to feel dismissed by a text.
If another person does not answer my text immediately, I may feel abandoned, unimportant. Yet, who set the “rules” that a text must be answered immediately? I had a sponsee who thought I was ill or in an accident when I didn’t reply to her text immediately. “Are you ok?” she texted. I let her know that I may not immediately reply and not to expect me to.
I try not to avoid true contact by telling myself that I have connected with another person if all I have done is send a text. “Just checking in. Things are fine,” is not really a check-in. Ten texts does not equal one conversation. As an adult child, I am impatient and judgmental. Sometimes, I avoid calling because I don’t want to spend the time to talk to another ACA or I don’t want to feel overwhelmed by listening to their story. I find that texting someone to ask “do you have time to talk and when would be a good time?” gives the other person the respect to set their own boundaries. Then when I call I know that they have set aside time for a phone call.
I am sometimes tempted to deliver a difficult message by text. I’m a conflict avoider and often lack the words to say no kindly. But talking first with a fellow traveler to find the right words and then making a call has always been a better way for me than sending a text. Am I using a text to hide my discomfort? That’s a tip off that I should be making a call.
Technology is invaluable. Where would we be without zoom meetings for the last two years? But there is no substitute for a real conversation face-to-face.