I have been trying to tell the kids that instant messaging is a waste of time and concentration. There are a number of reasons why, particularly that the non-verbal interaction — body language and facial expression — is a large part of how we communicate, not just the words.
Tragically, there are now a whole lot of people who never have those conversations. The interventions, the brutal honesty, the, “you know, everybody’s pissed off because of what you said last night, but nobody wants to say anything because they’re afraid of you,” sort of conversations. Those horrible, awkward, wrenchingly uncomfortable sessions that you can only have with someone who sees right to the center of you.
E-mail and texting are awesome tools for avoiding that level of honesty. With text, you can respond when you feel like it. You can measure your words. You can pick and choose which questions to answer. The person on the other end can’t see your face, can’t see you get nervous, can’t detect when you’re lying. You have almost total control and as a result that other person never sees past your armor, never sees you at your worst, never knows the embarrassing little things about yourself that you can’t control. Gone are the common quirks, humiliations and vulnerabilities that real friendships are built on.