A lot of people think texting is a great thing and there are many, many times that I would agree with this; it’s an easy and convenient way to keep in touch without being tied down to a phone call. But life isn’t always so simple, and when you have incredible amounts of anxiety just bubbling underneath the surface throughout your day-to-day activities, something as simple as texting can cause your brain to do mental cartwheels (or mental faceplants) as it tries desperately to make sense of this technologically driven facet of human interaction. Seriously, it’s hard enough to understand what the hell people are thinking when you can read their body language and now we’ve taken that out of the equation.
Face to face conversations are considerably easier because even when you say something stupid the conversation keeps rolling and suddenly that dumb thing you said is already in the past (until you say the next dumb thing). With text messages, however, you say something stupid and it’s there, spelled out (incorrectly) and able to be mulled over so that you can keep reminding yourself how stupid you are. I’m pretty certain that every single person I know is at most 3 stupid text messages away from deciding to never speak to me again. Now, I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one whose brain starts doing gymnastics during text conversations (I am not a unique individual), so today I present for your enjoyment 6 Stages of Text Anxiety:
Man, I really want to talk to X. I should send her a text. Actually, maybe I should wait a little bit, it’s 5 a.m. so I’m gonna assume she’s still sleeping and I don’t want to be ‘that guy.’ Okay, we’re gonna wait until 8:45, no 8:47 so it doesn’t look like I was waiting until 8:45. Am I sure that she even wants to talk to me? I’ll probably just be bothering her. Maybe I won’t text her. But I really want to. I don’t even have anything to say! She’s definitely going to be annoyed with this. How do I start conversation again? What are words even supposed to do?! “Hey there, how’s it going?” Okay, that seems reasonable. Nobody could possibly be offended by that text. Is it 8:47 yet? Okay, sent.
Okay, it’s been 58 minutes since I sent that text. She’s probably seen it by now, right? Maybe she’s got no service? Maybe she’s out playing tennis? OH GOD, MAYBE SHE’S BEEN IN A CAR ACCIDENT!! No, that’s stupid. I’m being stupid. The more logical thing is that she hates me and never wants to speak to me again. Wait, was that my phone vibrating? No, it wasn’t. I’m imagining things because I’m stupid. Wait, that was definitely my phone. Nope, that was also imaginary. Well it’s decided, she never wants to talk to me again….ooh, a text! Damnit, it’s from Kyle. No, Kyle, I don’t want to hear about your kidney stones, I’m waiting for an important text. “LOL, that’s great, dude!” Now seriously, don’t text me back, you’re giving me false hope every time my phone goes off. Ah! Finally, a text from X, let’s see what she said. “Pretty good, you?”
Shit, that’s a loaded question. How am I? Wrecked with incontrollable anxiety? That’s definitely the wrong thing to say. Am I great? No, she’s ‘pretty good’ so I don’t want to one-up her and rub it in her face how great my life is. Does she really want to know how I’m doing or is she just being polite? WAIT! No matter what I say, I can’t reply right away because then I’ll look like I was just sitting here waiting for the message like some kind of big loser. I am a big loser. I’ll have to hide that. Okay, I will wait 24 minutes to reply. That’s a weird amount of time so it won’t look like I’m waiting to reply, right? Also, I need to make sure I continue the conversation. If I just say how I’m doing then nothing else, the conversation is done and then I’m back to square one. I should ask her another question, and then she’ll have a reason to respond. Shit, how am I doing again? And what should I ask her? “Not bad. Do you like Chinese?” Okay, that’ll do. Sent.
What the hell kind of stupid ass question was that? Does she like Chinese? That was completely out of the blue, totally random. She’s going to think I’m an idiot. Wait, what if she doesn’t know that I’m talking about the food? What if she thinks I’m talking about the people? SHE’S GOING TO THINK I’M A RACIST!! She is reading that message right now and telling everyone she knows that I’m a bigot. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone! Okay, probably not, but definitely in the top 10. Maybe I should just casually mention that I’m not a racist. ‘Oh, by the way I’m not a racist. Just thought you should know.’ That’s even dumber than anything else I’ve done so far today. I could post a picture on Facebook of me with my friend Kenny, he’s Chinese. That should clear this up. There’s her response, I didn’t even have time to call Kenny! What did she say? “Yeah, it’s my favorite! We should get some sometime.”
WHAT? Obviously, somebody else texted her at the exact same time as I did and she was supposed to be responding to them. This is clearly not meant for me, there is no way she is asking me out for Chinese food. At least she didn’t think I was a racist. What the hell do I say to this? I don’t want to seem over eager. But I also don’t want her to think that I’m not interested. Okay, what would someone who is considerably cooler than me say? Fonzie? Han Solo? James Bond? Okay, just calm down. Be yourself. Be cool. Say something cool. Say the first cool thing that comes to mind and just send it. “Cool.” Sent.
I’m a fucking idiot.