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SEEN, READ & LIKED- Are these text and chat options really helpful?

2
Reflective_Joy
I recently updated my iphone to the iSO 10. It has some new text features that you can not only still see who has read your messages ( this feature can be disabled, imessage was the first to adopt this feature) but you can now "Like" them as well. I have also started using WhatsApp which also has the delivered and then read option.

It had me thinking is this really helpful? I have definitely had friends or spoken to people who have felt stressed or wondered if someone was mad, ignoring or avoiding them just by seeing that their message had been seen and read by the person they sent it too. The same can be said by someone "liking" a message or NOT liking a message. Most of the time, it's not personal. The sender may be busy or have forgotten. But this feature, which is now being adopted by virtually all text based communication online, is causing the way we communicate to change.

We often forget that 80% of communication is body language. But for more than a decade now, we have gotten further and further away from that and most of our communications are no longer in person or even by Skype or Face Time, but primarily text based. Where tone, inflection and eye contact are rendered obsolete.

I know I have definitely waited with butterflies in my stomach for a message to be returned. Just last week a friend of mine caught herself wondering if a guy she liked, was not interested in her anymore because she could see he definitely read her message!

So if these new features (which can't always be disabled depending on what app you are using) is sticking around, how can we better manage our feelings and emotions around it?

I think for me, Mindfulness and self compassion can play a huge role. Depending on the source of the message and the relationship with the person we are engaging with, we may need to accept that we might feel a moment of dread or anticipation in seeing that a message was indeed seen and read but not yet returned. Instead of fighting that feeling we note it gently and bring ourselves back to the present moment. By gently noting how we feel and accepting it for the moment, we are less likely to impulsively respond to the sender with assumptions of why they have yet to get back to us. It can also decrease ruminating on the millions of reasons our brains will come up with on why we feel ignored.

What are your thoughts on the Seen,Liked and Read features in texting?

-Have you felt anticipating, dread, anger or sadness because you knew your message was received but not yet responded to?

-What do you think could help us better cope with these features and what has helped you to not jump to conclusions while waiting for a response?

Look forward to your thoughts bellow!
1
GamerGirl
This is a great topic! I'm going to contribute more in depth when I have more time but my first thoughts are yes I agree. To sum my opinion up I think very little 'truth' is in the actual 'content' of what people voluntarily contribute to a conversation, instead I think most of the important stuff is in the other bits - volume, tone, pauses, body language etc. I think learning others emtions in the digital age is going to take a whole lot of new educating and approaches!
0
Adam
I have come across this and after someone mentioned to me about not liking a post on Facebook they had put up I decided to draw a line. I told the person not to take it personally but I don't take liking stuff at all seriously and never will, life is too short!!
And that is really what I think of it. Again, if I message someone and they don't respond, I try to give them the same right to not take it seriously, and not feel rejected or abandoned if they don't respond. If it is important, i'll ring them up!!
Personally, I think people need to learn how to invest their emotional needs in things that are not dependant of some kine of needy approval from others and focus on what they can control and not what they can't, i.e their own state of mind.
0
Reflective_Joy

In reply to GamerGirl

Thanks GAMERGIRL! Look forward to your more in depth response. Agree body language does play a huge role and learning to navigate communication without it has become a lot more challenging. In many ways, I think the READ option is "digital" body language. Perhaps that is why it causes such a range of emotions as it is an action showing us that the recipient received it and we wonder when we don't hear back right away. Thoughts?
0
Reflective_Joy

In reply to Adam

ADAM: I agree with you to some extent. But with the younger generation and even mine, People have chosen to use these features more and more and have even stopped answering their phones! I have tried to keep connected with friends via phone or even skype and they were too busy. They said they prefer Facebook or text. This was incredibly difficult for me to accept. I enjoy a good phone or skype conversation. At least with the latter, you get to see body language which can help immensely in maintaining the relationship should they be far away. However, I think this form of communication isn't going away any time soon and I think perhaps more needs to be done to educate youth and adults on how to implement boundaries. I think we have a right to say " You know I think this conversation is getting a bit heated, would you like to speak on the phone or grab a coffee?" Or when assuming someone is not responding " It would be great to chat on the phone are you free this weekend?"

It can also be the other way around, where a person is unhappy as you encountered where you didn't "Like" a post. We have a right to set boundaries and explain ( better in person, facetime or on the phone then using the same mode of communication they did) to explain, that it is not personal and to make your boundaries clear.

I think where youth are concerned, we need to help them understand they are under no obligation to answer right away or at all. There are massive pressures online with regards to responding to messages and we have a right to live our lives and to respond at our pace or when we have time. I think a good start is letting the core relationships in our lives know our boundaries ( it's never too late to implement them). Our own self care is just as important. I think when we start feeling anxious, worried or start to ruminate about whether a text was received and validated, then that is a sign we may need to take a step back and recognize that we are getting caught up in a communication feature and nothing more. Should a misunderstanding arise, then to be clear this conversation may need to be continued in person or on the phone. I know I have in the past made massive mistakes in texting. I think we are all human and in a way, it's the easy way out. We don't have to hear the tone, inflection or direct words from the other person should it be a conversation we really care about and we fear rejection or any other unwanted emotion. I think that goes both ways.

This is still so new that I think as a society we are still trying to figure it out. But I don't think enough is being done to empower people when they continue or start using text apps with these kind of features.
1
heidilynnrussell
Wow, I love this topic, ReflectiveJoy.

As someone who is "long in the tooth," I was late coming to the party on texting, believe it or not. Part of the reason was that I didn't like the idea that when someone texted me, they expected an immediate reply. It still really bothers me, to be frank.

For me personally, sometimes texting is a real intrusion. I may be knee-deep in work, while the person texting just wants to talk about something silly. Or I might be cooking dinner, and the pot is boiling and splattering all over the stove. Or I might be helping my kid with homework and can't be interrupted. Maybe I'm sleeping and the text chime wakes me up at 3 a.m. (yes, that happens, too!)

There seems to be an "expectation" now that because a text is sent, everyone knows it's there to be read -- it comes crashing through, and the expectation is, "REPLY TO ME NOW." It is like someone barging through your door without knocking.

I sound like such a grump, don't I?

I guess all this is to say that if someone sends a message, knows it's been read ... then let it sit until the person gets back to you. If your life is full and busy, you know other people's lives are full and busy. You wait out of respect for them.

If you are worried that they're angry or ignoring you, etc., and it's keeping you up at night, then evaluate whether this angst is on your part or their part.

All of this said, I think the only "caveat" in this is whether it's a dating/romantic situation. Those have different rules altogether. And since this is a cyberbullying forum and not a dating forum, I'll keep my mouth shut about that ... unless you want my opinion! Then I'm happy to share it. :-D

Hope everyone is having a great day.

Heidi
1
Reflective_Joy

In reply to heidilynnrussell

HEIDI- Thank you. I also don't think you are a grump! I think you explained that beautifully. I love the "like someone barging through your door without knocking" Analogy. That is exactly how it feels sometimes!

I definitely think that respecting and empathizing that we all lead busy lives is extremely important. I think too, boundaries can be set at any time. Though it may be uncomfortable, it is important to let people know how we feel and do with compassion and honesty.

Why do you think the rules would be different for dating? I think young people would love to hear your thoughts! My teen niece for one. she just shared photo with the caption that went something like this; " If I know you are lying around doing nothing today how hard is it to text?" I am almost sure that is about a boy. Love to hear your thoughts!
1
heidilynnrussell

In reply to *Reflective_Joy*

Hi Reflective Joy! Sorry it has taken me so long to respond ... I have been in a funk for the past week due to our Presidential election, and I'm just now catching up with the forum.

You asked about my views about why the "rules" for texting are different when you're dating. This will be a view that most women / girls may not like to hear, because I am very "conservative" when it comes to dating issues. But I will plunge ahead and give you my unvarnished opinion. :-)

It is just this: Women/girls need to operate in any dating situation like they are "high value" and are "the prize." I can't point to any scientific study on this, but I do think that men really enjoy the chase. When you text a guy, you have taken away the fun in the relationship for him. I always look at it that I am showing a man respect for his time and boundaries by not texting first but only replying to texts. I also am showing that I am "high value," meaning that I have a very busy, fulfilling life, and I am the one to be desired and pursued. It is both a showing of care for the man's needs in a relationship -- that is, to be the chaser -- and also showing care for yourself -- that is, to allow him to give you the value you deserve by chasing you. And face it, it's a lot more fun when they chase you and have to catch you than the other way around. It just is.

When you text someone and they don't reply, then you're left wondering why not. However, if your life is full, then when they finally do text you, it's a nice surprise. And men are not complicated. When a man is interested, he *will* let you know with multiple texts. Trust me. When you don't hear from him, he is either 1) not interested the way you are or 2) he may actually be dealing with a full plate. He might be very interested but he is handling something else that is pressing. And when he is free, he WILL catch up with you. This isn't about women's equality -- it's just giving yourself time to realize that you are a valuable person, and if you're not sitting waiting by your phone, you're investing in your life in some way.

When in doubt, I always give myself the Scarlett Johansson or Angelina Jolie test, which is ... Would either of them text first? See what I mean? They don't need to. And you don't, either, when a man is truly in hot pursuit.

Probably more than you wanted to know, but there you have it. :-D

Just my opinion -- I know it's not a popular one, though!
1
Reflective_Joy

In reply to heidilynnrussell

Thank you HEIDI for sharing your thoughts! I definitely agree with your last paragraph. But I find it hard in allowing the man to "chase". I have definitely reflected on that, and have wondered " should I respond right away? Am I making this too easy and will he not be interested anymore?" But then I realized, I am a product of what we are taught to believe that men like the 'chase', so let them have it. However, I think the 'chase' can exist in the continued dialogue. Silence and restraint isn't fueling that 'chase'- how we conduct ongoing communication does. When we wait to respond, that can translate as playing games. In my opinion. If we have the time to respond and we want too, we should. I agree wholeheartedly that we should honor our individual lives and activities and nurture our 'me' time. However, using that as a bargaining chip for communication may give off inauthenticity and the need to prove that we are fine on our own. Owning our story- our journey by being vulnerable- demonstrates to me a confidence and ability to embrace our individuality and autonomy. I don't think we need to play by socially constructive norms to get that across. Being open and vulnerable- is scary. It can invite rejection. But it's so much more powerful when we don't hold back. Just my two cents! But in saying that, we still need to respect another person's journey and boundaries. They may not be able or comfortable in communicating with us OR as often as we like. We have to honor and respect their personal boundaries. Equally we need to honor our own. I hope that made sense.
1
heidilynnrussell
Yep, that makes sense, and I think that when it comes down to it, you have to handle relationships in the way that makes sense for you.
I probably see it not really as "game playing," but just the way that I think we're biologically programmed.
To take it one step further (and this is probably revealing more than I should, but here we go, why not ...) ... I put men into one of four categories, dividing them up by the four main male characters in Jane Austen's "Pride & Prejudice."
A "Darcy" will chase.
A "Bingley" will still be a nice person, but possess less confidence and allow you to do the work.
A "Wickham," unfortunately, will be a charming chaser, which is why you have to take your time and decide if he's masquerading as a Darcy.
And as for "Collins?" Well, we all know about Collins. Collins will chase you even when you block his number on your iPhone and send a minimum of five curt texts that you are not interested.

This was a fun discussion! :-D
3
Aileen
Oh, when it comes to seeing when something is sent and someone has read a message: I have told all my close friends (the ones that usually text me) to never go by that as it meaning that I have read their texts. I can't stand my phone blinking and if it happens that it is close to me when I am busy I just enter this app or that to "see" the messages without really reading them just so my phone will stop blinking. When I have the time I will go back and read them (and then answer them). So by letting them know this, even if it shows that I have read something - if they don't get a reply back they know that I haven't actually read their message yet!
Everyone, stay amazing,

~Aileen
3
Aileen
Hahaha...you "analys" on men, Heidi that is hilarious, thanks for that! :)

~Aileen



Ps. What about Colonel Fitzwilliam, what "category" does he fall into?
1
Reflective_Joy

In reply to heidilynnrussell

Heidi I absolutely LOVED your Pride & Prejudice analogy! You had me in stitches. Especially the Mr Collins's part! That was hilarious and so true about certain personality types. Stereotypes do tend to exist - even if they are in small numbers. Austen was excellent as social psychology and she wrote from her observations. I wonder what she would say today about our digital romances!
1
heidilynnrussell
To Aileen: Colonel Fitzwilliam's character didn't have enough depth or development in her novel, so it's tough to say. We only know him superficially, but my guess is that if he was Darcy's buddy, he probably would have been either Darcy-caliber or Bingley-caliber.

To Reflective Joy: What would Austen have had to say about Digital Romances? Probably that men never change from century to century ... and to eschew any and all Mr. Wickhams that come across your Twitter feed. Usually they're the married ones who will send you DMs and tell you, "You're so pretty, I wish my wife was like you!" :-P