This has been a dilemma I’ve teetered between for a long time. I definitely have chosen to text/message friends and family if I feel it’s too hard for me to talk about certain topics face-to-face. Sometimes sending that one text helps as a stepping stone to starting a conversation that I wouldn’t mind continuing face-to-face with the person later. Other times I depend on only taking about the topic through texts, and if I see the person in real life, I won’t bring the subject up out of discomfort or uncertainty about how to restart the conversation again.
I used to think only social anxiety sufferers have this problem, but seeing how smart phones usage is so worldwide and influenced how almost everyone communicates with others, I suspect even those without social anxiety are becoming more dependent on talking through texts and perhaps gaining more discomfort with having to interact in person with others. Am I on to something?
However, since I do have social anxiety, I tend to not be able to separate my individual problems from the anxiety. For example, my preference for texting. Instantly my thoughts fly to, “oh no, I suck at verbalizing things face-to-face because I have social anxiety and this prevents me from communicating effectively sometimes”. That’s how I have seen myself for a long time now, but I’ve had the experience of meeting others with social anxiety, and some don’t have any trouble being talkative or opening up. So this has made me consider that it’s not entirely that my social anxiety is inhibiting me from being comfortable talking to people face-to-face, but that I lack confidence about verbalizing my thoughts or feelings out loud to others.
I’m interested in hearing other people’s experiences with texting and talking face-to-face. Which do you prefer, and what are the challenges of both situations?