anxiety · life · social anxiety

Texting vs. talking face-to-face

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?

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2 thoughts on “Texting vs. talking face-to-face

  1. Hi, I have social anxiety as well and have written some posts about this very subject (https://thenutfactory.wordpress.com/2016/09/03/mobile-phone/ and https://thenutfactory.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/telephonophobia/ if your interested.) I definitely prefer text or Facebook messenger to talking face to face when it’s more personal/difficult subjects being discussed. Talking face to face feels really intimidating and talking via text gives me a chance to think about what I want to say and word it right rather than just blurting out the first thing that comes into my head. On saying that I’d rather talk face to face than make a telephone call. It doesn’t make much sense sometimes. I think face to face is easier than the phone because I can read a persons body language and that really helps me work out if I’m annoying the person and should just shut up. Hard to do that on the phone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that texting can allow more time to think about what to say in response to someone, rather than having to spontaneously come up with a quick response if I’m talking to someone face to face. I often get tongue-tied when I’m asked a question in person, and I take about two or three seconds longer to say something back. The problem isn’t that my brain can’t formulate an answer right away, but I hesitate to give my answer because I start thinking very hard about whether my response is appropriate or if I’ll sound stupid and so forth.

      I would still prefer a telephone call instead of a face-to-face conversation because I’m uncomfortable with having to continuously hold eye contact with another person during a conversation. That, and I know I make face-to-face talks more difficult for myself because it’s my instinct to perceive whatever I say to the person is the wrong answer/response. With phone calls, I can utilize my voice and tone to get my point across, even if I feel nervous.

      Liked by 1 person

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