We’ve all come across a text pest. Perhaps one of your friends is a needy texter, or someone in your family. Maybe it’s you!
A text pest is a needy texter. They expect a response from you when they send a text. When you answer their text, they send another. They ask questions. They want more and more from you. They suck the life blood minutes out of your hour. They demand an answer – now.
A text pest doesn’t care about you. You say that you are in the middle of dinner. That poses no problem to the needy texter. They will tell you what they had for dinner, talk about their latest diet, send a photo of a meal or they completely ignore that you are eating dinner and launch into some other topic. They want engagement, now!
Or perhaps you say you are just walking out the door. They reply asking what time you will be back and tell you to text when you return so they can carry on the conversation.
Texts are convenient. “I’m on my way. Should be there in 20 minutes.” “Got caught in a meeting – running late.” “Hope you are feeling better today.” “Good luck. Thinking of you.” I enjoy short message texts during my day, even if I don’t get a chance to look at them until later. They are not demanding. Most people understand that we have other things going on. Sometimes we communicate with a long text – like an email. Provided the communication is respectful and somewhat equal from both parties, it works well.
Needy texters are often the same people who phone and won’t finish a conversation. You wind up the conversation saying how you need to get going. You have things to do. They ignore this and launch into another subject.
With phone technology we can now see who is calling before we answer. We have a choice to pick up or not. The text pest is aware of this, but they know their texts will get through.
However, a text pest runs the risk of being ignored when they do have something important to say.
It is very hard to ignore our phones. They beep, whistle or play a tune and we jump into action. We keep them near us. We are always accessible. We never get free from everyone – completely alone where no one can contact you – unless we turn it off.
Each person’s time is their’s to live, work and attend to the business that life entails. If someone has time to spend some with you, it is a gift. No one owes you their time and we cannot demand it. We need to seek satisfaction and validation in other ways.
10 Ways to make sure you aren’t being a Text Pest
- Don’t send texts late at night or early in the morning. Don’t expect that your text is read immediately or responded to – unless it is a life and death situation, and then you should call, not send a text.
- Don’t text trivia. Not everyone needs to know your every thought, bright idea or problem.
- Texts are a less intrusive way to send a message – allowing someone to respond when and if they have time. Respect that.
- Letting people know you are thinking about them when they are sick or going through a hard time is easy with a thoughtful text. Don’t expect a response.
- Avoid getting caught up in long texting conversations. You teach people how to treat you. Have your own boundaries of respectful texting and live to those.
- Monkey see, monkey do. If your friend sends short cryptic texts, keep your texts short as well. If one text will satisfy, leave it at that. You don’t need to have the last word or the last text every time.
- When someone texts you at an inconvenient moment, don’t look at your phone. Have respect for the people you are with and what you are doing. Don’t drop everything to read the text while people are talking to you.
- When out with friends, put your phone away. Unless you are expecting an important call, it is rude to constantly check your phone while with someone else. If you are expecting a message or have a difficult situation occurring, let them know what is going on. Real people spending their time with you needs to be respected.
- Have time without your phone being turned on. Take time to be in the moment, with all your senses turned on, with no interruptions. We don’t need to validate our experience with another’s opinion. We don’t need to share it. It’s our life for us to enjoy as an individual, alone.
- Learn to validate yourself. Your thoughts are valuable. When you broadcast your thoughts or bright ideas they are often diminished. Learn to keep your own truths to yourself and only share with people who know and respect you. When we only seek validation from external sources it will always bring unhappiness.