Texting in Divorce. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Did you know?
- The average adult spends 23 hours per week texting
- The average American exchanges 67 texts per day twice as many texts as calls
- 98% of texts are opened and read within 3 minutes of sending. People usually respond within 30 seconds.
Texting has become the default communication method. With good, bad, and ugly results–especially in divorce.
The good: Texting provides an easy, non-intrusive way to get messages to another person. Mom can send, Jake will need his permission slip for the field trip when she realizes Dad will have to take it when he drops off the kids at school. Dad can read when he is out of his meeting. It’s clear, concise, and helpful.
The bad? Dr. Albert Mehrabian, researcher on communication, notes that communication is about 7% actual words, 38% vocal tone, and 55% body language. To be fair, this is a simplistic statement of his numbers. This causes people to ignore the real impact of words. Words do matter.
But, communication experts agree that non-verbal cues keenly shade how those vital words are heard and understood. Texts omit 93% of the cues for effective communication. Making much of what happens via text ineffective and even destructive. Especially in situations where communication is already strained–like divorce.
Divorced people already distrust each other. Take a lack of trust and then eliminate the context for words–misunderstanding of the worst kind takes over.
The ugly:Divorced or divorcing parents often use texting to avoid actually speaking to each other. They hope this will somehow prevent the fight. It rarely does.
The outcome: ugly misunderstanding as tone of voice and facial expression are assumed rather than experienced. When people don’t trust each other–they usually assume the most negative interpretation of the words. Instead of avoiding a fight, this creates far more fights, and even court hearings, than needed.
Rule of thumb–If a communication requires more than three texts’ call. The more people text back and forth, the more misunderstanding escalates. Calling each other restores context and reduces the potential for misunderstanding.
For more tips on how to engage well during and after divorce, email us at info@TheResolutionCenterIndy.com or call 317-344-9740. We look forward to talking with you.