(Un)Popular Opinion Lifestyle

Grinding on your pet peeves: Why it’s okay to be a slow texter

It’s as if once you’re plugged into the internet, personal time becomes a public commodity.
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Here’s a hot take: Slow texting and late replies does not deserve the bad reputation it has. It should be accepted and even normalised.

In this day and age, our mobile devices have become an extension of us; rarely are we seen without it.

According to a survey reported by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, usage of mobile phone increased by 0.3% from 97.9% in 2019 to 98.2 % in 2020.

Ict usage in malaysia
Image via: Department of Statistics Malaysia
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Furthermore, the most popular internet activity is social media.

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Statistic on popular internet activity
Image via: Department of Statistics Malaysia

By default, there is little reason for one to reply late, right?

Well, just because people can respond at all times, it does not mean they want to or should.

Slow texters and late replies

To some, slow texting and late replies is one of the most frustrating pet-peeves.

Heck, even Urban Dictionary throws shade on those that respond slowly.  

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Definition of slow texting by urban dictionary
Screenshot via: UrbanDictionary

You might find yourself nodding away and agreeing, or even cursing that friend that has yet to respond to your day-old message.

I get it, you’re annoyed and frustrated. I mean, aside from being busy with work, what else could they be so caught up in?

As a slow texter myself, I confess that it’s not so much of being caught up with work, but more so about being emotionally and mentally unavailable.

How do you keep up with so many messaging platforms?
How does one keep up with so many messaging platforms?
Image via: MissYasemin

Stuck in a loop of same conversations

You might have realised over the past two years, texting during the pandemic played by a certain script.

You check in with your friends, asking how they’re doing / coping, you ask for any personal updates, then proceed to complain about the current situation, how the government is not doing their jobs etc.

Arguably, this has helped many cope with the lockdowns. However, were this to happen on a daily basis, repetitiveness robs the meaningful exchange from the conversation.

Texting can be draining
Image via: Tumblr/Chibird

Don’t get me wrong, I value and appreciate any forms of messages sent to me. Nevertheless, the effort needed to continue conversations is tiring.

Deciphering text

So, what’s so exhausting about texting?

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Digital (written) communication is now designed to mimic conversation but only when it comes to timing.

In text-based communication, body language is non-existent. The lack of facial expressions, intonation and posture has made it easy to misinterpret messages.

Effort in deciphering texts
Image via: TheMeaningOfLife

As a result, more time is needed to think and formulate sentences that best fit the sender’s current emotions.

A lot of guess work needed here.

The misunderstandings, delayed corrections, and inadequate explanations feed into a mountain of anxiety and energy consumption.

On personal boundaries around communication
On personal boundaries around communication.
Quote via: Forge

Fostering a culture of slow texting

Normalising slow texting gives leeway to individuals to respond depending on their emotional and mental availability.

On the other hand, expecting or even demanding people to respond immediately holds an element of toxicity. It leads to others feeling obliged to respond.

As much as I advocate about normalising slow replies, there are instances when immediate response are needed.

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In the digital world where we masquerade our lives, it gets pretty darn tiring.

Embracing a culture of responding on our own terms may help preserve time and energy.

By correcting assumptions and managing expectations in your ‘texting circle’, you create an environment that promotes self-awareness surrounding emotional and mental availability.

With that said, make sure that there is a mutual set of understanding that it is okay for you to reply later than usual before you go about ghosting your friends.

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Editor: Anna Wong