Why Converse When You Can Text?

The holidays approach, which for many means spending a more than usual amount of time with extended family and distant relatives. So, why talk face-to-face when you could text Great Uncle Aloysius instead?

Dominique Browning suggests lowering the stress levels of family get-togethers through more texting and less face-time.

[div class=attrib]From the New York Times:[end-div]

ADMIT it. The holiday season has just begun, and already we’re overwhelmed by so much … face time. It’s hard, face-to-face emoting, face-to-face empathizing, face-to-face expressing, face-to-face criticizing. Thank goodness for less face time; when it comes to disrupting, if not severing, lifetimes of neurotic relational patterns, technology works even better than psychotherapy.

We look askance at those young adults in a swivet of tech-enabled multifriending, endlessly texting, tracking one another’s movements — always distracted from what they are doing by what they are not doing, always connecting to people they are not with rather than people right in front of them.

But being neither here nor there has real upsides. It’s less strenuous. And it can be more uplifting. Or, at least, safer, which has a lot going for it these days.

Face time — or what used to be known as spending time with friends and family — is exhausting. Maybe that’s why we’re all so quick to abandon it. From grandfathers to tweenies, we’re all taking advantage of the ways in which we can avoid actually talking, much less seeing, one another — but still stay connected.

The last time I had face time with my mother, it started out fine. “What a lovely blouse,” she said, plucking lovingly (as I chose to think) at my velvet sleeve. I smiled, pleased that she was noticing that I had made an effort. “Too bad it doesn’t go with your skirt.” Had we been on Skype, she would never have noticed my (stylishly intentional, I might add, just ask Marni) intriguing mix of textures. And I would have been spared another bout of regressive face time freak-out.

Face time means you can’t search for intriguing recipes while you are listening to a fresh round of news about a friend’s search for a soul mate. You can’t mute yourself out of an endless meeting, or listen to 10 people tangled up in planning while you vacuum the living room. You can’t get “cut off” — Whoops! Sorry! Tunnel! — in the middle of a tedious litany of tax problems your accountant has spotted.

My move away from face time started with my children; they are generally the ones who lead us into the future. It happened gradually. First, they left home. That did it for face time. Then I stopped getting return phone calls to voice mails. That did it for voice time, which I’d used to wean myself from face time. What happened?

[div class=attrib]Read the entire article here.[end-div]

[div class=attrib]Image: People texting. Courtesy of Mashable.com.[end-div]