Less is More | Analysis of Passive Tones found in Texting


This past semester I was enrolled in an English Language class for my major. Throughout the semester, the class went over linguistics, sentence structures, history of English, etc. At the end of the semester, each student researched and presented an aspect of English. Sticking to what I know best, I analyzed how I text my friends versus how I speak to them in person.

This sounds silly, right?

Shouldn’t how I speak to someone over text be the same face-to-face?

Before you answer that, review your own conversations!

Specifically, how often do you use pronouns (I, you, they, etc.) or ellipses (…)? After analyzing my conversations, I noticed that when I am upset with my friend or significant other, I tend to not use pronouns or exclamation points and instead resort to ellipses.

For example, one of my close friends will ask if something is wrong if I text her:

“Love you” opposed to “I love you.”

She will also know something is peculiar if I text back:

“Okay…” opposed to “Okay!”

The ellipses and lack thereof the pronoun “I” gives the text a passive tone.

Am I angry?

Am I anxious?

Or am I playing you?

That’s the BIG question.

Because let’s be honest, when we communicate face-to-face we can pick up on body language and tones in voice very easily. All we have to do is pay attention. If I heard someone say “love you” instead of “I love you” is it really going to hurt? Probably not. But because the person texting did not go the extra mile to type out “I” before “love” I feel insecure¬†and so do my friends.

Have I purposely not used pronouns to fuck with one of my friends or boyfriend?

Of course.

Before you comment on my behavior, review your own text conversations! Have you purposely been cold towards a friend cause you don’t have the balls to tell them to leave you alone? Did you “accidentally” not see a text?

Mhm. That’s what I thought.

With how communication has evolved through texting, it’s almost as if we have our own personal styles of communicating on AND off the phone.

I’ll be honest, how I text is not even close to how I am in-person.

First off, I never say, “Laugh my ass off” out loud (you shouldn’t either).

When it comes to confrontation, I prefer to do that either in-person or over the phone. Texting gives me too much freedom to make someone feel unwanted. If I am not in the mood to talk to someone, I don’t have to respond. I can leave them hanging on and anticipating my response. This is equivalent to not answering your phone when someone calls. But here’s the thing about cell phones:


We are constantly on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You name it!

You see the text! You see it!

Not answering a text that pertains to a serious conversation is equivalent to leaving your friend’s room without warning.

“Oh! See ya,” said Dahv as she ran for the door.

It’s rude! But hey – we all do it.

We seek that control! We seek the feeling of making someone feel unwanted as a way to feel more wanted!

Who doesn’t love a long-ass text from a needy friend or significant other like:

“Oh my God, come on. I need you. Please. We can talk about this. Please answer me. I miss you.”

Ahhh…fucking awesome.

Let me guess, you are reading this and nodding your head along?

Of course you are.

Does this make you a bad person?

I don’t think so! We are all accustomed to focusing in on our own little worlds concealed within screens. Instead of sparking up conversations with people in a waiting room or classroom, we scroll through our Facebook News Feed like it’s a newspaper.

We are all obsessed on how we present ourselves online, that our outward appearance doesn’t seem to matter as much.

Who cares about being a gentleman and charming a woman on a first date, when you can flirt with her via Facebook and get her nudes before you know her phone number?

I propose that we all focus on what’s really important and put the phones down just for a little bit. Try to have a REAL conversation face-to-face with someone; observe the person’s body language, tones in voice, different types of laughter and quirks. Don’t read so much into someone’s text message. I know it’s hard! I still struggle with this. It’s stupid. I know. But if you don’t agree with even a little bit of this, then you are lying to yourself.

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