They have seen the message but they haven’t replied (2 minute read)

Texting is NOT the same as communicating. If we behave like it is, we are playing a very dangerous game. 

Have you heard of the 55/38/7 rule?

The 55/38/7 rule is based on some old school studies in 1967 conducted by this guy called Dr Albert Mehrabian. He essentially said that in certain circumstances, communication is 55% on body language, 38% on tone of the voice and only 7% on the actual words spoken.

Let’s have another look at these numbers.

55% Body language; 38% tone of voice and 7% actual words spoken.

What you say is only 7% of what is actually said – Dr G

So where does this put communication via text or through a screen? Assuming that these words convey the words that are “spoken”, perhaps texting offers only 7% of the full communication experience. So where is the other 93%? My thoughts are that this 93% gap is filled with what I call “open to interpretation”. It becomes a breeding ground for misinterpretations, assumptions and misunderstandings (MAMs – #justmadeupanacronym).

The most common example of MAMs (if you say it enough it will become real) that I  have seen is in the context of not getting a “timely” reply via text. This is where people’s mental health can and does start to fall to pieces.

“I know they have seen the message…I can tell they read it hours ago…why hasn’t he replied…I can see he’s active on Facebook so why the hell doesn’t he have time to reply to me…did I say something…is he still mad about that thing that happened a few weeks ago…I didn’t think it was a big deal…”

This may seem like an extreme example but I have seen a similar thought process before. Multiple times. These MAMs be crazy!

Maybe the above is true but usually the real reason is, “I forgot”. Nothing more, nothing less.

This is my PSA to bring back communication. The way our parents did things back in the good ol’ days. Talking at its finest. Over the phone or most the time, in person. The beauty of this seemingly outdated method of communication is that you get INSTANT feedback. The same instant feedback we unreasonably expect through a screen. A moments silence to all the MAMs lost in the making of this PSA.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this one. I feel like there is something here to tease apart. I have had many issues with MAMs on social media and as a result, I have tried to minimise my use. I am the guy that still calls you on your birthday or calls you to talk about things (often at the initial discomfort of others).

Why not try it? No texting for a day. Just phone calls or in person chats. Watch your relationships grow and embrace the initial awkwardness of not being able to hide behind a screen!

Again, texting is NOT equivalent to communication.

As always, stay in school, don’t do drugs and believe in creating acronyms that can one day stand alongside the classics #LOL #LMAO #MAMS.

Dr G