Making Real Connections

My niece called me recently and said, “Hey, I want to make a new year’s resolution.” “Ok, I said. And you want to share it with me?”

My niece called me recently and said,

“Yes, she said. I want us to call each other more.” I reminded her that we text often. “I know, she said, but I need to hear your voice.”

Wanting to call each other more had a lot to do with what happened between us this last year.

My sister-in-law called to tell me that something I had said that upset my niece. I immediately texted her. I wanted to explain that she had misunderstood what I meant. We texted back and forth, and before we knew it, there was an uncomfortable distance between us.

Later, when we couldn’t stand the loss we felt, I called her, or maybe she called me; I can’t remember. But I do remember hearing her voice and feeling tears in my heart.

We both cried. I could hear the pain and joy in her voice that helped me understand how she felt, and my response was a lot different than our previous texts.

Texting is a brilliant way to miscommunicate how we feel and misinterpret what other people mean.

Between state-of-the-art technology and the Covid pandemic’s insolation this last year, I’m afraid we are losing an essential part of being emotionally connected.

And even though Zoom is a great invention that helps keep us closer to each other in our work and family connections, something is lacking.

Communication experts tell us that choosing a phone call over Zoom can help you deliver appropriate feedback, eliminate confusion, and feel more emotionally in touch.

My children know me so well that if I answer the phone when something is wrong, they immediately say, “Hey mom, what’s wrong?”

I am good with words, so I could text them right after the house burned down and convince them that everything is alright.

My granddaughter likes to tell me jokes, and listening to her laugh is a gift I wouldn’t receive if she texted them to me.

My daughter has recently had some health issues. When I texted her to see if she needed me to visit, she was fine, but later, when the phone rang, I could hear how much she needed a visit even before she asked.

Texting can also be confusing when you are needing or wanting a response or not knowing how to respond.

Don’t you just hate it when you text someone, and the reply comes hours or days later, keeping you wondering, waiting, and impatient? I do.

People postpone answering texts for several reasons: they are too busy, don’t want to seem overly attached to their phone, or don’t hear the short text alert. I do that, too.

But sometimes you just don’t know what to say.  My son recently received a text from his sister.  He said it was so kind and encouraging that he couldn’t find the words to let her know how much he appreciated those words at this time in his life.

“The only thing I could think to do was to return a :).”

My niece made me stop and think when she requested we call each other more.

I texted a dear friend this week who has been battling lung cancer for the last eight years. I told her I was praying for her and would call her soon. Two days later, she passed away. I can still hear her voice the last time she and her husband met us for breakfast at McDonald’s, just a few weeks ago. Her laughter, her wonderful sense of humor,  her positive attitude that has been a blessing to so many.

If I had called my niece that day, I would have heard the confusion and pain in her voice. She would have heard how much I cared, and we would have talked to each other differently than our text messaging.

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Deana Landers
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I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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Story Comments

  1. Ann Barnes -

    I talk to my children on the phone . They don’t text very much . I love talking hearing them laugh. My Kat and I have coffee together sometimes on Saturday morning . I love it . We text some times. I hope you get this . I love your stories. Love you my friend.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Ann. I love you, too, and I appreciate you reading, commenting and sharing my stories.Love,Deana

  2. Thank you for sharing! I try and call my parents a few times a week. My father is a writer but not a texter... I cherish our conversations, especially in these times.

    • Deana Landers -

      Brooke I cherish conversations with my children too. I think we really have to work at keeping in touch emotionally right now because it is so easy to send messages and not really connect with each other. Thank you always for responding and sharing my column.Deana

  3. Carolyn Dowd -

    I so enjoyed actually talking to you yesterday via our phones which was before i read this. Both texting & talking & even FaceTime calls all have their place in today’s communication! Our conversation yesterday was so much better though than the other two because I felt the spirit of the good ole days while we were talking! I enjoy your stories, keep them coming !

    • Deana Landers -

      I did too, Carolyn. There is nothing like laughing, talking and crying with your friend. I love you dear friend. Thank you always for reading, commenting and sharing my columns.Love ya,Deana

  4. You hit the nail on the head with this story. My kids text me a few time a day with Snapchat or questions or to share photos of their day, but it is not the same. I would love to chat with them on the phone but I don't want to interpret them, because if I call they always feel something is wrong. I am going to start phoning at least a few times a week.

    • Deana Landers -

      Anita, that's a good idea. You could set up a time once a week on a convenient day for them to have a chat. They might love that, too, but just not know how to ask. Thank you always for your kind comments.Deana

  5. Libbie -

    Deana,I sometimes think I should save your posts for the end of my day instead of the morning. You always make me FEEL so much. Thank you. xx.

    • Deana Landers -

      Aww, thank you, Libbie. That is such wonderful thing to hear. I always appreciate your comments.Deana

  6. I'm sorry you lost a friend Deana. My heart goes out to you and her family. I have to agree with you about texting. Sometimes it too easy to quickly type something or send an emoji, just so you don't have an annoying notification popping up that you have unread messages. You can pick up so much more when you hear someone's voice, especially when they're close to you. <3

    • Deana Landers -

      You are so right, Michelle. You can pick up a lot just by listening to someone's voice. Thank you always for your precious comments.Deana

  7. Maria -

    Texting can be very confusing! Love this post! It really important to carefully text someone. I take my time. I rather email the person than text and I feel like when I write an email its like writing a letter.

    • Deana Landers -

      That's a very good thought, Maria. I do write more when I email than when I text. Thank you always for your comments and support in my columns.Deana

  8. Kat Hennings -

    My sister in law is so emotional, she can not talk on the phone. We text all hours of the day and night. Her husband, my husband's brother has been in the hospital with COVID for a month now. He has been Intubated for 2 weeks. It's touch and go Sometimes, you just can't talk, but in the words of her text I can feel her hurt, brokenness, pain, love, joy, fear, happy, etc.. Usually, we would talk on the phone, but in this situation we can't. I miss the old school, simple ways, but on the other hand, I thank God for providing us with the ability to communicate through this modern technical world. Sometimes it's the only way 📱

    • Deana Landers -

      You are so right, Kat. I love our modern technology, too. We have been praying for your brother in law and continue to trust God for his healing.I love you, Aunt Ladeta

  9. I haven't had a cell phone until recently so never really texted. However, lately I've been experiencing word finding issues so I find texting to be easier. Writing allows me to take time to gather my thoughts than to try to convey them verbally. Your story makes me re-think that approach; I should call more to keep in practice because you know what they say? If you don't use it, you lose it!

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Sara. My son said "Mom, you're going to get a lot different reactions to this story. I know, but it is a thought to think about:)Love ya,Deana

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