Mobility

Breaking hearts via text messages

As the mobile landscape expands and text messaging becomes an increasingly popular form of communication, you can imagine how many relationships will live and die by text. Sure, right now dumping someone by text message may seem a little tacky, but it's already taking place.

As the mobile landscape expands and text messaging becomes an increasingly popular form of communication, you can imagine how many relationships will live and die by text. Sure, right now dumping someone by text message may seem a little tacky, but it's already taking place.

In fact, according to a recent study by moneysupermarket.com, 15% of the 2,194 people surveyed said that they've been dumped via text messaging.

An excerpt from Reuters:

While hiding behind technology might appear a cowardly way of splitting up, it contrasts with the four percent who simply drop all communication with their lovers without notice.

... a quarter of those in the most tech-savvy 18 to 24-year-old age group would choose the traditional method -- a letter.

I hate to shatter my angelic image, but I've broken a heart or two via text message. For people who like to avoid confrontation, it's one of the best cop outs... I mean, solutions available.

What's the best and worst communication you've had via text messaging?

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About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

34 comments
Canuckster
Canuckster

I remember every word of her text message, "Thanks for calling. You have an incredibly sexy voice. As soon as you hung up I called the Ex's best friend and had him rush right over. It was a great time! Lets talk again real soon!"

Dan Fango
Dan Fango

I'd be a little concerned that she had a bank of individuals ready for whenever she gets an idea for something or other...

Canuckster
Canuckster

I never talked with her again except to ask her if it was a joke. That message was so wrong on so many different levels that I couldn't believe it at first. She said it wasn't a joke and she didn't understand why it would bother me as we were still in the early stages of a relationship. I never answered her messages, emails or calls after that.

Tig2
Tig2

I have written my share of difficult letters in the past but I always managed to do it in a format that the recipient could shred into tiny bits, if necessary. This has worked for me because I know how I manage that message when I receive it. I believe that we are getting a tad "techno-crazy". I am old enough to think that there are still a few rules. One of them is to actually write a letter to break a heart. I admit it here and now- I don't text message anything. Email is all I admit to and I hardly admit to that. I have a chat client that I rarely use and I'm good with that. I DO Skype- but only with close friends and I use the web cam so they are forced to see me in all my relative whatever. But I don't text mostly because I don't know how to deliberately misspell. And having been married 10 years to a sailor, I've had enough acronyms to last me a lifetime. I can't even begin to visualize the message I'd send. I'm not sure I want to. When I find it necessary to advise a former trusted resource that I no longer wish to include them on my Christmas card list, I simply send dead roses with an handwritten note. I find that the message is transmitted quickly and painlessly- and effectively. I have never heard another word from a recipient. Some things require a bit of class. I am so allergic to texting that I do believe that the only message I have ever received by that medium was "testing" sent by a former boss. I've never sent one. The significant one recently received spam via text- as he is comfortable with his "parts" he ignored the message. This was difficult only because the chime on his phone woke us both up- at 3:00 a.m. I will not go as far as to say that texting is the work of Satan. I will say that when I see the hold it has taken, I don't wonder much why people can't communicate on any meaningful level any more.

meryllogue
meryllogue

Tigger, you take the symbology of flowers to a whole new level! I have never heard of anyone doing that. But I LOVE it! What a point-maker! zap-zap-zap-zap-! Wow. You don't even need a card with that one... just a simple bouquet of dead roses would do it.

Tig2
Tig2

But lets face it, constructing the perfect "go away" message can be fun. Grab a thesaurus and make a day of it! Seriously, you need to provide the recipient with something to shred. It's only sporting!

GSG
GSG

I disabled mine. I got a text from our help desk asking me to fix a problem. They got mad because I didn't respond. I didn't even know I had texting capability! Just call and have it disabled, because if your plan is like mine, you got charged for something you didn't want in the first place.

Sonja Thompson
Sonja Thompson

According to a recent study, 15 percent of 2,194 people surveyed said that they've been dumped via text messaging. What's the best and worst communication you've had via text messaging?

Popoyd
Popoyd

After dropping a GF I spent the afternoon with, I got a SMS from her... she intended to send it to someone else, saying her 'class' was over and she was ready for 'our' special night :D Turns out she was seeing THREE guys, seeing who was marryable 8| Good thing she sent the heads-up, 'cause it could have been me...

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I have a riends who owes money and to stop collection calls bothering him, he just leaves his phone on vibrate. The problem is, he NEVER asnwers it and always complains that he wasn't told about this or that. YOU call him and leave voice mail and he TEXTS your reply. I pay for my monthly usage charges so i can talk to people, when he texts me, I have to pay to receive teh text mail! So I have to pay twice just because the clown can't answer his damn phone. TEXT MESSAGING SUCKS! Thanks, I feel better now.

dobbinsm
dobbinsm

I hate phones an would like to hang the guy that invented phones to start with. I am an e-mail person. I have a cell for travel and work and use it as little as possible. In fact I wouldn't even talk if I didn't have to.

skOtn
skOtn

I'm mid thirties, and have had multiple relationships over the duration of my years. I think it's far to easy to disassociate a person into a picture and a phone number or email address. When I was younger and was outside more I noticed that most stuff was done either face-to-face or on the phone. You were still a person. Now it's I meet you online, IM you, then text and when it gets old then your deleted. There isn't the level of intimacy that there used to be. I read your profile and slot you into a category even before I get past the initial meeting. I actually had a woman ask me for a myspace page so she could "read" more about me. When I told her she could just ask me stuff she replied that it was "easier" to read it. Shi. no wonder I'm still single. *laughs*

AT Computers
AT Computers

My best friends wife flirting with me, sending sexy photos of her and my wife and best friend are sitting back laughing about it, knowing I can't touch! "Bummer"...

tundraroamer
tundraroamer

Like e-mail and videos, text messages can be digitally stored away almost forever only to surface during your trial or media persecution.

McKendrick
McKendrick

I use text messaging all the time. I very often think of something I want or need to do when I'm nowhere near my office. I've always got my cell phone though! I just send a text message to my e-mail and the next time I get to my desk I've got a reminder. I know people who carry note cards, voice recorders, PDA's etc., but they also carry a cell phone. I don't like to have that much stuff in my pockets. Going the other direction, MS Outlook will let you schedule a date and time to deliver an e-mail, so I'll create an e-mail to my phone, schedule it, and at the appropriate time I get a text message reminder. Perfect solution.

ByteBin-20472379147970077837000261110898
ByteBin-20472379147970077837000261110898

Well, for one thing, I think it's a good idea to use text/technology. Not just for breakups but a lot of things. Too many times people let their emotions get in the way of logic and disputes would happen that would be avoided if they thought before they said anything. And, often when you see someone face-to-face, you don't know how they'll react. What their expressions and body language will be. Or will they even attack you physically? Or will they start screaming and swearing at you? By texting or email, it gives BOTH parties time to cool off and think what they write. And so the message is more thought-out. And less likely to start a verbal (or even physical) argument from spur-of-the-moment, face-to-face altercations or disagreements. We are evolving. Nothing stagnates. Technology is a part of our lifes which we have to (and have) gotten used to. Some may not like that but not everyone wants to live in the past. I'm sure there were similar concerns back when telephone became more common (instead of writing letters). Anytime we have a major breakthrough in technology that affects our communication with each other, it will bring both good and bad to the table. All of which we all have to adjust to. Personally, I love technology and I don't mind if someone rather text me or not. I rather not be told to my face that someone rather not want me around anymore. Just tell me and get it over with. I don't want some stupid note in the mail. I have enough paper junk and then I'll have to take out the darn trash as well - maybe when I don't feel up to it. With a text message or email, press a button and it's gone. Set up of filter and delete their address from the address book and THEY are gone. Done. Deleted. On with life. I might be cold, but we live in a fast-paced world and I don't have time to waste on put-downs. I rather get them over quickly and get on with things. I have a kazillion other things I need to be (and rather be) doing than listening to some stupid message telling me I'm no good for someone, or some dumb letter in the mail which I have to go through the trouble of ripping up and taking out the darn trash. Or some dork getting in my face (literally). Oh well, YMMV. Anyway, what's the worst text message I ever received or the best? Well, the best was from someone I was seeing, naturally. Just keeping in touch. Worst maybe was some stupid bit of spam. I don't use SMS much anyway, really.

dennis.fisher
dennis.fisher

"Some may not like that but not everyone wants to live in the past." Having the decency to break up with someone in person is living in the past?? I'm a major technology geek, but this is just an excuse for rudeness. Technology should never be used to lessen our humanity.

Canuckster
Canuckster

Like a "Dear John" letter, a text message at least is honest. It does not mislead the recipient nor does it leave doubts as to the state of the nation. On the other hand it is cold, like being slapped with a fish. Having been slapped by a text message I can only say I'm glad to find out sooner, and from her, rather than later or from someone else.

dennis.fisher
dennis.fisher

After thinking about your reply, I must still disagree. It comes down to choices about who we are and what we value. If we value our relationships with each other so little, if they are so cheap and disposible like many things today, then yes, I can see that making (and breaking) them with text is acceptable. But I want to drive how technology affects the quality of my life, not be driven by it.

Canuckster
Canuckster

I think the norms are changing. People who have met on the internet, dated on the internet, you-know-what on the internet do not see breaking up by text message as rude. It is simply an extension of the existing relationship in that it brings it to its natural conclusion. Meeting in real life and dating in real life may be better but it is certainly not safer. I think text messaging has become such a popular norm that breaking up in that manner seems quite natural as well.

steven_sebele
steven_sebele

Let's not forget that texting is very impersonal, to explain further, my girlfriend took my phone one day when i wasn't around and told an old (female) freind of mine i no longer wished to be friends (to put it nicely). by the time i knew about it, too much damage had been done and thus, i lost a good friend.

bclauser
bclauser

Quote from my ex: "Thanks again for the trip to Miami, but I think I need to spend some time alone." She got engaged a month and a 1/2 later. WTF?!?!

techrepublic
techrepublic

WTF indeed! Fantastic - this chick's got class! Look on the bright side, she's obviously a gold-digger and you just saved a few hundred K (at least) on alimony. That trip to Miami could've been the best investment you ever made.

radioeng
radioeng

I just started seeing this girl.. one day after we had lunch.. she sent me a text message about something from the daybefore. she sent me another text about an hour later figuring things were over because I had not responded. a short while after that she sent another telling me how sorry she was that things have ended. After all this had taken place is the point where I picked up my phone and read the messages (later in the day they were sent) she has my email, cell and home number, but because I didn't respond in a timely maner to a txt message, it's the blowoff? There's a woman who's too much into drama (or txt messaging).. so I sent her a txt message in reply saying to not contact me any more in any way. next three days she kept sending me txt messages, which I ignored. She finally stopped. also, GF of almost 3 years decided to end things via email.. wth?

alxnsc
alxnsc

Some send chat-like messages with no "subject" text. These people think that the correspondent is obliged to keep their messages chained or that he is obliged to figure out what is all about... Some never try to imagine the possible consequence of sending a message to an office and even think that chat-style is the most appropriate. Well, "easy" style shows disrespect or that the message is of no importance and I am apt to ignore and dispose a message of this sort. Diagnosis: LNL - "Litter not letter..."

ryan.hoffmann
ryan.hoffmann

I have been dumped 2 times by text message. The first time the girl did it to me while I was already at a bar with friends to save me from texting them to go out for beers. The second girl however sent hers to me at work which really put a damper on the rest of the work day.

jimmy54485
jimmy54485

I've never been dumped by text but I guess I'd prefer it to taking a girl out for supper only to have her break up with you during the meal. The test is sure alot cheaper.

thompsf1
thompsf1

Yesterday, my trainer texted me to tell me that it was Leg Day!

DMambo
DMambo

The worst text message I've ever had was one from a good friend stating that he was stuck in traffic and would be an hour late to the brew festival we were attending. Think of all the good beer that went homeless for an hour. It's enough to break your heart!!

maecuff
maecuff

I don't text much. I find it cumbersome. However, it seems to be the prefered mode of communition for two of my older kids, so I make due. The only text I received that stands out, is my son telling me I texted like a 12 year old girl because I used all the abbreviations. It wasn't to be cool, not at all, I just wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible. Now, with that being said, I can say that if I had had the option of texting when I was 19 or 20, I would have LOVED it. But not to break up with someone. What a wussy thing to do!

marka
marka

I agree, its the cowards way out. Breaking up by notes, text message email. Anything that isn't face to face is disrespectful and downright childish.

GSG
GSG

I have text messaging disabled. I hate it, hate it, hate it. I hate my cell phone, but have it for safety (long commute), and for my job. I'd much rather send an email as there is nothing that is so urgent that I must be able to text or talk to someone on a whim at any hour of the day. I really hate when I'm in a meeting and someone is trying to surreptitiously carry on a texting conversation.

mattohare
mattohare

Ok, breaking up by text was a new idea when I read it in a national newspaper in July of 2003. Around the same time I saw people of all ages sending text messages with the ease of talking. I'm 45yo. Those sending messages were older and younger than me. I'd much sooner get an SMS than a voice mail. Don't have to ring in for them.

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