We’ve all been there. That feeling of relief followed by a suddenly anxious rush once the text has been sent. You wish there was an "unsend" button, but there isn't. Have you ruined your relationship? Will things now become awkward because of the impulsive need to move your fingers? You are not alone! Lynne Kelly and colleagues found in a 2012 study published in "Qualitative Research Reports in Communication," that texting reduces inhibition and can lead to a variety of difficulties. Relax! You have the ability to assuage the situation, but it will take a little bit of learning first. You can easily get yourself out of the mess of sending an awkward text.
Face up to your mistake. Do not deny sending the text or make an excuse about why you sent it, as this will only ruin your credibility.
Break the ice by following up the text with a joke, such as "wow on an awkwardness scale of 1 to 10 that was definitely an 11!" This will lighten the mood and help to ease the situation.
Apologize for how the text may have made the recipient feel uncomfortable. This allows the receiver to recognize that you understand the consequences of the text. The receiver may already be feeling awkward, so showing that you are rational will help to ease any trepidation.
Explain that although the text didn't come out as you had intended it, you did send it for a purpose, related to thoughts that you've had. Ask to talk about what has been on your mind.
Have a discussion about whatever underlying issues caused you to send the text. During this time apologize again for the way the text may have come across. Let the recipient know that although you're sorry about sending the text itself, you are glad that you're able to talk now.
Thank the receiver for taking the time to speak with you, no matter what the outcome of your conversation. Leave the conversation feeling proud and positive; most importantly, you should be satisfied and feel a sense of relief that you took the time to apologize.
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- When texting someone, it's always a good idea to follow the 10-second rule: Once you've written a text, try not sending it for at least 10 seconds. This will give you time to rethink what you have typed and to be sure that its something you want to send.
Alizah Scherr has worked as a professional school counselor in a public school system for more than five years. She has a master's degree in education and is certified as a counselor.