Signs That You Have Texting Anxiety

Many of us already overthink things, from interactions with coworkers to awkward first dates. Then there's texting, which just adds to some people's anxiety. For instance, if you write a text and immediately start obsessing whether you chose the right words. Are you coming across the way you hoped? Was your emoji choice weird? You're not alone if you think this way. 

With smartphones, we have immediate access to everything we want. So when you don't get a reply right away, it can cause some of us to get upset. "You can't really rest when you have an action out in the world and you haven't gotten the feedback yet," Natasha Schull, a professor of media, culture, and communication at New York University told VICE. "You get in a heightened state of agitation." 

To understand if you have texting anxiety, here are some signs to look out for, and tips from an expert to help you deal with the stress it can cause.

Obsessing over why someone isn't responding right away

You've just reread your text multiple times over to make sure your words and punctuation are perfect, you hit send and don't get a response. Then you start spiraling, assuming the worst. "Texting anxiety is the distress some people experience when waiting for a reply from a text that they have sent, or the distress related to a text that has been received that raises unexpected questions/concerns," Forrest Talley, Ph.D told Southern Living. To help avoid this pressure, Tally recommends telling the person it's okay to take time with their response.

"When texting someone wherein you know that you will be anxious about their response, specifically state that it is fine for them to text you back later in the day or evening (or next day)," Talley explained. "This removes the tension that can arise due to wondering 'Why haven't they returned my text?'"

Feeling so stressed about texting it interferes with your day

Another sign of texting anxiety is if you are experiencing excessive worry over your digital conversations that are interfering with your daily life. Difficult conversations can be especially tough over text when you can't hear the person's inflection. "The impact is that this anxiety adds to one's daily stress, is a distraction, and frequently leads people to spend unnecessary time attempting to resolve the tension that has now arisen," Talley said. If this is happening to you, Tally recommends meeting IRL.

"Important matters deserve a richer medium of communication — if it's important, don't text," he said. "Instead use the phone, or face-to-face communication (email as a last resort). It's perfectly acceptable to text someone and let them know that you would like to talk with them, and set up a time for a real conversation. Recognize the limits of texting as a way of communicating!"