Last year, I watched a friendship come to an end: One woman had decided, without knowing all the facts, that another had wronged her, and proceeded to blow the friendship up by hurling accusations and insults… over text.
As a bystander, it was tough to watch. One minute they were buddies, and the next she got a bombshell “Mani-text-o”: An extremely long text that scrolled for many, many pages, an unexpected diatribe.
It’s the type of bombshell that’s I’ve experienced as well— and while the contents of the text can be bruising, what’s worse to me is the idea of using a lengthly text as a weapon, or a vehicle for confrontation. To me, a Manitexto is a duck and cover move: An attempt to engage in a conversation with none of the unpleasantries of having to look the person in the eye and hear their response. You use your “send” button to hurl a grenade then run, leaving that person to deal with the explosion on their own. It’s a godsend for the conflict-avoidant, and— for both my friend and myself— deeply hurtful.
Opting to text or email someone instead of having a tough conversation is the norm these days. Many of us hide behind our phones like so many masks, using them as a layer of protection against uncomfortable or painful situations. But tending to a good friendship in peril requires compassion, presence, and patience… and certainly requires more effort than it takes to fire off a quick text. Making that effort shows people that you care about them enough to make yourself vulnerable, to truly hear them, and to work together to find ways to mend things.
Anything less just feels hollow or, in my friends case, hurtful beyond repair.
Have you ever received an angry Manitexto? Have you ever sent one and regretted it?