Text Anxiety

We have all heard of test anxiety, but have you heard of text anxiety? It might just be one of our most modern anxieties today.

Test anxiety is a combination of physiological over-arousal, tension and somatic symptoms, along with worry, dread, fear of failure, and catastrophizing, that occur before or during test situations. Text anxiety isn’t much different.

Texting is fun, fast and a quick way of communicating but it institutes misunderstanding. The biggest issues are reading subtext into the received texts or reading the message in a tone of voice based on your understanding or insecurities.

Don’t read into a text. Take it at face value or picture them saying those words in a kind way and not the way your mind is perceives it to be. Also, some people are just not good texters, and are better on the phone or in person. But if you are really concerned, call them.

The biggest issue with text anxiety is the emotional dependency we have. When we send a text and wait for one in return, we can often become emotionally dependent on that return. How often were you in a bad mood and grouchy to others because your girl or guy didn’t respond, but as soon as the heavenly text comes in, you are smiling and positive and happy again? That’s emotional dependency, and that’s being a puppet to your marionettist.

How to stop doing this? For starters:

1. You can’t take people personally. They are the way they are because that’s the f*ck the way they are- it has nothing to do with you.

2. Furthermore, we can’t control the outcome we desire of others, so let go.

3. Stop assuming the worst and “catastrophizing”. How many times have you thought the worst, and then ding his text came in? Assume they are busy if they don’t return the text.

4. But remember, if you are bringing “your best self” to this person, and they don’t like/want you, there is nothing you can do. This person is just not that into you. Move on.

Jacqueline Donelli is a psychotherapist based in NYC.

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