There is an old story about a woman traveling in Europe who saw a beautiful painting and wanted to buy it. She sent her husband this telegram: “I have found a wonderful painting. Price seventy-five thousand dollars. Agree that I buy it?” 

Her husband was horrified by the cost and promptly sent his wife a telegram:  “No, price too high.”

The wife sailed home for America and excitedly showed her husband the painting after her arrival. He was apoplectic. “How in the world could you buy that painting?”

“Why, sweetheart,” she said, “I got your telegram. It said: no price too high.”

The telegraph operator had left out a comma.

Similar mistakes in communication occur a lot today. Text messages are nothing more than 21st-century telegrams. I encourage folks to refrain from texting when sharing vital information. Even with emojis, text messages can miss the nuance of information exchange. The non-verbal elements of the human voice, such as inflection and volume, are lost. What is meant as playful and enthusiastic by the sender can be interpreted as angry and sarcastic by the receiver.

There are advantages to text messages. Verbal conversations can become lengthy, and who enjoys receiving interminable voicemails from the person who dictates statements the length of a Jane Austen novel? But sometimes, a phone call or even a voicemail is preferable. They reduce the chance of being misunderstood, and the time spent talking can save time that would have been lost due to misunderstandings or even hurt feelings.

Yes, text, but when necessary, talk.