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I'll start off with some context: I'm 19, and I've had problems keeping friendships for as long as I can remember. I have no problems making new friends (but it's a bit hard for me to relate to people). But right now I'm in a social situation where a lot of the interaction takes place on text or social media. My friends text each other for hours whereas I can't continue conversations on text for more than 10 minutes. I can't even keep in touch with really good friends who I don't see everyday. I don't want to lose their friendship due to lack of contact.

I'm in college right now and I can't make new friends with people who I'm not in the same class with because those kinds of relationships mainly develop over texting. So how can I get better at texting?

Edit 1: A bit more explanation: I keep seeing my friends text each other all the time but I've never understood what they talk about for so long. I know for sure that it's small talk. But how they manage that for hours is difficult for me to understand. Something specific I'd like to know is this: How do I turn small talk into a meaningful conversation without being too forceful?

  • This question, in its current state, is too broad. There are so many different ways of "getting better at texting". Give us some examples that would help us better understand your expectations from us. Are you asking for small talk topics? Are you asking about appropriate responses to specific questions to keep the conversation going? Are you asking how to begin a conversation at all? A little bit more details and some good example situations is definitely needed here. – Crazy Cucumber Mar 22 '18 at 15:15
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    Are your friends messaging each other in a group chat of some sort, or is it always one-to-one texting? – user8671 Mar 22 '18 at 15:25
  • @Kozaky it's one to one texting. – Caffeineguy152 Mar 22 '18 at 15:40
  • It's not a million different things, they're all related closely in my inability to text. a) Making new friendships and maintaining them requires me to text them regularly b) meaningful here means anything that's not about college or studying (I never said deep) c) My old friends like texting and think talking on the phone wastes too much time d) Again my new friends connect mainly over text after college hours – Caffeineguy152 Mar 22 '18 at 16:05
  • @Caffeineguy152 I hope it is not a million different things, this is why I said you should maybe read it again and clean it up so that your aim is clear – Raditz_35 Mar 22 '18 at 16:28
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First of all, you must understand the fact that text communication is very inefficient and everyone who uses it tends to exaggerate their emotions, feelings over their redaction. Also, they must make their ideas VERY clear in order to get their feelings and thoughts understood. So, text communication can be very energy consuming and it's normal for you to feel like you can't make a decent conversation, since probably you don't feel like you must tell everyone what you're thinking all the time.

It's also understandable if you want to join your friends, as we live in a world where these means of communication are broadly distributed and used by everyone. But remember, you are not forced to use them. If they aren't open to making some time to see you, they are probably not really interested in you; whereas if they make an effort to see you, you could put in some effort to text them.

If you wanna be pro in the use of modern text/chat means, and you find it very important to keep track of the conversation, you must use a lot of emojis and keep talking about random topics. That's all. If you run out of ideas ask them about their day, ask if they've seen the latest movies, if they've seen the most recent Oscar awards, etc.

If you want to practice your chat-master skills, you're welcomed to practice every day with me so you can get used to it.

In conclusion, be aware that texting lacks a lot of the normal social interaction elements, so you must make use of the text messaging tools to get your ideas clear. And don't get stressed, just talk about a lot of random topics until you feel comfortable talking with others through texting.

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    Not only is it inefficient, it's also not effective for more serious or meaningful topics. I find that texting keeps people from socializing in person. It's easy to edit or delete a text before sending it. – doctordonna Mar 23 '18 at 0:35
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I had this same problem years ago this is my experience. Texting is a way of communicating, at its base it is no different than any other method of communicating.

Rule 1 If you want the conversation to flow sometimes you have to work hard to move the conversation along. This means read your text before you send it and think, is this easy to respond to or does it shut the conversation down? If it shuts the conversation down then find something else to say or another way to say it.

Rule 2 Humor is the oil that greases most conversations. Sending a funny link, pic, meme, gif or comment is appropriate if you want to keep a conversation flowing but don't know what to say.

Having said all that you want to keep in mind to be a bit choosy over who you spend time with. Ask yourself do we have things in common? Will this turn into an actual friendship? If you have nothing in common then you will never turn your small talk into meaningful conversation.

As far as the act of reaching for more meaningful conversation look for ways to incorporate the types of things you want to talk about for example say you want to talk politics make a general comment about the latest story on the news. Specifically you could say "did you hear about..." if they want to talk about it then they will probably talk about it if they don't they will probably respond with a yes or no answer.

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Writing is a way to communicate without being interrupted.

That is is you want to do some serious talks with long messages, and I'm sure when things like that occur, you can manage for an hour or two, until the topic is done.

But for small talks, it's not that easy if you're not used to it, I can see why.

I guess you want to talk for hours with one person about anything and nothing at the same time, and you run out of topics fast.

If you run out of topics, make your correspondant initiate on another topic, you may at least have one thing to say about it.

If it's not a topic you're not comfortable with, don't answer right away, cheat with time, like a three minutes delay before answering.

And if it's a topic where you have a lot to say, don't unload it all in one single message, spread it to a minimum of five messages, with some indicators that you would like your correspondant to react to each message. And again, you don't have to answer right away, as your goal seems to be keeping yourself and the person on the conversation as long as possible.

Don't forget to end the conversation when it's time to sleep or something like that as well, halting on a topic to continue the next day is a good way to keep in touch.

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