Human beings communicate through words, facial expressions, sounds and body language. Without paying attention to all these factors of communication, interactions can be confusing. The misunderstandings are even more possible when people are communicating through text messages, where it’s just words being exchanged. In this case, there’s no sound, expressions or body language to back up the message. So how can you read the other person’s emotions?
Assume good intentions
Text messaging is a generally brief mode of communication. The person receiving the message has very little information to work with. Of course, a smiley face can help express positive emotions, but messages do not always take advantage of these emotion-indicators. The first thing that you need to do in order to read emotions from text messages is to assume that the texter has good intentions. If someone has sent a message saying ‘I’m Angry’, that doesn’t mean that they are angry. Getting into this good-intentions mindset will help you avoid a lot of misunderstandings and unnecessary arguments.
People do not see emotions the same ways. Different people will interpret the same set of information in different ways based on their own experiences. That means that unconscious bias affects our ability to interpret emotions. So have in mind that the emotions you detect might be reflective of things about you, or as much the information contained in the next.
Find emotional undertones
The words we use to communicate often contain emotional undertones. For instance, when someone says that they love some place, we can easily conclude that they are showing positive emotions. If a text message reads ‘I hate this house’, then that seems like pretty negative emotions. But if a text message contains both negative and positive indicators, you have to analyze each word and weigh how negative or positive it is.
Don’t make assumptions
One of the main mistakes that people make while reading text messages is making assumptions. They assume that they already know how the other person feels, while this is entirely not the case. The nature of text messages means that we are pretty much missing handy information – things like gestures and tonal variation that would otherwise help make more sense of the message. Before you make conclusions, always analyze yourself to see whether you’re making assumptions based on your own experiences, or based on the context the texter is in.
Seek out more info
If the four tips above still do not suffice to help you read emotions from text messages, seek out more info. Rather than jumping to conclusions, think about what the texter would say if you gave them the chance to tell more. The point here is that you need to avoid guessing, and that means asking questions. Detecting emotions is an art that needs to be cultivated.
If you’re always making conclusions while reading text messages from others, this article gives you a few reasons why that shouldn’t be the case. Get into the habit of dwelling on the context of the message, interpreting undertones and trying to figure out what context the other person was in while sending the message.