Conventional wisdom says to have important conversations with your S.O. face-to-face to avoid miscommunication. But sometimes, having to respond to everything instantaneously can keep you from responding thoughtfully—and this can actually make communication with your partner more prone to misunderstandings. So here are a few conversations that you officially have permission to hold over text message.
1. Defining the relationship It can be difficult to voice where you’d like a relationship to go in person, and texting can embolden you to ask for what you want, says dating coach Lori Salkin. Plus, if you don’t get the answer you were hoping for, texting gives you the time to gather yourself and process the letdown.
2. Talking about your past Discussing your past relationships with your S.O. can get awkward, and written communication gives you time to consider what information you do and don’t want to share…without feeling pressure to spill anything you’re not comfortable with. “Not only does texting give you another minute or two to decide what the ‘right’ answer is, it also saves you if you have a terrible poker face,” says Salkin.
3. Addressing conflicts Texting gives you the chance to really think about what you want to say (and who hasn’t said something cringe-worthy in the heat of the moment that they later regretted?). While in-person communication may let you read each other’s body language, that can sometimes leave more room for misinterpretation.
“When you want to avoid confrontation but need to address an issue and don’t want to make a fight out of it, using text to mention it yet also minimize it is helpful,” says Salkin. For example, if you really don’t want to meet up with your S.O.’s family one night, you can just say “I’m so sorry, send your mom my best!” rather than getting into an argument about how involved they are in your life.
Ultimately, whether you have a conversation via text, in person, or on the phone depends on how you and your partner best communicate, which is different for every couple. But keep in mind that having important conversations over text isn’t always a bad idea.