My husband is in the military and has been deployed a few times. Our main way of communicating during these deployments is through chats, facebook or skype mostly. Although the distance makes for less likelihood of a clash, we've had to hash out a few disagreements via chat. The discovery of chatfights has opened a whole new world. I've found chatfights to be effective for what they lack as much as for what they offer.
Here's What You Don't Get:
The angry face- chats offer the online equivalent of "I'm pretending you're invisible and I can't see you". Emoticons, you say? Oh please! See below.
The raising of the voice and/or sarcastic tone- chatting is like sticking your fingers in your ears and obnoxiously announcing "I can't hear you" in a sing song voice. A message in caps doesn't affect me as much as hearing you holler and if I can't hear your sarcastic tone when you reply ok and nothing more when I cheerfully announce that I'm going to get out some books and learn to frame up our attic while you are gone, so much the better for our marriage.
Rash statements- you have to actually think before you write (mostly).
Interrupting or ignoring the other party- you have to read what the other person wrote before you can respond so everyone gets their say.
What They Offer:
Emoticons- the replacements for our lack of facial expression, these beacons of emotion can lighten any mood or statement. Let's face it, even the angry emoticon where the face turns red then explodes in a boom is funny. Who can take it seriously? Also takes less energy than screaming and stamping your feet.
The Resolution- we typically resolve our disagreements when we chatfight because we think before we write and because we "hear" the other person through their written words. This can make us more responsive to the other person.
Of course it is still possible to be stubborn in your stance while chatting but I have found that chatting removes much of the drama associated with face to face arguing that tends to steer a disagreement toward escalation instead of resolution.
My bit of advice for marital bliss? Keep your clothes on, run to the nearest computer and have a chatfight.
Title inspired by episodes of iCarly, a recent staple of my diet.
Image from profy.com