What is fexting?

Believe it or not, fexting has been around as long as, well, texting, so it is not a new concept at all. Many people, including the aforementioned President and First Lady, use it—whether intentionally, in their case, or unintentionally—to argue. From what we can tell from Dr. Jill Biden’s Harper’s Bazaar interview, it sounds like she and President Biden have fexting down to a science. If done right, fexting can be beneficial for individuals and couples alike, but be aware that it also has its downfalls. Whether it will work as well for you as it does for the Bidens is TBD, so consider the pros and the cons we are outlining next before trying it for yourself.


Fexting gives each individual more time to process their emotions

One of the main benefits of fexting is that you have much more time to process what is being said and how you are feeling. Since there is no pressure to respond right away like there usually is in person or even on a phone call, each person is able to really consider their own feelings, and alternatively, the feelings and point of view of the other person. This can lead to more effective, honest communication in many types of fights.


Fexting helps you avoid saying things you might regret later

Sometimes, an argument can get so heated that we put our guard up and act on defense (been there). When this happens, it can be difficult to slow down and really consider what we are saying to the other person. Through a text message, you have to physically type out what you really want to say and you have the opportunity to review it and delete it. In the wise words of Dorinda Medley from The Real Housewives of New York City, “Say It, Forget It. Write It, Regret It.”

A lack of tone and body language can make it difficult to understand one another

Body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice are three things that play a huge role in communication, and we can’t rely on them at all when texting. We are unable to tell if things were said with good intentions or not because we can’t hear the tone of voice, and similarly, we can’t tell if someone is getting really upset or angry because we can’t see their face. This can lead to a more heated or hurtful argument when, of course, we don’t intend it to be that way if we care for someone.

Fexting can lead to misunderstanding and miscommunication

We can try to be as careful and clear as possible when fexting, but at the end of the day, misunderstanding a text is something we have all done. In face-to-face conversations, we can more clearly articulate what we are saying and we are more likely to ask clarifying questions if we don’t understand what someone means.

Set aside specific time to talk through issues

Instead of firing a text message at your partner in the middle of the day that catches them off guard, propose a time to talk. I know the dreaded “we have to talk” text is nerve-wracking and stress-inducing for anyone to send or receive, but setting aside time to talk about whatever is going on can help you both give your full attention to one another to problem-solve.


Try therapy

If you and your partner, family member, or close friend have tried multiple methods to manage and avoid conflict on your own, including fexting, and you are still struggling to understand one another, try therapy—individually or together. Talking to a licensed professional can help each person learn new communication skills, see different perspectives, practice new tools for problem solving. and learn how to argue in a healthy way.


Agree to disagree

It’s important to remember that you won’t always agree on everything with everyone, and there is not always a right and wrong. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s best to drop whatever the issue is and agree to disagree. 

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