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How The Talk To Text Feature Could’ve Ended My Friendship

Imagine that you start a friendship with someone. You feel eager to get to know them, and you text each other frequently. You and your new friend aren’t at the stage where you can jokingly tease each other yet. And then, when everything’s going well, you make an embarrassing text mistake and worry about how your friend will take it.

I know that feeling well because it happened to me. Ten years ago, my sibling brought a friend over, and the friend and I just clicked. We got along so well that we exchanged numbers and looked forward to becoming friends. I felt like I knew this person from the beginning, but there was so much I didn’t know about them, like how they would react to specific language. I didn’t yet know what they would find offensive and what they would laugh off.

My new friend quickly learned that because of my disability, I use “talk-to-text” to write and send messages, and they seemed to completely accept all aspects of my disability, which was wonderful. But a few months into our friendship, I accidentally put our bond to the test during a texting session. My friend asked me a question, and I wanted to respond with a “no.” I spoke the word “no” into my phone… but that’s not what my phone heard. The word “hoe” popped into my text instead, and as I panicked about changing the wording, I accidentally sent the message to my new friend! 

I immediately felt completely embarrassed about my texting mistake. “Talk-to-text” did me so dirty, and now, what would my friend think? Would they think that I was okay with casually calling them a “hoe?” Would they think I was being disrespectful? What if I completely ruined a promising friendship? In my mind, there was no way that this could possibly end well for us.

Another one of my friends, who knew that I was a respectful person with a disobedient phone, tried to calm me down. After laughing at my mistake, she mentioned that she thought everything would be fine. I didn’t completely believe it, but it made me feel better. Maybe my new friend would just find it funny?

Later, my new friend texted me back. I anxiously opened the message, scared of what they said.

“What did you call me?”

Oh no. My new friend would be upset. I texted them to explain the situation and tell them  about how awful my “talk-to-text” feature is sometimes. I told them that I wanted to type “no” ’but made a big mistake.

“It’s okay. You can call me whatever you want!” my friend replied.

It turns out my friend thought that the incident was funny and the “friendship-ending” mistake I made was no big deal. That day, I learned that this person was a true friend — they were able to trust me and handle mistakes with a sense of humor. 

10 years later, I’m still friends with this person, and we haven’t forgotten my texting mistake. We both embraced the incident and now, I (lovingly) call them a “hoe” all the time. My friend is my “number-one hoe” — no one else I’d rather go through life with. I love that my “number-one hoe” can laugh with me and turn mistakes into a bonding experience rather than let mishaps push them away.

True friends don’t care which technology you use to communicate, and they’ll stay by your side when your adaptive technology accidentally calls them names. The best friends will hear you out and give you the benefit of the doubt when you mess something up. Using “talk-to-text” has taught me many things, but I never thought that I’d learn that it’s a funny way to bond with a friend. The most important lesson? Whether you text manually or use “talk-to-text,” always check your texts before you send them

Photo by Jae Park on Unsplash

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