Seven Texter Types

I’ve noticed a pattern with my friends’ texts. Maybe you’ve noticed these little texting habits, too. Here are seven types of texters:

Wanda the Winker 😉 My friend Wanda winks all the time. She winks in FB comments and blog comments. She winks in text conversations with me just as often. Winks are her thing, but she doesn’t wink when we’re face to face. Basically, Wanda has found a humorous and affectionate way to say, “I have it under control.” Folks who like to use winks often like to be seen as confident, got-it-together people. Text winkers need to surround themselves with people who rely on them and confide in them.

If you have a winker friend, there are some great ways to feed their need. First, let them know how much their efforts mean to you. Let them know what they do for you doesn’t go unnoticed. Praise their skills and assistance—appreciate them in the context of what they do. Second, give them opportunities to be there for you. If you find it hard to lean on others, you don’t have to step out of your comfort zone with Wanda. She will be just as happy to give you emotional support as she would be to get all up in your business.

Warning: Winkers can be pushy and try to advise you on things you don’t want to be advised on; but if you give them good boundaries, they will generally appreciate you for giving them guidelines they can clearly work within to strength your relationship.

Exclamatory Lori White Exclamation Mark on Facebook 3.1 Exclamation marks after every sentence? Wow! Fun! Folks who like to use exclamation marks like to be seen as upbeat and positive. They prefer to keep their problems to themselves, keeping folks at arms distance when they are struggling. Loris exude lots of joy and good vibes. That’s her specialty, so let her work her magic.

If you are good friends with a Lori texter, you will know when she’s faking her excitement and having a hard time. The best way you can help her out is not to let on. Lori texters like to work through the hard times with very few questions. Don’t prod them about their problems; they’ll confide when they’re ready. (And it will probably not be through texts.) So, be the patient friend who checks in without pressuring her to confide. Keep it on the surface; send funny memes to let her know you’re thinking of her while she’s working through things.

Warning – A Lori texter is easy to lose when the hard times come for her. She will push you away, and, later, be upset with you for not being there for her.

Too-Busy Bella 🤪 This type of texter is best explained by the character Patricia Heaton plays on Moms’ Night Out, when she tries to send instructions to her daughter and ends up telling her to eat some “Chicken Poodle Poop.” Autocorrect is not Bella’s friend, and she tends to write a bunch of these nonsense texts. It’s not because she’s technologically challenged; rather, she’s in a hurry and doesn’t find it worth her time to review the message before she sends it. Bellas love to be busy and look busy and breathe busy. They might not know how to tell you what they need by text, but they’re not shy. They’ll crank out a few more nonsense phrases so you can use them as a cipher to solve the mystery of your Bella’s situation.

Bellas like helpers. If you want a little crazy in your life, and don’t mind dropping everything for a Bella, these friends can be fun and spontaneous. They tend to leap from idea to idea, which doesn’t make them the best conversationalists. While you may never feel a close rapport with Bella texters, the nice thing about them is hard feelings will often dissipate quickly. Most Bella texters don’t have time for grudges. Texting with them will be brief and probably humorous. They try to be supportive and tend to pick up where they left off in relationships.

Warning: Your Bella’s “getter done” mentality can lead you into filling in her blanks and completing her half-started jobs. Don’t let this texter rope you into a fulltime position of working for her. She runs many businesses, and you might find it hard to live your life and run her errands.

Smiley, Heart, Heart Hannah 😍 Hannah texters use a ton of emoticons in their texts. Most of these texters just like the variety, but some of them really find it difficult to say all the things they want to say. So, you’ll get an animated sticker instead!

The best way to communicate with a Hannah texter is to send her love, lots of love. Respond with emojis, and she will understand you just fine.

Warning: If a Smiley, Heart, Heart Hannah is upset with you, her emojis will show it. She will send little faces at intervals—some sad, some funny—after you’ve left off texting for a while. She’s letting you know she’s still feeling her sad feelings, and she doesn’t like that at all.

Vampire Violet Syringe on Mozilla Firefox OS 2.5 Unless this texter is young, she isn’t much fun. Violets will text you with questions like, “What are you doing?” Or they might not try at all and just type, “Hey.” Adults who send these texts are expecting you to carry the conversation; and, chances are, you are not dealing with an emotionally mature individual. These texters need a source—a source of amusement, mainly. When they chose you as a source, you need to know what your text response does to them. Every time you respond, dopamine shoots through Vampire Violet’s system. She gets a little high from the attention. It has nothing to do with what you text back, it has to do with her need to feel better about herself. Violet texters are not usually aware of what’s going on. From their point of view, they are keeping in touch with their friends.

For Violets who are not the unhealthy, needy sort—think friends with mental disabilities and kids—responding to their texts can bring a ton of good feeling. Just be sure not to enable your friend when her texts are coming in All. The. Time. Instead of texting, send her a card. That way you are showing her you care without feeding her addiction.

Warning: Vampire Violets feed insatiably on crises. They will create one if they think it will benefit their need.

Last-word Lucy Thumbs Up on Apple iOS 12.2 Don’t you love that texter who cannot leave that goodbye text alone? She must add another heart or respond with one last thumbs-up. Last-word Lucy is not trying to be controlling. Lucys are highly sensitive friends who take their job of communicating very seriously. Last-word Lucy thrives on knowing she “gets” you, and her goal is to show you that you’re worth her time. Your friendship means so much to this texter, and she wants to be sure to show you by approving every text, carefully and conscientiously. Lucy texters want to be seen as the givers, and they enjoy the feeling of knowing they’ve given all they can give. (This is a dreadful match with a Vampire Violet because there is no end to the giving, and it ruins Last-word Lucy’s perception of herself.) Lucys will expend great amounts of energy on the soul who won’t squander or belittle their talent to care.

The best thing you can do for these texting friends is keep connected. Sprinkle them with honest, affirming thoughts you are thinking about them throughout the week and your friendship will bloom and thrive. The hardest thing for a Lucy is when there’s a conversation dry spell. They can need a spill-your-guts fest to know they are caring about you properly after a dry spell occurs.

Warning: Last-word Lucys can feel neglected easily and will get offended without telling you. If she complains about always having to initiate the conversation, she’s telling you she needs you to give more than you are giving. It’s up to you to decide how much you are willing to give.

And last, there is

Novel Nelly Scroll on Mozilla Firefox OS 2.5We all have that friend who can’t text without giving you a lengthy explanation. If you don’t have a Nelly in your life, we need to be texting buddies because I’m a Nelly texter. Nelly texters need to be understood and feel listened to. Their long-winded spiels are not meant to exasperate you; this is how they say, “I’ve thought about this, and here is what I’ve concluded.” Novel Nellys like to be seen as informative and helpful.

The best thing you can do for a Novel Nelly is make it clear you understand by repeating her thoughts in your own words. Assure her by letting her know you appreciate her thoughtfulness and research. Nellys tend to apologize for their novels, so tell her when you thought the essay actually benefited you.

Warning: Nelly texters are extremely analytical and critical. They tend to read things into others’ texts that probably aren’t there at all. (They might even come up with a whole blog post about the way their friends text.)

So, now you have seven texting sorts you’ve probably met in your e-communication travels. Leave a line if you’ve thought of another!

First-World Contemplations – Don’t Buy the T-shirt

This is purely an opinion piece, exactly like all my other posts, and I want you to feel free to agree with me. Let’s talk t-shirts and how buying t-shirts can’t change our lives. In fact, I think buying a t-shirt can be a grave mistake. For example, one sad purchase would be the dated t-shirt. Another one is the t-shirt for an obscure event, especially if that event never happens again. If that event is a once-in-a-lifetime deal that no one’s really heard of, then take a picture of yourself experiencing that moment. No t-shirt necessary. A dated t-shirt is a little different. There might be sentimental value involved, and in such a case, you might consider how you can reclaim the material at the end of the year—and it should be in a way you will truly use. Like, a t-shirt bag is great and all, but we have reusable bags being handed out for free at every function. Is it worth the time and effort to remake a t-shirt into a bag?

We have all fallen for the myth that we are going to wear those t-shirts again. This is only true for a select few that get the honor of being worn to shreds by our brothers, sons, and husbands. As both a thrift store shopper and a donation sorter, I can assure you most households toss stacks and stacks of those custom-made, event t-shirts every year. The thrift stores, in turn, redirect those t-shirts and find other uses for them because they are donated in droves, and they do not sell. Nobody wants to sport the baby blue shirt with the “Haversham’s All-Stars 2013” on the front, and “Go HAS!” on the back.

What happens to these lonely, unwanted t-shirts? Maybe the story should be told by a movie, “T-shirt Story,” where a t-shirt with a cowboy hat and lasso gets jealous of a spaceman t-shirt. Cowboy t-shirt gets spaceman t-shirt thrown out of the house when the owners aren’t looking. Then, in an exciting twist of events, cowboy t-shirt decides to rescue spaceman t-shirt from a horrible t-shirt torturer. Maybe there could be a couple of sequels. Nyah. This story’s going to end up making me cry; I can feel it.

Seriously, lonely t-shirts are sent to nursing homes, where they are used to cover nicer shirts or they are cut up into bibs. They are also made into fat quarters for the quilters who don’t mind working with knit. Some people cut t-shirts into strips and make rag rugs. Those people are not me; but if you have the skill, I think you should go for it. For those of you into “family cloth,” have you considered the potential of these one-day event t-shirts, languishing and forgotten in your child’s drawer? Please think about that. I won’t. It makes me gag, but that’s just me.

How do I reuse old t-shirts? I use them to clean wood and as paint cloths. I also annoy toddlers with them by telling them they can’t paint unless they put a huge, man-size one over their clothes, and they hate me for it. Just so you know I’ve tried, I’ve made the t-shirt bags, too. My daughter made one that came out halfway decent. It was very small, so I stole it to hold my hairdryer. Her hairdryer is now naked and self-conscious. No worries; my daughter is still talking to me.

It isn’t that one-day-event t-shirts aren’t great, it’s that we are buying and donating an abundance of them. I’ve contemplated tallying up how much is spent on t-shirts by the average four-person family. How many sports team, club, work, church, and camp t-shirts do we consume in a year… and can t-shirts be cooked in a way that will make them nutritional? After thinking about the expense of t-shirts, I think it would be fun for budget-savvy families to start a “no-buy t-shirt” savings account. For every t-shirt they probably would have bought, they should put that money in savings. If every member of the family usually bought two t-shirts a year per person at an average price of $12.99 each, a four-person family would save… Wait. I’m not good at math. They would save money. And if families decided to use that money to help someone, they could tell people who were pressuring them to buy the t-shirt that they had committed the money they usually use to pay for t-shirts to a cause that is personally important to them.

What about the free t-shirts at events? Well, someone is paying for them, even if you get them for free. And I can’t help but wonder what would happen if event organizers considered that money as a donation for a cause instead of buying t-shirts with it. Like, instead of including a t-shirt in the registration fee, why not charge the same registration fee, figure out how much it would have cost to print those t-shirts, and advertise that “in lieu of t-shirts this year, a portion of your registration goes to such-and-such charity”? It’s trendy for birthdays, right? Basically, you get to not bring home another t-shirt for the same price that you get to help both a charity and help the overrun-with-t-shirts thrift store.

Together, I think we just might save the world… one less t-shirt at a time.

The Treaty with Edie

Rilla sorts out writer-ish things with Edie, her rather critical inner editor.

Rilla: Okay, Edie. We’ve been working together for some time, and I think you need to understand something I’ve figured out about me—us.

Edie: And that is…

Rilla: I write for the joy of it. I truly believe we’re not seeing eye-to-eye on this, and I need you to get onboard so I can finish The Zorce Collection.

Edie: Meaning, you want me to stop being honest? You’d rather I didn’t tell you the uninteresting, unpolished, unprintable things you write are trash and need to be burned?

Rilla: Yeah. Pretty much.

Edie: I can do that. In fact, I have no problem letting you wallow in the mire of your own dumb compositions.

Rilla: Now Edie, you’re a good editor. You’ve saved me from a lot of mistakes, I grant you–

Edie: And this is the gratitude I receive for being there for you at all hours? All hours! Because you know I wake you in the middle of the night so you can know about that typo in the comment you posted yesterday! Who else would be as concerned about your image? Protecting you has been my top priority for over thirty years now, and all you can say is, ‘You’re a good editor, Edie, now shut it’? I see how it is.

Rilla: That’s not what I said, Edie. Nobody’s doubting your loyalty here. I don’t want you to quit; I just want you to look at our work as a personal reflection rather than a marketable product.

Edie: ‘Our work.’ Thank you; I appreciate that. So, you’re saying the trilogy you’ve been wrestling with for years is now a personal reflection? You’re going to spend—who knows how many—years to complete three books, and then you want to stick it in your little diary and call it a day?

Rilla: Yes. That is exactly what I mean.

Edie: (jaw-drop) What a waste of your life! Why would you want to do that?

Rilla: It’s simple. I need the freedom to write what I want to write without thinking of who’s going to look at it and what it’s going to make them think. We did that last time, remember? Where did it get us?

Edie: (nodding) I see your point. We’ve been trying to peg this story down for almost a decade.

Rilla: Ugh. Don’t say that.

Edie: Well, it’s true. But, I will admit, you’ve been able to eke out a few good stories, even while you were blocked.

Rilla: Thank you. So, what do you think? If we work on The Zorce Collection as a reflection of our life rather than a product, how would that change the approach?

Edie: Well, obviously, I wouldn’t have to stop you mid-scene to ask if the scene itself is really necessary.

Rilla: Yes.

Edie: The dialogue could be as long as you want it. The word count wouldn’t matter.

Rilla: Yes.

Edie: Ooo, here’s a big one: I wouldn’t have to alert you every time you divulge something that hints at your own painful experiences.

Rilla: Bingo, Edie. That’s the one that’s holding us back.

Edie: So, are you calling this a memoir now?

Rilla: Absolutely not! This is Casey and Ivan’s story. They need to be able to speak, and they can say what they need to say much better if they don’t have a self-conscious author in the mix second-guessing and censoring herself.

Edie: I see.

Rilla: What do you think? Can we give this a go?

Edie: You know how I despise that long-winded garble you call your style. Will I have to wade through that again? I refuse to work with you unless I can still rip apart the scenes that don’t speak the way I think they should.

Rilla: I’ll make you a deal; if you’ll give me time to get the scenes out on paper, I’ll take you page-by-page, through the section when we’ve finished. You can clean it up to your heart’s content.

Edie: It has to be crisp. You know that’s very important to me. Clean and crisp.

Rilla: Well?

Edie: I’m willing to try it. Anything to get this monstrosity out of our head.

Rilla: Thank you, Edie.

Edie: And when we’re done, who knows? Maybe you’ll want to publish it anyway, and…

Rilla: No. Edie.

Edie: I don’t see why. Can’t you just think about that an itsy-bitsy bit?

Rilla: No. We write The Zorce Collection, and it’s done. That will free us to work on (whispers name of fully-written children’s story draft).

Edie: Ah. Yes, that’s been dangling there for some time.

Rilla: Are we agreed?

Edie: We never agree, but I will concede with this one set of stories–which is all I’m giving you!

Rilla: Good enough.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Trips to the ‘Fridge

My family has a Christmas tradition of using men’s tube socks as stockings. Realm’s family does not, and he finds it disgusting. I do understand his disinclination to put candy into something that actual men’s gnarled feet can fit into, but I do not understand the virtue of using those awkward, red objects that look like baby elephant booties. I’ve assured him I have no intention of using already-worn socks. I’ve tried to cajole him by pointing out the socks can be washed and worn after the goodies are dumped out (including the apples and oranges, which look so funny in the tube socks). My utilitarian pleas hold no sway. He just can’t handle my tradition.

I, too, have trouble with certain traditions. For example, I cannot physically sit through those Christmas claymation movies. They were even dull when I watched them as a kid! There were no streaming videos then, so I had an excuse. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have to make a movie like that. Or to tell someone, “I spent this many hours moving a ball of clay two hundred centimeters today.” Now that’s a nightmare before Christmas.

The one tradition I hope will continue is the family picture card. I love getting family pictures! I put them on my refrigerator door and look at them all year round. They make me smile. And it doesn’t matter if Gerard has his eyes closed and darling Evangeline is picking her nose. So what if Lilly has her tongue hanging out? It’s natural. It’s real. It’s having loved ones waiting right there at the door when you reach for the milk.

rilla2016

For you, may the season be festive and fun;
And the New Year, may it be a happy one!

Bubble Trouble

Do you writers ever find yourself stymied by having to do things just so to get the creativity flowing? The ritual must be performed, or you end up not writing at all? My desk has this powerful, just so aura around it. (I posted a tribute of sorts to my desk in all its unsorted glory called Desktopsy.) My characters surge to the forefront of my antsy brain when I sit down in my cushy desk chair. (I wrote about my chair, too. Twice. I’m beginning to see a pattern in my blog topic choices.) When I take my place in front of my desk, I enter the word crafter’s bubble, invisible to the naked eye… and probably to the clothed eye, as well.

The boundaries of this bubble must not be breached for any reason. If the house is on fire, save yourselves! My mind is afire and must not be interrupted! For this reason I’m thinking of wearing pajamas every time I write. Just in case. They are all made of flame-retardant material now, which might come in handy. (It sure doesn’t do a bit of good for sleeping. My kids have not combusted yet, fortunately, but they do wake up sweaty and smelly in their flame-retardant jammies.)

Rituals are good and all, but this desk dependence needs adjusting. I want to take my bubble with me. It should be the slave of my quill, not the master. So, my friends, I’ve done the impossible. I am, presently, not writing at my desk. I’m writing in bed. Yes, I’m onto something here. I’m on my bed. (Ugh.) You see, I knew I’d have to spoil myself to make any true change. My Pandora RillaWriter station is playing through my ear buds, and it’s time to immerse myself in the enchanted world of King Draill and Lady Esda. I’ll let you know how it goes.

P.S. My deepest sympathies go out to all of the flame-retardant-jammied children. My legs are already feeling moist in these sticky pajama pants. 😦

Clash of Priorities

I’m not a writer. I only play one on my blog. How’s that? Well, really, who has time to write and play Clash of Clans?

By Kolele22 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Seriously? Rilla plays Clash of Clans? Yes. Yes, I do. And I don’t even like video games.

It all started a couple of months ago, when my son, Magne*, said, “I wish you’d play Clash of Clans with me, Mom.”

I thought, “Aw. He wants me to play a video game with him.” Yeah, I thought I would be playing with him. Silly me.

So, here I am, sitting between my husband and son on the couch, saying, “I think I can get three stars on eight, but seven is iffy. If you give me hog riders, I can get at least one star on seven.”

“What if I give you a dragon?” Realm asks.

“Hey, give me a dragon! I need it to take down five!” Magne tells him.

We have pow-wows going into a clan war. When we’re neck and neck with the enemy clan, I get serious.

“Mom, it’s okay. It’s just a game,” my son reminds me.

“I know, I know,” I say, but I sneak out of the room to text a friend of mine whose son is in our clan.

“Can you tell Battlegade we need him to attack?”

She has no idea what I’m talking about. She thinks I’m asking if her son can come over to actually play. Who ever heard of that?

On the way home from our vacation, we had two hours to go before our clan war ended.

“Okay, they’ve got two players who each have one battle left,” I say, looking over our opponent clan’s scores. “They could still get more stars and win if we don’t get more players to participate.”

So, I look up a friend through Facebook. I message her, “Can your son, who’s in our clan, can get on and attack number six?” Then I write, ‘See you at church services tomorrow!”

She writes back, “Now or tomorrow?”

I tried to explain myself, but there is no explanation for the social disaster I’ve become.

I have no shame.

I dream of millions in my gold storage. That way I can upgrade my town hall. I’m so close to a dark elixir barracks that I can almost smell it. And it probably stinks.

*Pronounced “mane.”

Rilla Scriptzilla

“Bing Crosby Gary Crosby 1951” by CBS (eBay item photo front publicity release) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In the past two years, I’ve become more acquainted with scriptwriting. This is odd because I’ve never though of myself as a scriptwriter. Scriptwriting requires me to utilize crisp segues to get to the point, which I think I have a knack for. It also challenges me to write out my vision of what is happening. I don’t get to practice this type of descriptive writing enough—oh, I write action, but not action this mapped out. So, tackling the tricks of the script is a fun exercise for me.

But there is another aspect to writing a script that I can’t get used to: the actors. These are people who don’t want to do things the way the script is written. Ever. I go from scriptwriter to patcher-upper, working to bring the actor-revised script back around to its point, the punchline of the joke or the principle message.

I’d prefer to write the script, turn it in, and watch the result without having any part in the massacre that takes place in the middle. I’d rather view the aftermath, saying, “Wow, nothing I wrote was used except that joke in Scene Two. And it wasn’t funny because it was set up all wrong.” Then I might cringe while my name rolled through the credits and be done with it.

“Stumme Coronation of Mary jpg” by Creator:Absolon Stumme (imgc.artprintimages.com) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
You see, scripts are a temptation to the control-prone writer, which I happen to be. When a writer works out the specifics of every movement and word of an actor, it can have one waxing a tad dictatorial. I want complete control. There, I said it! I want everything to go exactly as I see it in my mind. Well, sometimes I let things go when I see it played out and realize it doesn’t work as smoothly as it did in my head. I’m okay with changing that. You know me, I’m generous that way.

When I was young, my cousins and I would put on skits at family gatherings. I was in charge of these skits. Every year my cousins would revolt against my direction. Oh, all right, my tyranny. I shouted. I threatened. I hovered. It’s true.

Every year I became more and more convinced that I was not going to do another skit the next year. I tried letting a cousin direct it one year, saying, “You do the skit. No, do it this way.”

Obviously, that didn’t work.

I tried, “Oh, you guys should definitely do a skit! I think I’ll watch this year.”

That came off like I was sulking or something. I wasn’t. I just knew I’d take over and be hated for the rest of that visit. I could never seem to help myself.

Then came the skit-less years. No one understood why I didn’t head up those fun skits anymore. One cousin in particular, who’d been captain of the skit mutiny every year, came to me and asked, “Why don’t you put together our skits anymore? I miss it.”

I laughed good-naturedly and said, “Because you were always mad at me for being so bossy.”

She crinkled her nose and smiled.

“And I am bossy,” I admitted. “I wish I weren’t, but it just comes over me.”

I don’t mean to be bossy. I really don’t. To be honest, becoming a mother confused me a great deal because, suddenly, I was completely within my rights to take charge. It was necessary. Someone needed to direct and instruct those crazy kids. Could that somebody actually be me? Yes! I was perfect for the part! And I have gotten, far and away, my fill of being in charge as a mom.

So, all that to say, I need to learn to loosen my choleric grip as a scriptwriter. And I can do it. I can let go. Just don’t overhaul the whole script on me, okay?