One of the interesting things smartphones can do is show you when you're dominating a conversation.
This has actually helped visualize balance in casual conversations. Such as when a colleague asks, "Hey, how was your weekend?"
Now that example may seem obvious. But I think examining text patterns is even more useful for those I talk to most - where the balance is complex.
For instance, when I scrolled through days of texts with my girlfriend, I saw great fluctuation. Some days we alternated. Some days she had more to say, some days I did. And sometimes neither of us had much to say.
The point is, in our face-to-face conversations with those we hold closest, we experience this same ebb and flow, and I need to be as aware of it in real life as I am on my phone.
In those moments when we're reciprocating well, I should be careful not to go on too long about any one thing.
In those moments when she has quite a bit to say, I should be careful to give her room to talk but also signal to her that I'm listening and want her to continue.
In those moments when I have quite a bit to say, I should take small bites so I don't overwhelm her. (Knowing that if she wants me to keep talking, she'll let me know!)
And in moments when neither of us have much to say or are both too tired, that is alright. We can read books or take a walk or watch Netflix - rather than force a conversation.
I've found that visualizing our conversations this way helps me to identify what mode we're in at any given moment, and what role I could play to best serve our communication needs - listener, talker, one-who-leaves-her-alone.
In time, I hope to see all of these glowing clues in real life as well as I do on my phone.