The 18 Unwritten Rules of Texting You Should Know
Texting is practically the most common form of communication nowadays.
It also can be the best tool to use if you’d like to really, really annoy people.
Odds are, you don’t. So know how to text right with these tips!
1. Didn’t get a reply right away? It’s okay. Chill out.
Don’t keep texting until they respond. They’re probably busy. And if they’re not, maybe they just don’t feel like texting. Texting them over and over again is the perfect way to ensure that they won’t respond. Ever again.
2. Always respond.
That being said, don’t blow anyone off. Respond to someone’s text in a kind and reasonably-timed manner. (Unless the person is a stalker, in which case, please do not respond. I do so care about your safety here.)
3. Keep the other person’s schedule in mind.
Of course, you generally shouldn’t text a person at 4 in the morning unless it’s your BFF, and even then, your BFF may want to kill you. However, also keep in mind the schedule of the specific person you’re texting. Is your friend at work? Then don’t text him or her a million times in a row in the middle of the shift. Does your friend enjoy sleeping in on the weekends? Don’t text him or her at 8:30. Be nice.
4. Don’t text a novel…
This is one that I personally break all the time, but it just makes sense: if it’s taking you more than thirty seconds to text it, you probably just want to take care of it over the phone. Don’t make it more confusing than it has to be.
5. …however, don’t call in response to a text without asking.
Be kind to the introverts. If someone texted you, it means they didn’t want to talk on the phone. That might mean they’re busy, or they’re relaxing, but don’t call them in response. If you really think it would be something better covered via phone call, text them asking them first.
6. Generally, avoid sarcasm.
Unless the person knows you really well, sarcasm is best avoided via text. You can’t read the tone nearly as well, and you could end up getting into arguments or hurting someone’s feelings.
And nobody wants that!
7. Double-check your autocorrect.
Unless the correction is particularly hilarious, of course.
8. Double–no, triple–check who you’re sending it to.
If you’d like to lose your job quickly and with little effort, texting “hey sexy I miss you ;)” to your boss instead of your significant other is a great method.
9. If you’re running late, text the person.
It’s just good manners. Brownie points for including an ETA.
10. Respond proportionally.
If someone breaks rule number 4, don’t respond with just “k.” Unless you want to lose friends and alienate people. Or make them want to destroy their phone.
The same goes for the opposite case: if you’re composing novels to someone, and they’re texting you back with very short replies, take the hint.
11. If you wouldn’t talk to them about this issue in real life, don’t text it to them.
This can apply with so many different situations. Everyone knows not to use texts to break up, or to communicate grave injuries. But you also shouldn’t try to get really deep into conversation with an acquaintance / stranger. I recently had someone I barely know text me their life story, and it was more than a bit jarring.
12. Do. Not. Hashtag. In. Your. Text.
It’s something you can only do ironically. And even if you do that, you have to make it really obvious that it’s ironic, or else you’ll risk looking like an idiot.
13. Don’t use chatspeak. Just don’t.
dont 4get this rule, b/c u will lose s0 much credibility rofl
There are certain abbreviations that are generally accepted, but make sure you know the meaning of them. Don’t text someone “lol” when they’re going through a crisis, thinking it means “lots of love.”
14. DO NOT TYPE IN ALL CAPS!!!!!
DOESN’T IT SEEM LIKE I’M SHOUTING AT YOU?!?
If you are really angry to the point where you feel like shouting, it’s probably a conversation that should be saved for another medium.
(Note: the only exception to the past two rules is while you’re live-texting the Game of Thrones season finale to a friend, e.g. OMG I HATE YOU CERSEI STFU WHY DO YOU EXIST.)
15. Use the right texting laughter.
Here’s a quick guide to laughter via text.
Ha: use when you don’t really find something funny, and you want to make that fact obvious.
Haha: use when you don’t really find something funny, but you would like to be polite.
Hahaha: use when their text made you smile.
Hahahaha+: use when you sincerely laughed.
HAHA+: one of the few exceptions to the no-caps rule. Use when you find something hysterical.
Lol: Use when you want the sincerity of your laughter to be a mystery. Did you really laugh out loud? Nobody knows! You’re so mysterious!
16. Don’t bury your face in your phone when you’re hanging out with someone.
Okay, let me preface this by saying that with some people, it’s cool if you text. I have a group of friends who are always responding to texts when we’re together, and we’re okay with it, because we hang out all the time.
But if you don’t know how the other person feels about texting etiquette, or you don’t know the person well, just don’t do it. It’s rude and it gives the impression that you don’t particularly care about the other person’s presence.
Another exception: if there’s something really pressing, like, I don’t know, your sister is expected to go into labor any day now, inform your company that you may be checking your phone every so often.
17. Don’t text while walking.
You might walk into a large parked van in front of a crowd of strangers. I may or may not be speaking from personal experience.
18. Above all: do not text while driving.
This is the biggest rule. Please. Please please, don’t do it.
Have any rules to add? Comment and let us know!
Featured photo credit: Henry Lockyer (AbsolutelyClever) via flickr.com
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