Actual phone calls are being made less and less with every day, and mostly in cases where there is a truly intimate connection or an emergency. Instead, texting has taken over. Everyone, from young to old, is using texting as their main means of communication, whether it is via SMS, Facebook or Whatsapp, using either their phones or a version of the app on their computer.
Even though it is a cool and easy way to reach someone, people still have problems grasping the unwritten rules and manners of texting. The worst thing about this is that they do not see what they are doing wrong. So, in order to help you become better at texting and improve your social life, let’s look at some of the biggest mistakes you might be making, and how to avoid them.
1. Waiting for too long between texts
Be a good person and respond swiftly. Someone actually took time to write you a text, so be a sport and respond to it. But, what is the appropriate response time?
You do not have to do it the same second, but don’t wait for hours or days either. If you did this, it would be equivalent to you talking with someone in person and suddenly turning your back and ignoring them, pretending not to hear them. If a certain rhythm has been established don’t just cut off communication without excusing yourself, e.g. “I have to go run a few errands around town, we’ll talk more tonight” or “Be back in 10-20min, just have to finish something real quick”.
If you are not convinced yet, ask yourself if you would like this to happen to you. The answer is probably “no”, right? So, man up and write back.
2. Writing essays in response to 2-3 word texts
OK, Dostoyevsky, calm down! It’s a text, not a novel.
If your friend asked you to go for coffee, just answer yes or no, and maybe agree on the details in case you are meeting. If you can’t do it, there is no need to give a detailed explanation on why you can’t. Answering every 3 word text from a guy or girl you’re pursuing with 4-5 lines just screams “needy and desperate to please”. No one wants to read your essay. It’s all about symmetry here. If you receive a long text, then the response should be long, too. If the text is short, then short answer. It is as simple as that.
Oh, and one more thing, “K” is not an acceptable answer in any situation.
3. Overuse or underuse of emojis
If you are an adult, try to act like it. Your texting buddies know you, so no reason to mellow down the messages with a smiley face. Unfortunately, it seems as though messages without a smiley are perceived as angry or dead-serious. This begs the question: when did emojis become the norm in the texting world?
Unless you are a teenager, too many emojis in a single message is unacceptable. Nevertheless, not using them at all is bad, too. So, finding a perfect balance is the key. If you are texting your best friend, and you are having a fun conversation, then feel free to add bunch of emojis and stickers.
However, if the message is between you and a casual acquaintance, business associate or is of a rather serious tone, then cut short on the emojis. If a partner, or potential partner, ends each message with a smiley face and you fail to do so, it’s like you’re giving them the cold shoulder.
Emoticons have become rather emotionless and useless, to be honest. They lack any real meaning in most contexts and are there for decorative purposes only, but they are an important decoration at times, nonetheless.
4. Not giving the other person time to answer back
You sent the text. Now wait. Do not keep texting. Spamming someone will not get them to reply. In fact, it might make them ignore you forever. Burying someone in unwanted messages is the worst thing you could do. And more importantly, do not call in case you don’t get a prompt reply. Not only is it rude, but it is a little bit obsessive, as well. Just send the message and chill.
5. Not knowing when to naturally end the conversation
Texting is like writing an essay. There is an introduction, the body and the closing paragraph. Therefore, keep this in mind when communicating with someone through messages. You should know what to say and how to say it. Furthermore, be aware of the signals from the other person. If they are slowly fading into the end of the conversation, follow them. This is how you can sign out in a natural way. If the text from the other end start getting shorter and lacking in enthusiasm, you’ll know it’s time to wrap things up.
Abruptly ending a conversation is, first of all, rude. Yes, you might be busy and have no time to talk, but it can also look like you are not interested in the conversation. If this is the case, then why did you start it/reply in the first place? Know your limits.
6. Writing something that can be interpreted the wrong way
So, there are certain rules for the texting language. First of all, know your abbreviations. BRB, LOL, TBH, and many others, have their specific meanings. They are not some random letters for you to occasionally throw into a text. Also, keep up with the popular sayings. If you are not familiar with them, avoid using them.
Unfortunately, some older people do not understand this and that is why we have so many cases of funny mom and dad texts. And lastly, avoid sarcasm. It can often be misinterpreted in person, let alone in a short text where no one can see your face or hear the tone of your voice. You could start a fight for no reason at all.
In conclusion: texting is not easy. There are many rules to follow and a whole new language to learn. You could say that it is an important skill, one everyone needs to master. And if you don’t have the time and patience for it, then play it safe and stick to regular conversations.