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6 Big Texting Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Right Now

6 Big Texting Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Right Now

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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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