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Getting Textual: The Unwritten Rules of Texting You Should Know

Getting Textual: The Unwritten Rules of Texting You Should Know

Texting is something that is here to stay. It doesn’t matter if you’re using Whatsapp, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, or good old fashioned text messaging because they all rely on the same premise–conducting conversations with text over a messaging service. Unlike calling or emailing, texting has its own set of rules that you should follow to have the most effective conversations.

Keep it short

The Unwritten Rules of Texting You Should Know

    In the standard text format, a single message can be between 140-160 characters. Sometimes you run a little long and you have to send multiple texts. However, if you find that you’re texting so much that it turns into a multimedia message then you should probably just call or email the other person. Texts are short communiques designed to relay details quickly. They’re not meant to be novellas.

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    Don’t flutter-text

    Flutter texting is a somewhat new term that describes the practice of sending a text at the end of every sentence. This may not seem so bad, until you have someone sending you five or six sentences. That’s five or six texts that come floating in. This causes phones to vibrate and shoot off the ringtone a bunch of times. It’s highly obnoxious. You should put the whole message in a single text because people may not appreciate their phone going off that many times all at once.

    Text to confirm plans but not to cancel

    When you confirm a plan, people are expecting you to get a hold of them so they are more likely to be paying attention to when they get a message. On the other hand, if you decide to cancel, they may be on their way to the event or be setting up. That means they’re not paying attention to their texts. Cancelling at the last minute deserves a phone call so they know that it’s happening.

    Don’t end a relationship over a text

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    The Unwritten Rules of Texting You Should Know

      There are just some things a person should never do. Ending a relationship over a text message is one of them. That is a serious life change for most people and the person you are breaking up with deserves to have the news delivered to them face to face.

      In fact, don’t deliver bad news ever over text

      Don’t tell someone a relative or a friend has passed away over a text. Don’t tell your parents you crashed the family car over a text. Anything that could be considered bad news on practically any scale should be delivered either in person or in a phone call. Sending a text to someone to deliver any bad news is a cop out. They deserve the news face to face.

      Don’t keep texting if someone doesn’t reply right away

      This one can be hard to do because impatience is a thing that we all have to some degree. However, people are not married to their phones 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sometimes they may be in the bathroom, at work, or driving. Before you freak out and think that they’re ignoring you, give them a while to get to you. Sending texts over and over again looks really bad and it’ll do nothing but irritate the other person.

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      Use proper grammar and punctuation

      Unless you’re in high school it isn’t really en vogue to send butchered, shortened texts that barely anyone can understand, especially if you’re texting your boss, coworkers, or people who are older than you. Your grandmother doesn’t know the lingo and most business people consider it unprofessional. It’s good practice because we could all use a little brush up on our grammar and spelling every now and then.

      There is a time and a place for everything.

      If you know someone is sleeping, then you probably shouldn’t text them. The notification may wake them up and then you’ll just be dealing with one angry friend or relative. People at work should be receiving short messages so it doesn’t affect their productivity. Don’t text people when they’re driving because it could be dangerous for them. There is a time and a place to send certain texts.

      Double check the auto-correct

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      The Unwritten Rules of Texting You Should Know

        There is absolutely no reason why you should be one of those people who sends ridiculous texts. It’s just laziness. It has been documented repeatedly that auto-correct can turn an innocent text into something terrible. Make sure you read the message you’re sending before you hit Send. You don’t need your boss receiving some inappropriate text because your auto-correct turned a totally innocent word into a dirty one.

        Wrap up

        At the end of the day, people will text how they text. Just because you follow these rules doesn’t mean that other people will too. That said, you can serve as a role model to others and influence them to text more like an adult.

        Featured photo credit: text message/Class Action Central via classactioncentral.com

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        Joseph Hindy

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        Last Updated on May 21, 2019

        How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

        How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

        For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

        If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

        Example 1

        You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

        You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

        In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

        Example 2

        You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

        People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

        You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

        Example 3

        You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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        The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

        Example 4

        You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

        Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

        If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

        Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

        • Understand your own communication style
        • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
        • Communicate with precision and care
        • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

        1. Understand Your Communication Style

        To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

        In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

        Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

        2. Learn Others Communication Styles

        Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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        If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

        “How do you prefer to receive information?”

        This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

        To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

        3. Exercise Precision and Care

        A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

        On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

        Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

        I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

        I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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        In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

        The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

        Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

        4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

        Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

        In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

        “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

        Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

        Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

        It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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        It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

        It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

        Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

        Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

        The Bottom Line

        When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

        I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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        Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

        Reference

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