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The 18 Unwritten Rules of Texting You Should Know

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.


replying

    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.


    early

      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…


      novel

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        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.


        text

          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.


          confused

            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.


            texty text

              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.

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              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.


              ron swanson

                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.


                hashtag

                  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.”

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                  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.

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                  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.


                  texting offended

                    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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                    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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