These days, many people would rather send a text than get a phone call. It’s faster, easier, and simpler to toss off a few lines than it is to go through the small talk necessary to get to the meat of a phone call. All of that convenience, however, still comes along with a few clear social rules–and making sure you understand the important ones will keep you from frustrating everyone you interact with via text. While the rules of texting might not have made it into an etiquette book yet, understanding proper textiquette will keep you from making a major social faux pas.
Watch the Mass/Group Texts
While sending out a mass “happy holidays” text or a single text announcing a new engagement or pregnancy can be tempting, avoid the urge to mass text arbitrarily. A few general rules of thumb:
The Basics of Responding to Messages
At some point, everyone has received a message that caused them to think, “Oh, I’ll answer that later,” then put their phone down and forgotten about it. If you’re guilty of regularly failing to respond to simple messages, however, it’s time to brush up on your textiquette! Keep these things in mind:
When Not to Text
It’s incredibly common today to see people sitting beside one another or across the table from one another, the entire group paying attention to their phones instead of each other. If you’re out with friends, these basic etiquette rules should apply to your phone usage.
Texting and Slang: Use With Care
Texting abbreviations and slang are fairly common. You don’t want to be the person who is constantly aware of your friends’ grammar–and comments on it–but if you’re going to use abbreviations or emojis, make sure you know what they mean. When in doubt, ask: you might prevent a major social faux pas simply by knowing what that abbreviation actually stands for.
What About Emojis?
Emojis, or the cute little characters available on most smart phones, can add a layer of depth to the conversation and help convey your meaning more effectively. A smiley face, a wink, or a heart can say much more than words. In general, emojis are a relatively safe choice that has gained in popularity as they’ve moved from keyboard characters constructed in such a way that they vaguely mimic human expression to actual pictures. Emojis, however, do have their time and place: keep them out of professional communications.
When it comes to texts, you should usually keep things short and sweet–but not too short. A simple “k” is often frustrating to your recipient and can lead to an immediate end to the conversation. On the other hand, if you’re going to write an essay, you might be better off lifting your phone a little higher and making a call instead. Keep your text communications brief. If a conversation is extending excessively, consider swapping to a phone call or saving it until you get together in person. This is true whether you’re debating over plans or having an argument with your spouse in the middle of the work day. Keep in mind, too, that most people are more likely to skim long text messages than they are to read the entire thing, so the longer your message, the greater the likelihood that something will be lost in translation.
Paying attention to critical texting etiquette is the best way to ensure that your text conversations take place without frustrating either you or your recipient. If your texting device is broken, that frustration is likely already mounting. The good news is, we can help! Contact us today to learn how we can get your phone back in working order.