Texting is probably the most common form of communication nowadays. However, texting cannot convey tone of voice, emotions, gestures, facial expressions and body language, context – all the elements of speech required for understanding emotions. A well-intentioned but misused emoji, a rushed reply, or poor punctuation can all lead to misconstrued messages and feelings. Whether you’re texting a friend, colleague, or a customer, following texting etiquette can go a long way toward avoiding hurt feelings, embarrassing situations and misunderstandings.
Are there spoken or unspoken texting etiquette guidelines somewhere? Or is this one of those things that everyone assumes other people already should know? I am genuinely curious about this. It seems there are several different types of texters so let’s discuss them.
What are the dos and don’ts?
The No Responder or Where are you Wendy?
This type of texter reads their texts but does not ever respond. I have a very close friend who would fall in this category (ahem, you know who you are). This person reads and even enjoys reading your texts, but literally never replies back. They either don’t remember or don’t think there’s a need to respond.
The Immediate Responder or Speedy Sarah
This type of texter always responds immediately. You wonder if they ever even set their phone down. However, this type of texter oftentimes expects a rapid response from you in return.
This texter uses emojis or gifs more than they use words. You can always know how this person is feeling due to the sheer number of pictures used in their responses. I am definitely guilty of adding emojis at the end of a text to ensure others know my emotions. 🙂
No Grammer Gabby
This texter uses no correct punctuation or capitalization. They tend to use run on sentences and all grammar rules go out the window when they text. This person also tends to type exactly how the thoughts are flowing through their minds instead of formulating them into clear sentences. Or perhaps they use the talk to text feature.
Middle of the road Mindy
This person would fall somewhere in the middle of these extremes. This person is just the average texter. You can always count on this person to respond when they have the time.
Two general guidelines I have for myself personally are:
- 24 hour response rule
- No texting after 9pm and before 9am
I have no clue if I was taught this somewhere over the years or I just hold myself to this standard to ensure I respond in a timely manner to people and respect their time.
Oftentimes, I see a text come in but I am busy with my kids, driving, or in the middle of something. I make a mental note to get back with them within 24 hours. I usually don’t attempt to text people back until the evening once my kids are in bed. Also, there are many occasions where I need to talk it over with my husband or another person before responding. Sometimes the conversation warrants looking at my schedule before committing to an event or whatever the case may be. If I’m too tired, I’ll wait to respond until the next morning but before it’s been 24 hours.
I love texting but also think it can interrupt our lives too much if we let it. I have often felt the pressure to respond immediately to someone even when I’m enjoying conversation with the person I’m with or spending quality time with my family. I don’t think a quick response is always worth interrupting your real life interactions.
Lastly, it’s easy to assume what is happening on the other end of a text conversation. I know I am guilty of this! Assumptions can lead us down a road in our minds creating a scenario that’s simply not true at all. If someone you know falls into a texting category that you don’t quite understand, either talk with them about it or save yourself the heartache and mental space, and choose to assume they have good intentions. We truly don’t know what is going on in other people’s lives behind the scenes, or in this case, screens.