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Texting Etiquette

Written by Kirk, Thursday, December 10th, 2009 in Q&As

What is proper texting etiquette? When do I respond? When is too late? What rules are there?

There isn’t anything set in stone at this point (most of the “etiquette gods” like the Emily Post Institute are notably quiet about it so far, except coming up with some vague rules similar to that of e-mail), so a lot of this just comes from my experience:

First off, texting is a lot like e-mailing or physical mail. Don’t harass people with it, don’t do it too much, don’t take too long to respond, and keep in mind someone’s privacy. If someone texts you with a question, try to respond promptly and simply, don’t feel like you have to go into too much detail through your cell phone. Because of the medium (that is, the fact that cell phones ring/vibrate and harass the user when they receive a text message), don’t send text messages at obscene hours unless you would feel comfortable with calling that same person at that same time. Keep texts as terse as possible- don’t write paragraph after paragraph (if you can)- but simultaneously don’t shorten the message obscenely with abbreviations (use “you”, not “u”, etc).

As for some of the bigger questions people usually ask: as for women you are dating, respond well, but never in a harassing way. If you are not getting a message from someone in response to a question, DO NOT flood their cell phone. In a similar vein, “Sexting” is incredibly stupid and should be avoided, much as it should be avoided for the most part via e-mail and other methodologies. You can easily be embarrassed by the remnants of messages you have sent or received. Oh, and sending embarrassing pictures via MMS is probably one of the stupidest thing you can do in the modern era.

For some stupid reason, a lot of girls from about 16-30 think it’s absolutely hilariously wonderful to hold full conversations by the means of texting, which is incredibly dumb- it’s both rather expensive (if you have a set limit) as well as very difficult way to hold anything but a very stupid conversation. Arguably, if you must have epic conversations with someone that cannot be summed up in a Twitter-sort of terse way, then use the original intention of the cell phone and just call someone.

Oh, and this should be fairly evident, but do not text around other people unless it is an emergency or it is a very casual situation. Texting while on a date unless in absolutely dire circumstances should be grounds for forced euthanasia.

Essentially, the long story short of text messaging is to use it for it’s intended purpose: short, quick messages, not long diatribes nor embarrassing sex talks. Treat it like any other communications medium and you’ll be fine.

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One Response to Texting Etiquette

  1. Chris says:

    Good article. I think the “style” in which one writes a text can vary, though, especially abbreviations. A lot of girls that I’ve texted with in the past tend to abbreviate (‘c u l8er’ for “see you later’ and so on), whether its for shortness sake or cuteness sake I’m not sure. But I tend to reply in the same vein, otherwise I feel it sounds too formal. If I’m texting friends, for the most part I will go the full mile for grammar, spelling, and capital letters, just to do my part in the fight for literacy here in the US.

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