Texting Etiquette: 12 Rules To Follow

Texting Etiquette
Show good texting etiquette by writing clearly and respecting people's time. The rules of texting differ from regular call or in-person conversation rules. People can't hear or see you. Using emojis and avoiding all caps sets the tone. Also, everything you write is registered, so don't text sensitive information and call when necessary.

1. Use proper language and grammar

Text messages are informal, but that doesn’t mean you should write incorrectly. You can turn on the autocorrect on your phone.

Texting abbreviations and acronyms like RT and LOL on social media and messages may also cause miscommunication. Older folks might not understand them. Shorthand may also be inappropriate for some contexts, like business conversations with coworkers and expats.

2. Keep your messages short and to the point

If you send huge messages in group texts, no one will read them since there are already a lot of messages and people. Go straight to the point. People will better understand your text messages if you’re concise. It’s also easier and faster for them to read.

3. Respect people’s time and availability

Everyone has things to do, so if someone is giving you a part of their time to talk, value it. They have a life outside their phone, even if they’re your best friend. Respect their time by not sending texts at inappropriate times.

If you know the person is busy, wait for a better moment to send your message. Or if it’s too late, and you know they’re sleeping, wait until the ideal time, so the notifications won’t disturb their sleep.

4. No multiple messages

Double texting isn’t nice. It’s better to wait for the other person to text back, so you can send another message. Of course, if you have a lot to say, just say it. But don’t push the person to answer. They might be busy or not in the mood, and that’s okay.

If it is an important message, wait some time to follow up. A day or two if it isn’t time-sensitive.

5. Respond promptly

Some people believe they should show disinterest in talking to someone by not replying right away. Having a long response time won’t make other people more eager to talk to you; it will only make them have negative feelings.

Immediate responses make everything easier and quicker. That’s especially true in business texting, where time is money.

6. Avoid using all caps

Most people interpret using all caps in text messages or on the internet as shouting. So someone may think you’re being aggressive if you use all caps. People may also think the matter is urgent. Avoid using it for friendly communication.

Also read: Facebook Etiquette: 10 Unsaid Rules

7. Be mindful of the tone

People can’t see your facial expression or hear your tone of voice while texting, so you might be misinterpreted. If you send: “We need to talk!” to an anxious person, they will almost have a heart attack thinking you want to fight. And you may have sent the message only wanting to gossip. So be clear about your tone when texting to avoid hurt feelings.

8. Use appropriate emojis and emoticons

using emoji in a text
Use emoji appropriately in a text

Emojis can help set the tone of your message. Sometimes your texts are interpreted negatively; adding a smiley face could fix it. But use emojis wisely. Some emoticons have inappropriate connotations. So think about what it means before you send an emoji or look it up to ensure you won’t confuse or offend the other person.

9. Don’t text and drive

don't text and drive
Don’t text or use phone while driving

Aside from being illegal, texting while driving is really risky. You may think you’re good at multitasking, but research shows humans can’t do that efficiently. So unless you’re an alien with four eyes, you can’t look at the road and your phone simultaneously!

If you’re waiting for an important message, park your car once you hear or see a notification light and check your phone. Avoid using cell phone holders or similar to listen to sms messages. You may receive a triggering message with bad news and faint while driving.

10. Don’t text sensitive information

Sensitive information is not meant for text messages. Maybe the recipient’s phone was hacked, stolen, or lost. So the information would go to the wrong person.

Send this type of information through other communication channels, like an email, or say it face-to-face. If you still send sensitive info online, double-check if the account is correct. You can also call the person after checking their phone number and their voice.

11. Know when to call instead of text

Sometimes a phone call would be more efficient for a more nuanced conversation.

If the text conversation is too emotional, call instead. You’ll be able to explain your feelings better. Also, change the form of communication if your text is becoming too long. Talking is way quicker. If it is an urgent matter, call right away!

12. Don’t text during meetings or social events

You’re probably being rude to your host if you’re texting during a meeting or social event, especially if there are only a few people.

Using your cell phone is distracting when people are trying to concentrate on a meeting. Follow business etiquette and put your phone on silent. If you are at an event, your host prepared everything and reserved their time to entertain you. So don’t disrespect all the plans the person has made.

Ana C.

Ana C. is an artistic writer who loves shaping language around her message. For her, etiquette is about respecting everyone and spreading kindness. She loves hanging out with goats, analyzing TV shows, and eating feijoada with farofa.

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