As someone whose friends have referred to as both resident expert of cordiality and queen of cordiality, I would like to take this week to discuss an etiquette issue very near and dear to my heart: text message etiquette. When I received my first cell phone in 2005, I was a reluctant texter. Over time, however, I learned that while nothing can ever truly replace the human voice (unless you talk like Fran Drescher), texting is a quick and convenient way to communicate with others.
Of course, there are a few unspoken rules when it comes to proper texting etiquette. This week, we’ll dive into five of these rules and how to avoid breaking them.
The Weekend Five: Rules of Text Message Etiquette
1. Return text messages in a timely fashion.
Boys, I hate to stereotype, but according to my informal research (ie: conversations with friends) you guys tend to be the biggest culprits. This rule goes for everybody: when you are in a text conversation with someone you like (romantically or otherwise) or need to speak with, keep the conversation flowing. Don’t leave the recipient waiting for hours for a response – it’s like the modern-day equivalent of leaving a girl to wait for the phone to ring on a Saturday night. Respond in a timely manner; it is the polite thing to do.
2. If someone stops texting you, don’t keep texting them.
If someone has stopped texting you, chances are it is either because they are busy or because they don’t wish to speak with you. By texting someone continuously who does not respond, you are setting yourself to look like a crazy person! Don’t flood a friend’s inbox with texts just because you are lonely. If this person is avoiding you, then an inundation of texts will make you seem like you have stalker tendencies.
3. Don’t go overboard with emoticons.
My special formula is this: no more than one emoticon per every three text messages. It isn’t fool proof, but it makes sense. If you don’t know the person well but are interested in dating or getting to know them, sending a barrage of emoticons may seem a little overeager. 😉 🙂 😉 There are exceptions to the rule, but your usage may depend on what the other person is sending you.
4. “K.” is the Kiss of Death.
Use “K.” with caution. If you are annoyed with someone and really want them to know it, a simple “k.” will do the trick. This one little letter is enough to create all the tension in the world and show the person that you are mad. Sending a “K.” usually ends the conversation (and could potentially end the entire relationship!), so tread carefully and don’t use it unless you really mean it.
5. You can’t text message break-up.
I believe Kelly said it best. (You might as well send someone a “K.”)
Readers, what are your major rules on text message etiquette?