We all have those friends we love very much, but sometimes
just hate to text. Bad texting habits can happen to
good people, and even those of us who fancy ourselves
masters of text message etiquette invariably catch ourselves
indulging in poor texting behavior from time to time.
We've created a guide to help you avoid falling victim
to these common texting misfires--or to gently suggest
to someone you love it's time to put down the emojis.
These are ten texting habits you should do your best
1. OMG abbreviations
One of the most common missteps we see in texting is
that of those texters who can't seem to get through
a sentence without extraneous abbreviations. Be they
abbreviations of full words or acronyms, these flubs
are dated and dating. Once upon a time, saving space
in texts was a widespread and financially very real
concern. For most of us these days of restrictive character
limits are long past, yet the habits sometimes linger.
Abbreviations have a time and a place, but in excess
they can make texts harder to understand and frustrating
2. The multiple fire.
While condensing content into as few messages as possible
is a relatively infrequent concern these days, this
should not be taken as a challenge. If it can be said
in one or two texts, there's no need to say it in nine.
While occasional extra messages bearing forgotten details
are no big deal, consistently expanding your thoughts
to take up as much space as possible can be irritating,
and even make your message harder to understand and
follow. If your texts look like this...
Text #1: hey
Text #2: what are you up to tonight?
Text #3: Monica and I were thinking of going
out for dinner
Text #4: let me know if you want to come!
Text #5: we're thinking of going at 7
Text #6: maybe closer to 8
...consider that you might just as easily say:
Text #1: Hey! Monica and I wanted to grab dinner
at around 7 or 8 tonight. Let us know if you want to
Much better. You may even save yourself time by condensing
3. The one-word response.
While there's value in being succinct, you should refrain
from being too terse in your texts. Everything is a
balance. The one-word response can be anything from
awkward to frustrating to rude, depending on the context
and how often a given texter repeats it. If you're too
busy to carry a conversation or simply don't want to,
it's best to say so, or at the least to politely excuse
yourself. Of course, there are always exceptions; sometimes,
a lone-word reply is appropriate, but it is often extraneous
at best. Pay attention when you find yourself tapping
out a single word in response, and text deliberately.
4. The one-emoji response.
I don't think I need to say much about this one.
5. On that subject, emojis are not words.
Emojis add a cute, fun element to many a text, and can
even help texters clarify their meaning or tone, a particularly
difficult thing to convey in any text-based communication.
Let it be known that I take no issue with, and in fact
embrace the emoji as a mode of expression. However,
emojis were not quite intended to convey everything
you wish to say. If you're firing off more strings of
emojis than you are actual words, you may want to reconsider.
6. Letters also don't quite make the cut.
We've talked already about the drawbacks and benefits
of abbreviations in text messages, but letters-as-abbreviations
seem to substantiate their own category. Rushed texts
and the ironic use of abbreviations are understandable,
and even expected every now and then, but consistently
turning your 'you's into 'u's and your 'are's into 'r's
is no longer "in;" it can, in fact, confound your meaning
and make your texts read as awkward, unprofessional,
juvenile, or unintelligent. It's time to bring back
the two extra letters.
I know what you're thinking-- "You've just singled out
lone-letter words! Give it a rest!" No. 'K' is its own
beast. I have so many questions for 'k.' How can one
letter manage to be so aggressively curt, so brutally
flippant? How do you comprise the most non-confrontational
text message possible, and yet attack me so? And what
have you done with the 'o'? Will we ever see its safe
return? What has the 'o' ever done to you?
8. Avoiding the question.
Leaving behind the torrid, non-committal 'k,' we should
discuss another non-committal response-- the vague,
passive reply that neglects the other texter's intent.
Say a new acquaintance or that cute new friend you made
the other day texts asking what your plans are tomorrow,
or to tell you what they're up to tonight. Sure, they
never asked if you'd be joining them... but they asked
if you'd be joining them. Forgo the "oh, cool," and
9. Punctuation, punctuation, punctuation!
Texting is a pretty casual medium, and that's one of
the beautiful things about it. But sometimes we get
so casual that we stop making sense. If I can express
one thing to the world before my time here expires,
it is that commas are friends, not foes. I'd be even
more delighted if I could convey the value of the semi-colon
and the period. They truly only exist to help you say
what you have to say by making your text that much clearer
and less confusing. They don't bite-- I promise.
Alas, there can always be too much of a good thing;
on the flip-side, excess punctuation can cause texts
to read as jarring, awkward, or childish. Embrace that
ellipsis and those exclamation marks as they deserve,
but know when to use them, and be judicious.
10. Communication everywhere, nor any face-to-face.
The power of texting to facilitate and enhance communication
is amazing, and we're constantly grateful for it. But
no medium for contact will ever quite match up to good
old face-to-face conversation. You know those moments
when you're with friends, and you realize once all has
gone quiet that everyone's on their phones? Don't be
the first domino to fall, and when you find your friends
in the throes of groupthink texting, call them out.
Enjoy and embrace texting appropriately, but know when
to put your phone away and pay attention to those in
front of you.
About the Author -
Sharon Housley is the VP of Marketing for NotePage,
Inc. a software company for communication software solutions.