Ninety-five percent of Americans have a cellphone of some kind, according to the Pew Research Center, and 77 percent of those are smartphones. So cellphone usage, and thus texting, is not breaking news. It’s something most of us do each and every day. Texting is the easiest way to get in quick contact with a friend when you’re running late to dinner or to wish everyone you’re acquainted with a merry Christmas.
But, did you know that you’re texting all wrong? Oh yeah. You are. And it’s time to discuss texting etiquette.
Unless you’re a particular kind of rude, you probably already know that you should never ignore someone you’re having an in-person conversation with in order to text someone else (unless it’s an absolute emergency). But here are five other rules for how to text appropriately in 2017. And some of these rules may surprise you.
Be Careful With Slang
Know your audience. Though these phrases are less popular than they once were, if you’re texting your mom and using things like “lol,” “rly,” and “wth,” you need to make sure she’ll know what you’re saying. On the other side of the coin, make sure YOU know what you’re saying. Lol means “laugh out loud,” not “lots of love” or “loads of llamas.”
Double-Check Your Texts
Autocorrect can be a pain. We all have had a weird typo thanks to that wonderful feature. If a conversation is heated or short, it may be tempting to press send right away, but be sure to read things over so you don’t accidentally say “daddy” instead of “sassy.” Things could get weird quickly. Also, be sure you’re texting the person you think you are. You don’t want to get stuck in a sticky situation because you texted Harold instead of Harry.
Remind People Who You Are
If you’re texting someone who you haven’t communicated with in a little while, it’s not weird to reintroduce yourself. Just start your text with a quick “Hey! It’s Jennifer!” and move on.
Sometimes It’s Better to Just Make a Phone Call
If you and your friend are texting back and forth for hours with longwinded messages, you know what you just might be able to do? Put your phone up to your ear and catch up with a good, old-fashioned phone call! Also, some situations are inappropriate to text about, such as death, a thank you note, or a serious family matter.
Use Punctuation Carefully
When put in writing, many things come across as more succinct and serious than they would in a face-to-face conversation. Something as simple as “OK.” versus “OK!” or even “OK” could have a whole new meaning. In certain hands and in certain conversations, ending a phrase with a period could result in a massive fight for the ages thanks to a classic misunderstanding. So don’t be afraid of the exclamation point or the emoji to really get your mood across in addition to your point. :)