text on phone

What Are The Rules For Texting?

February 19, 2023
girl texting
Photo by Eugene Chystiakov on Unsplash

Every day at my store, Consignments Ltd., we give out phone numbers for movers that we use, to people who have purchased an item or are bringing one in. Texting these guys gets you a faster response. Reasonably, they will not answer a call if they don’t recognize the number. I mean, c’mon, who wants to talk to those people about your car warranty again anyway? Consequently, texting is best with them and in a whole lot of other situations we all find ourselves in daily. But did you know that there are actually rules for texting? Believe or not, there’s an assigned etiquette to this form of communication.

I recently started subscribing to WordGenius.com after the word Biophilic had me perplexed (see my blog: What is Biophilic Interior Design?). And in one of their recent essays they enumerate these rules for texting. It is eye opening. And I am glad to share my take on these rules here with you today.

emoji use
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

1. Rules For Texting: Use Emojis More and Punctuation Less With Friends – Your Boss Is A Different Story

My kids always tease me about using proper grammar, spelling and punctuation in my texts. I’m an old dog with an old habit. Hard to break that one. Well, apparently, I need to stand corrected. Use of punctuation in texts is apparently not the same as punctuation in regular communication. According to WordGenius, you should not use periods to end sentences in texts. It’s considered “harsh.” Who knew? Exclamation points, on the other hand, are considered an absolute must when texting to besties. They maintain that exclamation points increase the casual and friendly nature of the communication. Mind boggling, isn’t it?

According to the rules, emojis, those cute little images that denote laughing or praying or love, are actually considered “tone setters” in texts. If you do not use emojis you indicate something like “I really don’t want to talk with you at all.” Again, who knew?

However, the rules for texting really depend on whom you are texting. If you are texting your boss, the opposite is true for the rules above. Use periods at the end of sentences so they know that you are at least somewhat literate. And cool it on the exclamation points, unless you’re texting that “The building is on fire!” And you’ll want to imit emojis to work-appropriate images.

rules of texting
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

2. Rules For Texting: Don’t Use ALL CAPS – Unless You Really Mean It

Most people who text understand this one – at least I think they do. All caps in text isn’t just about emphasis – it’s digital screaming. If you are texting your pal: WAY TO GO EAGLES! WHAT A GAME!! That is totally cool. If you text your co-worker, WHERE’S THE KEY TO THE WASHROOM? not so much. Furthermore, all caps messages are considered “stress messages.” Unless that is your intent, skip the caps lock.

rules for texting
Image by Kah Lok Leong on Unsplash

3. Rules For Texting: They Don’t All Know What You Mean – Consider Your Audience

My Aunties text. They are in their 80’s and they send me little notes from Mobile, Alabama. They text, in their cute southern accents. My Aunties say things like: “How ya’ doing, Sugar?” and “How’s that snow piling up, Darling?” They do not text LMAO or TTYL. They are too ladylike for the former (laughing my _ss off) and I would guess they don’t know the meaning of the latter (talk to you later). When I text them, I take this in to consideration. I don’t use text acronyms or cyber-slang with them. I consider my audience. You should too. If it’s NSFW (not safe for work), don’t text it to your boss.

woman texting
Image by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

4. Final Rule: Think Before Hitting Send

We all have that friend. She/he texts each thought, or fragment thereof, in an individual text. One minute you have no texts; the next minute you look at your phone and you have 12. And you open your messenger because you think it must be an emergency somewhere in your world, only to find that…

He told

you that he got

something for

dinner tonight.

Oh, c’mon now. We can do better. Don’t be that guy (or girl). Text a complete thought. It does not need to be War and Peace, mind you, but say enough to get the entire message across. Everyone will thank you for it.

That’s all I have on this topic today. I hope you enjoyed it and it made you LOL.

For more on texting and other digital issues, check out my previous blog: Four Rules of Friendship in The Digital Age. Have a lovely Sunday, my friends.

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