Practice Safe Text!

Texting is quickly becoming the preferred method of communication by all ages in all places. But like every other form of techno-communication, usage far outpaced the rulebooks and etiquette for using it. So, what are the best ways to text so that we don’t cause confusion or hurt feelings?

  • Don’t text someone while also having a conversation or a meal with someone else. It’s rude to suggest that anything is more important than who you’re with face-to-face. If you must check an incoming message, explain first to your companions what’s happening and why. (“Excuse me a sec, I just got an update from the airline.”).
  • Avoid texting at odd hours. Remember time zone differences. Just because you’re awake doesn’t mean they are on the receiving end. And do you really want your clients to know that you’re up and working at 3:30 am?
  • Emojis can be very helpful in texts to add the emotion we’re trying to communicate. But don’t send them upstream in your workplace unless the higher-up has used them downstream first.
  • Limit your use of group texts. From time to time, they’ve made us all feel like we’re part of a hostage situation. Keep the group small and the topics short.
  • You already know you shouldn’t text while driving. But it’s also rude—and dangerous—to text someone you know for a fact is behind the wheel themselves. Don’t tempt them into responding. It’s actually better to call.
  • It’s also dangerous to text while walking, drinking, or walking and drinking! You don’t want to fall off the curb and/or send the racy text you meant for your sweetheart to your boss instead. And while we’re at it, double-check every message and the recipient’s name/number before you hit “send.” We’ve all seen those bizarre auto-corrected messages that were sent by mistake!
  • If you’re texting someone who may not have your number, it’s polite to also add your name – “Hi, it’s Jill…”
  • With apologies to all the English majors out there, periods are becoming a thing of the past, especially in short or one-word texts. Periods can be perceived as having an emotional charge, like an emoticon, and can communicate insincerity, snarky-ness, even aggression.

© Jill Bremer 2016