Have you seen the popular meme about not answering phone calls, because “you don’t use your phone for that”?
Apparently, more and more people are communicating via text messaging these days instead of initiating phone calls. While text messaging is fast, convenient, and easy, some conversations need to be face-to-face. There are situations where a text message can be misconstrued and cause more harm than intended.
Here are 5 text messages that will remind you of the proper text etiquette.
1. “We need to talk”
Receiving this text message can freak out your recipient. Our minds usually go to worst-case scenarios when we read statements like this. Depending on who you sent this message to, it can cause them a lot of unnecessary stress.
A girlfriend, for example, may think she’s getting dumped when she reads this text. An employee may think he’s getting fired and a child may think he’s in deep trouble.
If you want to give someone a heads up that you want to discuss something important later, choose your words wisely. Another good idea is to just wait until you can have an actual conversation with that person.
2. “It’s over”
Whatever your reason is, breaking up with someone via text message is extremely unacceptable. Sending a breakup text is cowardly, cold, and insensitive.
In any failing relationship, the other party deserves to know the reasons behind the breakup and have a formal closure. Although initiating a breakup is awkward and uncomfortable, it’s one of those times where you just have to bite the bullet and do it in person.
3. “Why are you mad at me?”
Avoid sending text messages that carry emotional weight to them. Tone and body language don’t come through in a text, which means the message can be misunderstood.
Feelings can get hurt if the person who receives the text takes it out of context or misconstrues your message. Conversations about arguments or sensitive subjects should be done in-person. If you truly want to sort out an issue, text messaging isn’t the best way to do so.
4. “Hey. Did you get my last text? Why aren’t you responding?”
Sending messages like this will make you look needy and desperate. If you are feeling insecure, this type of messages won’t help you at all.
Aside from creating the wrong impression on your end, the recipient may not like getting these messages either.If it’s been a while before you’ve heard from someone, it’s best if you can put your phone away and just stop checking it every two minutes. If a person is into you, he’ll find a way to respond as soon as he can.
5. “The silent text”
Regardless of whether you are not responding to the guy asking you out for a second date or are ignoring a friend’s request to help her move, completely ignoring a text message is simply rude.
These people will be waiting for you to text them back and they’ll be checking their phone frequently to make sure they haven’t missed your response. If you don’t want to do something, just be upfront and honest. It will allow the other person to move on quicker and stop annoying you.
Sending a text is generally easier than picking up the phone and starting a conversation. However, as convenient as it seems, make sure that you still follow proper text etiquette whenever you send someone a message. Keep your texting for what it was made for: easy, light-hearted communications that don’t have a lot of weight to them.
If you’re questioning whether or not you should send that text, it’s probably a better idea to just wait and reach out personally.
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Author: Dr. Kurt Smith
Dr. Kurt Smith is the Clinical Director of Guy Stuff Counseling & Coaching, a Northern California counseling practice that specializes in helping men and the women who love them. His expertise is in understanding men, their partners, and the unique relationship challenges couples face today. Dr. Kurt is a lover of dogs, sarcasm, everything outdoors, and helping those seeking to make their relationships better.