Have you noticed while walking down sidewalks or even shopping, not a single head is looking up? It’s surprising that we don’t see more human collisions, but texting has absolutely defined our lives. It is the norm of communication and because of this, there is text-etiquette that must be followed. It is no longer just a form of communicating between your BFF’s, it includes mentors, colleagues, coaches and even your boss. With all of these added situations, we’ve compiled 10 really basic rules you should be following when texting.
1. Keep it short and sweet
You know how tweets are only 140 characters? Maybe texting should take a hint and for those of you who send bulk text messages, as in you can’t say it all in one sent message it spreads over five, stop. Avoid the send button and say it all in a sentence or two in ONE text, not five.
2. Do NOT send a text and resend the same text if you don’t receive an immediate response.
Remember the days when all we had were telephones and voicemail at our homes? Well, just because we have a mobile phone does not mean your friends, family or coworkers do not have lives outside of their third arm (i.e. their cell phone). It will be appropriate to follow up the next day, or if it’s urgent – call!
3. Be careful of tone and sarcasm.
Your closest friends may understand your voice via texts; however, the majority of people will not. It would be best for everyone involved to save your jokes and sarcasm for voice conversations, even if you use emoticons.
4. Avoid texting colleagues and especially your boss.
When starting a new position, refrain from texting colleagues until you get to know them. You will quickly see who loves text over email and who is even appropriate to text. If you are starting in an entry-level position, do not text until higher positioned colleagues have texted you, especially your boss. Work colleagues will always be the most difficult to figure out what is appropriate – have patience.
Your boss will always be the most difficult to judge whether you should text or not. Small businesses may be more appropriate to text your boss as you will be working in closer quarters to them; although, every situation will be different. Take the time to feel out situations and if in doubt, a formal email will always work.
5. Be aware of other’s schedules.
Just because you’re awake and lively does not mean others are asleep, spending time with family or just flat out avoiding technology. Do not expect an immediate response and refrain from texting at incredibly odd hours of the day. People will be much more likely to respond and will respect you even more.
6. Avoid texting while at functions, dinners and spending time with others.
Nothing is more annoying than having dinner with friends to catch up and someone pulls out their phone to respond to a text. If you ever think of pulling out your phone while with others, pause and put yourself in the speaker’s shoes, it’s not very nice.
7. Avoid meaningless texts at work and during meetings.
Just as it’s rude during social hours to text, it’s even worse to spend your company’s dime on your personal texts. Probably one of the worst things you could do – text during meetings! Can you even imagine what is going through your client’s mind when you pull out your phone to text during a meeting? They are most likely spending thousands of dollars to work with your company and you can’t even spend one hour with them to discuss their needs and goals? If you are guilty of this, you definitely need to reprioritize to maintain a healthy relationship with your clients.
8. Keep your personal health by minimizing technology!
If you never give yourself a break from technology, and this includes your cell phone, you will overload yourself and eventually burn out. And considering all business and most personal relationships are dependent upon technology, there is a fine line you can easily cross as to too much. Instead of sending your best friend a text, call her up and ask her to meet for lunch. Your time will be much more relaxing and this will allow you to actually catch up.
9. You called, left a voicemail and sent a text message.
If you are guilty of calling someone, leaving a voicemail and then sending a text message saying you left a voicemail, you need to stop immediately. We can guarantee the person on the receiving side knows they missed a call and have a voicemail, because you have the exact same notifications on your phone.
10. S-p-e-l-l words out – plz and thnk u.
Everyone is always in a hurry, but do you really need to shorten a three-letter word to one? (i.e. you to “u”). Texting is already a convenience; you don’t need to become lazy too.
Texting is an extremely powerful tool if used correctly, but it can also be extremely damaging. The main points to take away from this list are: be concise, respectful of time and use proper grammar. Texting is not rocket science and neither is the etiquette. Before hitting send, think to yourself – is this really necessary and is it appropriate? Hint: all of these tips can be applied to email as well.
P.S. For those of age, it would absolutely be in your best interest to turn off your phones while consuming alcoholic beverages, there is absolutely nothing classy about sending influenced messages.