Navigating Texting Etiquette in 2023: Dos and Don'ts for a Smooth Conversation


Lizzie Post once sent a text message to check in on a friend with a new baby, but received a response a year later. Would her great-great-grandmother, Emily Post, the renowned writer and authority on American etiquette, be appalled? According to Lizzie Post, she doesn't believe so.

Lizzie Post believes that Emily Post's personality would have been such that if someone wasn't offended by the lack of communication, they would welcome the reconnection. On the other hand, if the lack of response was offensive, one could choose not to reply or communicate their displeasure. It was a matter of taking ownership of the situation or letting it go.

Throughout her career in the first half of the 20th century, Emily Post adjusted her etiquette advice to reflect the changing society. This adaptability is what we need to navigate the world of texting, which has become an integral part of our social and professional lives. With the global pandemic, social media apps, and blurred work-life boundaries, agreed-upon texting rules have crumbled.

Searching for "texting etiquette" on TikTok yields contradictory advice. Is it rude to leave a text unanswered or rude to expect an immediate response? Is using a thumbs-up emoji passive-aggressive? Does an all-caps message require an all-caps response? Generational differences further complicate matters, with younger individuals using emojis ironically while older generations stick to more literal interpretations.

Texting has become the default mode of communication, replacing letters, voice mails, phone calls, and even emails. The collapse of these different contexts makes it challenging to determine which rules to follow.

Michelle Markowitz, co-author of "Hey Ladies!: The Story of 8 Best Friends, 1 Year, and Way, Way Too Many Emails," has discarded traditional texting wisdom. She no longer adheres to the notion that certain conversations should be phone calls instead of texts. In fact, she enjoys writing and reading long messages. Additionally, she has given up on texting her teenage relatives, finding it easier to connect with them on platforms like Instagram.

However, some texting manners remain relevant, particularly when it comes to group chats. Markowitz and her co-author Caroline Moss explore the pitfalls of group communication in their book. Group texts can generate numerous notifications, involve strangers, and never truly disappear. Markowitz advises introducing everyone in a group text and providing context on how they are connected. If there is a specific issue to address with one group member, it's better to start a separate conversation rather than involving everyone.

When it comes to discussing money in a group chat, it's essential to be considerate. Planning an expensive weekend getaway or fancy dinner may not suit everyone's budget. It's important to create space for dissenting opinions or suggest alternatives for those who may not be able to participate.

As for grammar and punctuation, the days of fighting over capital letters and perfect punctuation in texts are over. Markowitz emphasizes that a good text should make sense to the recipient without requiring them to consult an SAT grammar workbook. After experiencing reduced social contact, she is grateful when someone reaches out, regardless of their texting style. Skipping capitalization or omitting question marks doesn't indicate a lack of respect.
Millennials and Gen-Zers should also embrace the use of ellipses, known as Gen-X ellipses, despite the anxiety it may cause.

While responses to texts are not mandatory, it is considerate to acknowledge the message.

Apologies for delayed responses have become common due to the challenges of the past few years. It's important to remember that texts can sometimes be overlooked or forgotten, so a kind follow-up can help ensure a response if needed.

On the other hand, unanswered texts can cause worry for some individuals. A brief note acknowledging the message and indicating that a response will be provided when time allows can alleviate text-related stress.

Santamaria takes an approach where he responds promptly or not at all. A simple smiley face or exclamation point reaction lets the sender know that their message was seen and appreciated.

It's best to avoid using iMessage effects like thumbs-up bubbles and spotlights in group chats if not everyone is using iMessage.

When texting, it's important to match the energy of your conversation partner rather than trying to strike a specific tone.

Sending short responses like thumbs up, "lol," or "k" repeatedly may be acceptable if your recipient does the same. However, it is considered immature if you fail to contribute to the conversation. Remember, texting is not Morse code, and the goal is not to use as few words as possible.

Different generations have different comfort levels with texting. While it may be unfortunate that your grandma insists on signing her name to every message, it is not a significant issue. Try to avoid using shorthand or language that your recipient may not understand, and be understanding when your dad sends a winky face.

Avoid sending cryptic messages like "hey can we talk" without providing any context. This can make your recipient anxious as they don't know what you're going to ask. Providing a clue can help them respond appropriately.

While delivering bad news, such as a breakup or news of someone's death, over text is not recommended. It is no longer necessary to limit text conversations to logistics and basic greetings. Texting has become a common platform for discussing emotions. Some individuals find it easier to express serious thoughts over text because they have more time to think.

The rules of engagement for text conversations are the same as for phone or in-person conversations. Prioritize listening and understanding over reacting. If you're unsure about someone's tone or what they meant, don't hesitate to ask for clarification. Interpreting tone in written communication can be challenging, and it's perfectly acceptable to seek clarity.

When it comes to texting in the workplace, it has become increasingly common. However, it's important to establish boundaries with your team before using texting for business purposes. Discuss preferred communication channels, such as email or phone calls, and determine appropriate hours for responding to text messages.

Once these boundaries are set, it is crucial to respect them both for others and yourself. Utilizing the "mute notifications" feature can be helpful in maintaining these boundaries. On most recent iPhones, you can access this feature by pulling down the menu from the top right corner of your home screen, tapping "focus," and then selecting "do not disturb." On Android phones, swipe down to view notifications, then swipe down again on the row of quick settings icons to see the full list. Look for "do not disturb."
Title: The Significance of Being Present in Real-Life Moments

Introduction:
In today's digital age, the prevalence of cellphones has made it commonplace to engage in phone conversations in public settings. However, it is crucial to recognize the importance of giving undivided attention to those around us during significant real-world moments. By putting our phones away during meals, movies, performances, and heartfelt conversations, we convey our appreciation and respect for the people in our lives.

Body:

1. Changing social norms:
In the early days of cellphone usage, talking on the phone in public was generally considered impolite. Over time, societal norms have become more relaxed, but this shift underscores the need to be mindful of when others deserve our complete attention.

2. Value in personal connections:
When we set aside our phones during shared experiences, such as meals or outings, we demonstrate that we value and prioritize the company of those present. By actively engaging with others, we foster stronger bonds and show genuine interest in their lives.

3. Moments that require our full attention:
Certain situations demand our undivided focus, particularly when someone is sharing something important, heartfelt, or undergoing a difficult time. In these instances, it is vital to put aside distractions and give our utmost attention to the person speaking. By maintaining eye contact, actively listening, and asking relevant questions, we demonstrate empathy and support.

Conclusion:
In a world dominated by technology, it is essential to recognize the significance of being fully present during important real-world moments. By setting aside our phones and devoting our attention to those around us, we convey respect, strengthen relationships, and show that we genuinely care. Let us remember that the people in our lives deserve our undivided attention, especially during meaningful conversations and significant events.
Mateen Faris
By : Mateen Faris
Mateen Faris is a professional journalist since 2011, a media graduate from Iraq University, a technology expert, a media consultant and a member of the International Organization of Journalists - a member of the fact-checking team at Meta Company. He writes in the fields of entertainment, art, science and technology, and believes that the pen can change everything.
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