Dear Barb—Texting, Texting, 1-2-3

Dear Barb:

I’m wondering about the rules of texting.  I have some friends that I text and they get back to me right away, but others that take days.  I personally feel it is rude for someone not to answer a text; it would be the same as not answering a voice mail or email.  Often text replies are made up of abbreviations and are really difficult to interpret, like “u” instead of “you.” I find this annoying, why can’t someone take the time to answer in complete sentences.  Another thing that really bugs me is when I have a family gathering or friends for a BBQ and everybody is on their phones texting or checking emails.  Really can’t they wait until after dinner?  The worst is when I am texting someone, not during dinner of course, but we get into a long conversation and, all of a sudden, they stop texting and I’m left hanging.  I don’t know whether I should send another text, or just assume the conversation is finished.  If I send another text right away, I think I will appear desperate or needy.  Finally, is it okay to text while you are having a conversation with someone.  I do that sometimes, but only if I have to.  If someone texts while I am trying to have a conversation with them I am left feeling that our conversation is not very important to them.  What do you think, am I just overreacting and making a big deal out of this? Thanks, Cheryl. 

Hi Cheryl:

Texting is a fairly new way of communicating, and, for people who are uncomfortable talking on the phone, it is a great way to keep in touch.  However there are rules that should be followed.  Many situations depend on who you are with and how comfortable they are with you texting while in their company.  Loosely followed texting etiquette rules can be found at Grammarly.  As well, here are some brief tips to follow.  Do not text and drive, ever! It’s always a good idea to send a text when you know you are going to be late for an event.  Know when to call someone, as opposed to texting, as some things need to be said over the phone, or in person.  Know when to put your phone away.  For example if you are visiting your parents, or grandparents, leave the phone in your purse or pocket.  If you are on a date and spending most of it on your phone, it may be a short lived date.  Take time to write your texts and read them over before sending.  Always respond when someone sends you a text, even a one word answer indicates the text has been received.  Lastly, make sure you are texting the right person, there is nothing worse than sending a text to the wrong person.  You may be overreacting a bit Cheryl, but this is a new way of communication and the kinks have to be worked out.  Thanks for your letter.

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