It seems like everything in life has rules. Rules about where to park, how to eat, what to wear, and worst of all, how to text. In a professional sense, yes there are texting rules just as there are email rules when it comes to sending a serious message, but I’m here to tell you that these so-called ‘rules’ we’ve created for texting are a waste of energy and time and should not be followed.
Here’s why there are no texting rules:
Ever since we started spending more time texting that we do talking, we as the texting society have created some unspoken texting rules. We worry about what time to text people, what to say, grammar, and how long we wait in between texts…but for what? If you were talking to someone on the phone or in person, you wouldn’t take a thirty minute pause to respond, just to make it seem like you were ‘too busy’ to respond at that moment. So, why do we do it when texting? I can’t lie, I used to follow these rules, but then I realized: if I have something to say, I’m just going to say it, and say it when I feel like it. You’ll respond if you want, and maybe you won’t respond at all, but I won’t waste any more of my precious time worrying about the outcome of my texts. I’ve sent an angry text or two in my day. I’ve even had full blown fights over text, but what does that solve? You can’t see the person’s emotions or reactions. You don’t know if they’re hurt or mad. You just fire off mean words without consequence, because truthfully, you wouldn’t say those things to that person’s face. Don’t use texting as a veil to spew hate, use it for quick communication, not sole communication. Plus, they now have a permeant record of everything you said, and I personally don’t want every ounce of business traceable back to a texting log.
At the end of the day, is the world going to end if you text someone three times in a row or after 9 p.m. on a weeknight? No, it will be just fine. I sleep with my phone on silent, so you can go ahead and text me all night, I’ll get back to you tomorrow. If someone wants to start a fight with you over texting etiquette, then they need a reality check. We send texts as reminders, or because something popped into our head and we want to tell a certain someone. Weighing the pros and cons of the rules of when to say it and how, takes away from the message.
On the note of grammar, as an english major, I of course prefer correct grammar. And yes—when texting a guy who can’t spell or chooses not to spell correctly as a form of quick texting, I tend to cringe. But it is just texting at the end of the day, and as long as they don’t talk like they text, we’re good. But in the defense of grammar, I have to say, I still follow those rules when drunk texting. You can expect even my most nonsensical of texts to be riddled with commas and proper punctuation.
Do what feels comfortable to you. If someone is that bothered by the way you text, that’s their personal problem. Real emotion isn’t even conveyed through text. You can send all the smiley face emojis in the world, hell, you can even send the weird and never-used signage emojis, and someone may still be offended by what you say or take it the wrong way. I can’t help you if you choose to text in all-caps, (that’s just asking for it), but outside of that, the best way to express yourself is in person. Leave the texting to short conversations and need-to-relay messages, otherwise it just gets lost in translation. And when it comes to sending pictures and videos via text, do so at your own discretion. Those iCloud hacks are pretty scary, and who knows which one of your exes is waiting to spam your friends and family with your unmentionables. While there’s no rules, you know the outcomes, so send at your own risk, but also feel free to take and send whatever you want, it’s your phone at the end of the day.
So throw those rules to the curb and text how you feel. If someone is bothered by you, I’m sure they’ll tell you, and if someone stops texting you, don’t take it personal. It’s when they stop talking to you in real life that you have to worry. Until then, keep those thumbs moving, emojis flying, and memes trending. Make your own texting rules!
Photo by zelaxandra