texting courtesy
Unpopular Opinion

Texting Courtesy

The lowly phone call is not dead. Contrary to what the millennial and younger generations will tell you, good old-fashioned phone calls are not out of style. They think that all communications can be accomplished with a text – by text I mean any form of instant messaging. I am here to dispute that notion.

Texting has its place, but it should never take the place of a phone call or better yet, an in-person conversation. Let me explain why. With a text, you cannot correctly convey tone and this can lead to confusion or conflict. You cannot gauge a person’s emotions and engagement via text.  It is impersonal and does not build relationships between people. 

Texting has a purpose – for informal conversations, such as, “I am on my way”, “What time is the movie?” It should never be used to break up with someone (yes, I said it). Please don’t use it to convey bad news like a death or other tragedy. Once there is any hint of confusion or miscommunication during a text exchange, it is a sign that you need to switch to a more direct form of communication.

Also, please utilize good texting etiquette. It is one thing to know what to communicate via text but it is an entirely different thing to know when to do it. Please, I implore you, if you wouldn’t call someone after a certain time, don’t text them either. The ability to text whenever we want has caused us to become rather inconsiderate. Just because you are awake at 4 am does not mean someone else is. No, they don’t want to have their sleep disturbed by the ping ping, ping, of your messages.

Similarly, if you text someone who replies by saying it’s not a good time to talk, stop texting. No need to reply “ok”. More importantly, it’s not a good idea to send an entire 6-page essay to someone via text. The intention of texting was for concise communication. Please be mindful of people’s time. They may not have the time to read your text message if it will take them 5 minutes to do so. For long messages, send an email.

Bear in mind that just because you send a text to someone and it is delivered immediately, the other person is not obligated to respond immediately. When you send your messages, it is convenient for you but that doesn’t necessarily hold true for the recipient(s). So please stop complaining that they “left me on read”. So what?  They will reply when it is convenient to them and it doesn’t mean that they are trying to blow you off.

Finally, remember that once you put something in writing and press send, you have no control over where that message may end up. So be mindful of what you write down and send to others. If you are planning to send a message that you would not want to see plastered across the evening news, think twice before sending it.


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