Texting etiquette from a thirty-something

I love technology and I embrace technology incredibly fast. However, I have issues with using technology in ways that it was not meant to be used or technology used in ways that aggravate the hell out of me. For example, using a shovel as garlic press is a bit ridiculous. Oh sure, I know that this post will make me sound like a curmudgeon, but so be it.

Let me give you a guide to texting on a cell phone to someone like me. I know I have broken some of these rules, but from now on I intend to stick to it like glue considering how much cellphone text misuse has recently annoyed me.

<strong>1. If you are within walking distance</strong> of me and can actually come talk to me, do not ever text me. Come talk to me. Especially if I have to pay to receive your text or I have to pay to send you a text. The only exception I have for this is that you are dying, cannot yell, one arm and one leg have been sliced off and therefore have lost the ability to do anything but to get your phone out and send me a text message.

<strong>2. The following conversation should not</strong> be by text:

A: Hi
B: Yes?
A: How are you?
B: Good what’s up
A: What time can I come up?

If your conversation with me will involve multiple texts, please phone me. I do not want, nor care to exchange pleasantries over text messages on a cell phone.

<strong>3. If I ask a question in a text, send me an answer.</strong> For example the following is not what I would call useful.

A: We are leaving in 10 mins. Where are u?
B: The weather is nice here

Please note the above will likely end with me screaming and you being gutted with a spoon… a very blunt spoon.

<strong>4. Complex plans and situations should *never*</strong> be done over text messages. For the love of all that is going to keep you alive. The following is likely to make me scream and throw my phone away or at the very least turn it off:

A: We’ll meet at X in 5 mins bringing three people
B: Front entrance or back?
A: Side entrance instead.
B: There’s a side entrance? Okay see u there?
A: Actually going to be late, 2 pple going to front entrance.
B: Which entrance should I go
A: Side entrance then front entrance in 5 mins
B: ok
A: Oh pick up tickets
B: where?

At this point, the vein on my head will start throbbing. Chances are, you will see smoke out of my ears and then a scream of pure undiluted frustration. The voice functions were invented to have conversations and for people to plan. Please use the appropriate technology.

<strong>5. If you are going to be indecisive,</strong> please do not do it over text messaging.

A: What time will you be there?
B: Not sure, when do you want to be there?
A: 6pm
B: Hmmm not sure…

At this point, if you do not phone me I will likely decide that sitting in a clown bar by myself and having a fake red nose pinched every 2 seconds for the next 12 hours will be a much better circle of hell.

<strong>6. Do not have conversations with multiple people</strong> over a cell phone text messaging system. It was not created for such use; I do not know who else you have texted and I cannot see their replies to you. This is not how to plan something. If you are going to plan something, use the phone and voice call people and take responsibility to lead.

A to BCD: Meet at 6pm?
B to A: Can’t, coming at 7pm
C to A: When is everyone else meeting
D to A: Sure
A to B: ok
A to C: 6pm or 7pm
A to D: ok
B to A: is C coming?

You get the picture and why I might suddenly get aggravated.

Now don’t get me wrong, text messaging is a fantastic technology. When travelling it is the best way to get a hold of people, or a quick message such as “We are here” or “am coming” or “address is xxxx”. Just not every text conversation should continue as a text conversation. Take it upon yourself to stop, think about what the other person might be feeling and go voice as appropriate.

I hope this guide is useful, your mileage may vary.


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