The relationship rules have changed in the digital age, and it’s easy to make a social faux pas. Luckily, understanding a few texting guidelines can help you avoid awkward blunders. Read on to learn the basics of texting etiquette and how to keep your messages on track, so they will always work to your advantage. Be in control of the situation, whether you’re texting your boss, your relatives, or the amazing person you just met at Starbucks.

Like all other forms of manners, texting etiquette is dependent on who you’re interacting with. For example, during a face-to-face conversation, you would probably speak to your boss differently than you would speak to someone you’re flirting with. The same principle applies to texting; there is a place and a time for everything, even that beloved “:-)”.

Let’s get started and take a closer look at what’s appropriate and what’s not when it comes to text messaging etiquette.

Inside Joking…via Text

If you’re a people-watcher, you’ve certainly noticed how different groups of friends treat each other. Consider the behavior of a college student having coffee with a new roommate in the morning, and then having lunch with an old high school friend later in the day. The banter between the student and their new roommate versus their childhood friend is very different.

Why? Because they feel more comfortable talking to their longtime friend, they enjoy inside jokes, and have a lot of common history together.

But it goes even further than chit chat. If you peeked at text exchanges between the pairs, you’d find that they were also drastically different. It’s not unusual for people of all ages to develop their own special “text language” with their close friends. This may even include personalized acronyms, expressions and words with hidden meaning.

After months or even years of texting someone, it’s usually easy to tell when they’re joking and when they’re not. For instance, someone may leave out punctuation when they’re being sarcastic, and include it only when they’re being serious.

You might even create your own emoji protocol, starting messages with a certain emoji, signing off with another. Or, you might create your own meaning for specific emojis. For example, the guy with glasses might be Eric, the hot nerd who lives next door.

Texting Etiquette Rules For Someone New

Text messaging etiquette becomes important when you have someone new in your life, such as a new roommate, or a friend from the tennis club, or someone you’ve just started dating. Keep in mind that when texting someone for the first time, you should try to avoid texting anything vague. If you are teasing or joking, then make sure it’s obvious by including “LOL,” “haha,” or an emoji.

Use your best judgment to choose the tone of your texts. Think about how you would speak to the recipient in person, and let that guide you. When in doubt, you can rarely go wrong by being straightforward and polite.

Don’t Ruffle Your Own Feathers

On the other hand, if you’re the recipient of a cryptic text from a friend, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Never assume they are antagonizing you until you see them in person and find out for sure.

For example, imagine you’ve received the following text:
“You’re not coming out tonight? I’m shocked.”

Before you get too worked up, consider that this text could have two different intentions.

1. A complaint. If you interpret this message as being aggressive, then don’t make the situation worse by starting a text war. The easiest and least aggravating course of action is to discuss the issue next time you see the other person. Or, give them a quick call.

2. Just teasing. Are you familiar with their sense of humor, and interpret the message as teasing? Then by all means, tease them back! “I’ll show you shocked. Just wait until you see the score on my physics test Friday.”

Where Are You In Your Relationship?

Texting etiquette depends a lot on the depth of your relationship. If you are just getting to know someone, or it’s a professional situation, err on the side of being too conservative. Don’t bombard their inbox with rapid fire messages, don’t overuse acronyms or emojis and make sure your humor is clearly “marked”.

If you are texting a good friend you have more wiggle room. However, you should always respect their communication preferences and boundaries.

Etiquette For Relationship Just Starting Off

Keep your texts light and cheery with someone you’re just getting to know. Since phones are considered a private sanctuary for many people, don’t spam them. Be conscious of their personal space.

The goal of your texts should be to position yourself as someone fun and sexy. Creative, flirty texts are a great way to build that impression. The best way to project this dynamic persona is to keep your texts upbeat, funny, and interesting. Stay away from graphic content and anything that could cause tension, such as politics.

Make it a point not to drag your new texting partner down with complaints throughout the day. There is a time and place for everything. Save the grumpy stories about your nasty neighbor or the ridiculous deadline at work for a close friend.

So, how can you keep it interesting? Try texting your crush the same intriguing, fun, flirty tidbits that you would say to them during a date. For example: “I was just thinking how the blue shirt you wore the other night really brought out your eyes. I can’t seem to get the image out of my mind.” Or, ask them for their opinion or help “My best friend from college is coming to town tonight and she loves Mexican food. Any good recommendations?

Long Term Relationship Texting Etiquette

Deeper relationships also have their own texting etiquette. If you and your partner send racy texts to each other during the workday and they work in an open space, then check to be sure you have privacy before sending especially graphic messages, pictures, or video.

Why? Because sometimes there’s no way others can avoid accidentally glancing at someone else’s screen. While sexy texts between you and your partner are fine, do you really want his entire office to see a close up shot of you in your new red bra?

Texting Professionally

Texting etiquette flirting

As technology advances, texts have become a valid way of contacting coworkers and colleagues. When sending these types of text messages, try to keep the tone of your message as professional and precise as possible. You’ll make a stellar impression by using the same grammar and punctuation that you’d use in a company email.

Likewise, be professional when you’re on the receiving end. It is important to respond in a timely manner. These are not social messages; there’s a good chance that they are time-sensitive, and that the person on the other end of the phone is anxiously waiting for your response.

Watch Your Fingers

Everyone has good days and bad days, and everyone complains now and then. However, keep in mind that even if you’re close friends with one of your team members, never text anything negative about work or the people you are collaborating with.

With today’s advances in technology, it’s way too easy to forward an entire thread of texts to be used as “evidence” against someone. You never know where your texts might end up. When your professional reputation is at stake, always be careful of what you text, and to whom you text it.

Use Common Sense

Texting etiquette dating

Text messages are sent for many reasons:

  • They are faster and more convenient than email.
  • It’s a good way to score a timely response from someone with a busy schedule.
  • They’re a handy solution when phone calls just aren’t an option.

So, how fast should you respond? Unlike a voice mail or an instant message, texts usually are not expected to be returned immediately. The etiquette for timing your texts depends on the urgency of the message, when it was sent, and who sent it.

In the work environment, it’s impolite to wait until nighttime or the next day to respond to a text that was sent the previous morning, unless you are traveling or caught up in meetings. What other work related texting etiquette rules should you take into consideration?

Take note, there is one golden rule that you should follow in any situation: No matter what, never ask the recipient of your text why they’re not responding. Nine times out of ten, this question will only add stress to what is probably already a hectic and busy day.

Another rule of thumb is to avoid late-night texts. Unless it’s an emergency, never text someone in the middle of the night, or whenever they may be asleep. Texts could be synced to an audio alert that’s just as loud as a person’s ringtone.

Be Forgiving

Text messages are a fast and convenient method of communication; however, they aren’t always perfect. So, before you lose your cool at what you perceive as a breach in texting etiquette, take a minute to consider the following:

  • The recipient could be in a building with bad reception.
  • A shockingly abrupt message from a friend may have been the result of accidentally hitting Send before the message was complete.
  • Confusing or garbled text could be the result of a phone’s Auto correct function running amok.

As you communicate with friends, family, colleagues, and romantic partners, keep these simple rules of text etiquette in mind. If you are ever unsure about what to do, or what to say, then use the golden rule and put yourself in their place.

Luckily, many text related blunders can be avoided easily by using some good old-fashioned common sense. Texting should never completely replace face-to-face conversations; however, it is a wonderful addition to your communication arsenal.

Proper texting Etiquette Makes You A “Must Have”

Texting, when combined with creativity, a clear goal, and careful planning, can make a huge impact on your romantic life. You can turn your texts into something so powerful that your partner will not be able to get you out of their mind – minutes, hours, even days after your message flashed on their screen. If you would like to learn how to text to your advantage, then check out my eBook French Seduction Made Easy, and don’t forget to always apply good texting etiquette!


Claudia Cox

Claudia Cox is a modern communication expert who gives singles and couples alike the tools they need to improve their relationships. She is the creator of The Text Weapon Texting Club, and the author of French Seduction Made Easy. She loves the outdoors, baking tasty treats for friends, and of course, texting.
Learn more about French Seduction Made Easy.

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