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10 Texting Habits You Need to Drop

We all have those friends we love very much, but sometimes just hate to text. Bad texting habits can happen to good people, and even those of us who fancy ourselves masters of text message etiquette invariably catch ourselves indulging in poor texting behavior from time to time. We've created a guide to help you avoid falling victim to these common texting misfires--or to gently suggest to someone you love it's time to put down the emojis. These are ten texting habits you should do your best to minimize.

1. OMG abbreviations
One of the most common missteps we see in texting is that of those texters who can't seem to get through a sentence without extraneous abbreviations. Be they abbreviations of full words or acronyms, these flubs are dated and dating. Once upon a time, saving space in texts was a widespread and financially very real concern. For most of us these days of restrictive character limits are long past, yet the habits sometimes linger. Abbreviations have a time and a place, but in excess they can make texts harder to understand and frustrating to read.

2. The multiple fire.
While condensing content into as few messages as possible is a relatively infrequent concern these days, this should not be taken as a challenge. If it can be said in one or two texts, there's no need to say it in nine. While occasional extra messages bearing forgotten details are no big deal, consistently expanding your thoughts to take up as much space as possible can be irritating, and even make your message harder to understand and follow. If your texts look like this...

Text #1: hey
Text #2: what are you up to tonight?
Text #3: Monica and I were thinking of going out for dinner
Text #4: let me know if you want to come!
Text #5: we're thinking of going at 7
Text #6: maybe closer to 8

...consider that you might just as easily say:

Text #1: Hey! Monica and I wanted to grab dinner at around 7 or 8 tonight. Let us know if you want to come!

Much better. You may even save yourself time by condensing messages!

3. The one-word response.
While there's value in being succinct, you should refrain from being too terse in your texts. Everything is a balance. The one-word response can be anything from awkward to frustrating to rude, depending on the context and how often a given texter repeats it. If you're too busy to carry a conversation or simply don't want to, it's best to say so, or at the least to politely excuse yourself. Of course, there are always exceptions; sometimes, a lone-word reply is appropriate, but it is often extraneous at best. Pay attention when you find yourself tapping out a single word in response, and text deliberately.

4. The one-emoji response.
I don't think I need to say much about this one.

5. On that subject, emojis are not words.
Emojis add a cute, fun element to many a text, and can even help texters clarify their meaning or tone, a particularly difficult thing to convey in any text-based communication. Let it be known that I take no issue with, and in fact embrace the emoji as a mode of expression. However, emojis were not quite intended to convey everything you wish to say. If you're firing off more strings of emojis than you are actual words, you may want to reconsider.

6. Letters also don't quite make the cut.
We've talked already about the drawbacks and benefits of abbreviations in text messages, but letters-as-abbreviations seem to substantiate their own category. Rushed texts and the ironic use of abbreviations are understandable, and even expected every now and then, but consistently turning your 'you's into 'u's and your 'are's into 'r's is no longer "in;" it can, in fact, confound your meaning and make your texts read as awkward, unprofessional, juvenile, or unintelligent. It's time to bring back the two extra letters.

7. k
I know what you're thinking-- "You've just singled out lone-letter words! Give it a rest!" No. 'K' is its own beast. I have so many questions for 'k.' How can one letter manage to be so aggressively curt, so brutally flippant? How do you comprise the most non-confrontational text message possible, and yet attack me so? And what have you done with the 'o'? Will we ever see its safe return? What has the 'o' ever done to you?

8. Avoiding the question.
Leaving behind the torrid, non-committal 'k,' we should discuss another non-committal response-- the vague, passive reply that neglects the other texter's intent. Say a new acquaintance or that cute new friend you made the other day texts asking what your plans are tomorrow, or to tell you what they're up to tonight. Sure, they never asked if you'd be joining them... but they asked if you'd be joining them. Forgo the "oh, cool," and respond accordingly!

9. Punctuation, punctuation, punctuation!
Texting is a pretty casual medium, and that's one of the beautiful things about it. But sometimes we get so casual that we stop making sense. If I can express one thing to the world before my time here expires, it is that commas are friends, not foes. I'd be even more delighted if I could convey the value of the semi-colon and the period. They truly only exist to help you say what you have to say by making your text that much clearer and less confusing. They don't bite-- I promise.

Alas, there can always be too much of a good thing; on the flip-side, excess punctuation can cause texts to read as jarring, awkward, or childish. Embrace that ellipsis and those exclamation marks as they deserve, but know when to use them, and be judicious.

10. Communication everywhere, nor any face-to-face.
The power of texting to faciliate and enhance communication is amazing, and we're constantly grateful for it. But no medium for contact will ever quite match up to good old face-to-face conversation. You know those moments when you're with friends, and you realize once all has gone quiet that everyone's on their phones? Don't be the first domino to fall, and when you find your friends in the throes of groupthink texting, call them out. Enjoy and embrace texting appropriately, but know when to put your phone away and pay attention to those in front of you.

About the Author -
Sharon Housley is the VP of Marketing for NotePage, Inc. a software company for communication software solutions. http://www.notepage.net

 

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