Nowadays, most of us use texting or send voice messages as our preferred method of communication — in fact, getting a call can feel downright quaint. But just because texting is a pretty informal way of messaging doesn’t mean you can completely skip your p’s and q’s. Here are some texting tips to abide by in 2024. But of course, you do you — it’s your wireless party, so send a “K” if you want to.
What is texting etiquette, exactly?
Since the first text was sent, all the way back in the late 1900s (December 1992, to be precise), our attitudes and the ways we text have shifted over time. While there is no Miss Manners for texting, there are some tips on texting you may want to keep in mind.
Text etiquette 101 for 2024
Keep texts short and sweet
We’ve all been there: a string of gigantic paragraphs from your SO, your BFF or (shudder) your mom. If you have a lot to say over a text message, it might be better to just call up the person or leave a voice memo. Or at least break it up into bite-sized chunks so it doesn’t look like the SMS version of War and Peace.
Don’t use “K”
However, there is such a thing as too short. “K”, a shortened version of “OK”, is known to strike fear in the hearts of many. Avoid at all costs as it can feel a little curt.
Check before texting the wrong person
Don’t send a pic of your latest rager to your boss or send a gossipy screenshot to the person you’re gossiping about. Always double-check you’re texting the right person before you fire off a text. Think of it almost like a work email (with more emojis, natch).
To punctuate or not to punctuate?
For many, punctuation isn’t a necessary element of texting. In fact, for some younger users, periods can even come across as antagonistic. Punctuation will most likely depend on who you’re texting, whether it’s your Gen Alpha cousin or your grandma.
If you need to go deep, consider calling over texting
Texting is great for communicating when to meet up or what to bring to a party. It’s not-so-great for emotionally-charged conversations or arguments, because texting lacks a lot of nuance (the eye-roll emoji can be particularly dangerous). If the conversation you’re having is an important one, consider calling up or video-chatting the recipient or meeting in-person if possible.
Don’t get kicked out of the group chat: group text etiquette tips
One-on-one texting is one thing, but when you bring several people into the convo, the group chat can quickly turn into a quagmire that’ll have you rushing to turn on Do Not Disturb. Here are some texting etiquette tips for texting with multiple people.
Keep different schedules in mind
Some people are west coast, some people are east coast, some people are international… wherever they are, chances are your group chat has someone in a different time zone (even just temporarily). Be mindful that dashing off a text at 6 p.m. for you might be 2 a.m. for them.
Stay on topic
Just like with IRL conversations, a discussion can be quickly derailed by someone switching topics. If everyone was chatting about the Bachelor finale, suddenly bringing up politics or whether people should put pineapple on pizza might completely derail the conversation. Do your part to steer the conversation back to the main idea without being rude or combative.
Muting is always an option
Has the group chat already spiraled out of control? Are people threatening to spoil the end of your fave show? Or maybe new messages are popping up at an insane rate and keeping up with the flow of the conversation is turning into a full-time job. Whatever it is, it’s always okay to throw the group chat on mute. You might even let them know you’ll need to take a break for a little bit.
Avoid the eggplant: emoji etiquette 101
Introduced in Japan in the late nineties, emojis are now a standard part of most text convos. Here’s how to navigate a world full of thumbs downs, eggplants and smiling poops.
Emoji use isn’t universal
While emojis make total sense when communicating with friends and family, they might not be as appropriate for your boss or other professional connections. You should also consider any potential negative implications an emoji might have to the recipient based on cultural, gender or other differences. What we’re saying is, don’t sling that eggplant emoji around.
Emoji meaning isn’t universal
Just as emoji usage isn’t universal, the meaning of certain emojis might differ depending on the recipient. For example, this emoji ???? means please or thanks to Japanese citizens, while others may use it for a prayer or a high-five. Consider the person’s POV when using emojis (or when trying to decipher their emojis).
Emoji-ze for maximum impact
Less is more when it comes to emojis. Don’t make your message unreadable by throwing in a million emojis. Also don’t rely solely on emojis — if you find your side of the chat contains only thumbs up emojis, you might want to reconsider your emoji usage.
Congrats, you’ve passed “Texting Etiquette 101”
Now that you know how to elevate your text game, learn how to further finesse your phone etiquette skills. And if you’re new to us in general, tap the button below for a lil’ Mint 101.