Texting Etiquette

5 Feb

Now that you know how to write a text properly, let’s talk about actually sending those texts. People like to text. People like it when their texts get responses. This is something very basic  you should probably have learned by now. We’ve seen a lot of relationships, and we’ve come to the conclusions that most (but certainly not all) men are rather poor communicators, especially when their significant other is not immediately before their eyes. Ok, so you were busy, but it might be nice if you spared five seconds of your time to send her a sweet, thoughtful text that told her that you were thinking about her. Living at college in very close proximity to your significant other means that you should probably have some sort of communication every day. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend four hours together every night, but the very least that you can do is send her a text in the afternoon so that when she gets out of class, she knows that you care.

So what exactly counts as enough? It doesn’t have to be something sappy like, “I haven’t seen you in 10 hours, I miss you.” Just something like a memory, or “I was just thinking about you and wanted to see how you were doing” or “How’s your day going?” or a random observation on your life. Better yet, ask her if she’s free to hang out later so you can actually see each other. A relationship cannot survive on texting alone, and we therefore recommend that you see each other regularly. On the other hand, texting throughout the day demonstrates that you are letting this relationship exist even when you are not together. It is a way of showing that she can be in your life even when you two are apart.

Now if she sends you a text in the middle of the afternoon, you are expected to respond. Even though there might not be an explicit question in there, you are still expected to respond. And you should do so within an acceptable amount of time. Eight hours to send something back is a bit too much, and she’s probably been checking her phone for the last two of them, hoping for some sign that you are still alive. You don’t have to be an insta-texter (that’s an intant-texter, the kind that replies immediately to any text received. We’re talking like a couple of seconds), but two to four hours is a reasonable stretch. Did she say, “So I was just thinking of the time when we climbed to the top of Phelps” or “The radiators in the L and B room are so annoying” or “My TA is really mean”? These are not random observations. The sub-text is: I want to talk to you about the things that are happening in my life, but since you’re not here with me right now, I thought I would text you instead and it would be nice if you offered an observation/sympathy/condolence/even a ‘haha’ but especially nice if you suggested that we go get coffee later so I can actually see your face. Yup, all of those emotions were in that really short text. Short texts can be a sign that she is being passive aggressive, especially in they end with a period. Did she text, “fine.” in response to a question? That’s not good. In general, longer responses are better. If you are the type that has your phone growing out of your fingertips, she’s probably noticed, and if you fail to respond in a reasonable length of time, she’s going to think that you are purposefully ignoring her. You’re going to have a lot of explaining to do in that case.

Another note on texting is that when you two are together, back away from the phone. Put it down, don’t look at it. Out to dinner with the lady? Keep your phone in your jacket pocket, not on the table, not in your pants pocket (where it will distract you). You’re supposed to be spending time together, so focus your attention on her, not on the people that are interrupting your together-time. Of course, these rules apply to her as well. Take a time out from your smart-phone, Apple-product, Google-laced, Reddit-sponsored lives and experience the real world for just a little bit.

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One Response to “Texting Etiquette”

  1. Stan March 20, 2012 at 4:29 AM #

    A pretty good blog you have here. I really wish it were called “For Yale Men By Yale Women,” mostly because that’s what my brain remembers and I mistype the address every time I try to find this thing, but also because MEN COME FIRST you know? Unfortunate sex pun unintentional.

    Here’s a question that I could not think of a better place to ask: what the heck are we men supposed to do with tragically slow text/e-mail repliers? I know how the “last word” game works; keeping e-mails free from questions so your conversation partner has total decisive power over whether or not to keep the conversation going. But when they take 8 to 12 to 72 hours to respond, I can’t help but feel like a nuisance by responding within 10 minutes. Is there a lower bound of time in which we should be responding?

    And I disagree with your final point in the “fights” post. Synergizing is always and substantially better than compromising. Come on, haven’t you read Effective People?

    And what happened to being able to leave anonymous posts on blogs? I feel like I’m in China.

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