No one likes rules until they are broken and the hurt is on you; then you want someone to enforce them. With texting, like so many other things in the uncharted universe of social media, there is nothing like Moses’ 10 Commandments to set the standard for acceptable social discourse. So, doing my imitation of Moses, I have come up with Twelve Timely Rules for Texting. At the end, I invite you to add your own just in case I missed something while atop my own private Mt. Sinai.
- The Rule of Length. If you want to carry on a conversation, call. That is what telephones were originally invented for. Texting is primarily for brief messaging, not for an extended conversation.
- The Golden Rule: Do not call in response to a text message unless rule 1 above applies. If someone texts you it usually means they probably do not want a long discussion unless they are bored.
- The Rule of Response: Always respond. Yes, I know it’s sometimes inconvenient to respond, but it is the polite thing to do, unless, of course, you don’t want to stay friends with the person then just pretend you didn’t get their text.
- The 24 Hour Rule: If it takes the person you text more than 24 hours to get back to you that means you have at least the same amount of time to respond to them. Do NOT get upset with someone for not responding to you in a timely fashion if you ignored their t
- ext for a longer than usual period of time.
- The 2.4 Second Rule: If it takes someone two days to respond to your text, don’t respond immediately, like within 2.4 seconds, because you do not want to look desperate, especially if you are in a dating relationship. Take some time to think about an appropriate response.
- The 2 Text Rule: If you text someone two times and they don’t respond, what do you think they are telling you? They are ignoring your texts for one reason: they don’t want to talk to you. So stop texting them. Immediately.
- The PO’d Rule: Do not text in anger. You might think that because you are behind your iPhone screen that you are less accountable for what you say. You are not. And remember, texts live forever and can come back to bite you. Perhaps the best thing about texting is that you can put some real time between the stimulus and response.
- The WTF Rule: do not start a conversation you do not want to finish. It is rude. It makes the other person think, WTF?
- The Discount Rule: If someone calls you, do not ignore their call and then send a quick text message. They want to talk and you discount them by sending a text? Not right. Not polite, unless, of course, you are in a situation where you cannot take their call but you can text.
- The Rule of Appropriate Response: If someone texts you saying, “Hey, wassup? Miss U”, you must respond with more than, “Hi.”
- The All Caps Rule: NEVER TEXT IN ALL CAPS. Why? For two reasons, first of all it seems like you are angry or bossy. Second, it is difficult to read.
- The Everything is NOT Funny Rule: Don’t use “lol” so often, in fact, hardly ever. My granddaughter breaks this rule every time she sends me a text. The other day she texted me, “I hate my job. LOL.” Somehow, I don’t think she was laughing.
So, there you go – my Twelve Timely Rules for Texting. What do you think: LOL? WTF? Ha? Perhaps you have a rule to add to the top 12. Unlike Moses, my rules did NOT come from God so they can be add to and deleted should a correction need to be made. Let me know by leaving your message below.