The first text message was said to have been sent in 1992 and, like all forms of mass communication, new forms of etiquette have taken a while to develop. We're coming up on thirty years of texting each other as a species and we still don't all seem to be on the same page as far as etiquette is concerned.
Just a heads up, this isn't going to be one of those articles that talk about how you should wait three days or whatever before you text a guy or some bullshit like that. This list of texting etiquette focuses more on easing the lines of communication and demonstrating how to be a considerate texter in the modern age.
So, if you think you might be coming off the wrong way in your texts to potential hookups, you're probably breaking one or more of these unspoken texting rules without even realizing it.
1. Keep It In Your Damn Pants (Unless They Say Otherwise)
Okay, let's just get this right out of the way: DON'T SEND UNSOLICITED NUDES!
If someone wants to see your wang, they'll ask. Getting a nude or dick pic can be a bit jarring if it just comes out of nowhere. Aside from just being off-putting, it straight-up reeks of self-obsession and narcissism. Not a great foot to start off on, guys. Keep your package in its package until someone asks you to unwrap it. Your dick isn't that special, promise!
2. Fun Fact: You Can Use Your Phone To Actually Talk To People
I know that probably sounds pretty out there, but it's true! You can actually use your phone to open up a verbal line of communication without having to type. It's not some crazy new feature, either! In fact, there was a time when phones were used exclusively for that purpose. Weird, right?
O.K., that's enough snark. Seriously, though. Some things are just easier to do via speech. For instance, making plans takes a lot of back and forth communication and is better suited to verbal conversation. Simply confirming plans is better for texting because it's just a quick message that gets the job done in one go.
An easy rule of thumb is to keep it verbal if you're going to have to say more than just a couple of lines of text to get the job done. Which brings us to our next topic...
3. Some People Don't Like Texting Very Much
Look, I get it. Texting is seen as the modern way of communicating, but that doesn't mean it's the best or that everyone is down for texting all goddamned day. Personally, I literally cringe when my phone sounds an alert.
Try to keep an eye on how the guy you are texting responds to your texts. If they seem a bit curt or disinterested, they might not be down for a text storm at the moment- Give them some space. You'll find this is a theme with a lot of the more introverted guys out there. So, if you like shy boys, be ready to nut up and make a phone call and try to respect their valued privacy.
Either way, try to match the guy who you are texting's appetite for texting to avoid annoying them. Whether they're an introvert or not, sometimes they're just not down to text in a given moment. Respect that.
4. Running Late? Let Him Know!
One of the good- and bad- things about the modern era is the fact that we are all just a few taps on a screen away from each other. So, there's no excuse for being late without letting someone know what's going on.
If you're expected somewhere and you hit a snag, be a peach and fire off a text to let your guy know what's going on. If a guy leaves me waiting at a bar for a half-hour and doesn't say anything about it until they get there, I'm probably not going to fuck him, just out of spite. I guarantee I'm not the only one, too!
5. Could You Give It A Minute?!
Most guys aren't going to be waiting by their phone in anticipation of the glorious moment that your text arrives. People have shit to do and they can't always get back to you immediately when a text comes in. Fucking respect that!
Nothing comes off as desperate more than a guy who sends a text and waits about five minutes before sending another text saying some dumb shit like, "You there?!" or "Hello?".
That being said, there are limits. Obviously, if a whole day goes by without a response you should probably check back in. If they don't reply to that message, you're probably just being ignored and should move on.
6. All Good Things Come To An End. It's Nice To Know When They Do, Though.
Sometimes things come up and you have to ghost out of a convo midway through without saying something about it. That's fine now and then, but it shouldn't be your standard practice.
If you're having a conversation with someone and you aren't going to be able to reply for a while, let them know you are stepping away from the conversation so they don't sit around waiting for replies that aren't going to come for hours.
A simple, "I gotta go for a bit. Let's pick this up later", is all it takes to be considerate of the person at the other end and let them know they are free to step away from their phone and go about their business.
7. "Hey!" Isn't A Message Worth Sending
Fuck off with the "Hey!" messages already, guys. Seriously, cut it the fuck out. If someone sends me a "hey" text, I instantly know they don't really have anything to say and are just looking to fuck around texting back and forth about stupid bullshit that has zero bearings on either of our lives.
That's fine too sometimes, but there are better ways to initiate that conversation than an infuriating "Hey" that puts the responsibility for starting the conversation on me when I wasn't even the one who opened the lines of communication, to begin with.
If you want to bullshit with a guy, at least be clever about it and use your words.
8. Texting Is A Terrible Way To Express Your Feelings
Unless you're the poet laureate or some shit, chances are that you aren't going to express your true feelings effectively through text. So much is lost through non-verbal communication that it is almost impossible to properly convey deeper emotions.
If you have something heavy or emotional on your mind that you need to talk about, a thousand text messages aren't the way to do it. Even talking on the phone isn't a good enough medium for heartfelt communication. Subtle clues that make up the bulk of human communication are lost when texting or speaking over the phone. Your facial expressions, body language, and tone all play a major role in effective communication and they can only be displayed in a face-to-face conversation.
If it's that important to you, you just have to put on your big-boy pants and do that shit in person.
9. I Can't Believe I'm About To Say This But...
... don't use periods at the end of your sentences. Oof! There, I did it!
As a writer, I am conflicted about this one, but communication is always about clarity and putting a period at the end of a sentence is, according to studies, a great way to send the message that you are passive-aggressive. Nobody wants that. If you're going to be aggressive, do it aggressively. What's the point otherwise?
On the other end of things, exclamation points are said to convey enthusiasm and excitement and are said to send a more upbeat vibe to the person on the other end. So, put an exclamation point on the end if you're excited and just leave out the end punctuation altogether if you're just trying to be conversational. I guess periods aren't just for ending sentences anymore!
10. Speaking Of Passive Aggression...
Another way to send the wrong message and come off as passive-aggressive is to send one-word responses. If a guy sends you an exciting text and you just reply with a terse, "Okay", they're going to get the impression you couldn't find a fuck to give with two hands and a flashlight. For example:
Twinkie McCutiepatootie: "Hey! I was thinking we could go check out some live music tonight at my friend's venue! He gave me passes to the VIP section and we can hang out with the band and drink all the free booze we want!"
See what I mean?
11. Finally- And I Really Shouldn't Have To Say This...
For the love of all that is pure and good in this world, put your goddamned phone away when you are meeting up with someone. It's gotten to the point that I will just get up and leave without a word when guys can't stay away from their phones long enough to actually hang out with me.
We made plans to hang out together- I didn't come to hang out and watch your text with god knows who instead of having a face-to-face convo with me, as planned. Put the phone away or you will definitely send the message that you have better things to do, more interesting people to talk to, and couldn't care less about the person sitting in front of you. You're just being a dickweed.