The text message has become a critical social tool for everyday life. However, many fail to realize that there is proper messaging etiquette to be exercised when communicating via text. For instance, some might use a few too many winky-face emoticons; others may carry on marathon texting conversations in public while letting real-world interaction pass them by. Then there are the people who unknowingly send late-night texts with B.C.I. (That means Booty Call Implications, for those of you who don’t watch “Community.”) Whatever the texting faux pas may be, it can be extremely annoying for those of us who loathe pointless mass texts, responses with just “kk,” and people who TyPe LyKe DiS. That being said, let us all take a moment to reflect on our own texting manners, to ensure that we aren’t inadvertently equated with “that douchey iPhone guy” in the future.
For starters, flirting via text is truly an art form. There is just something incredibly fun about it—and no, I’m not talking about sexting (um, gross), but rather those adorable, witty texts that require a little more effort than the “Waddup?” texts you might receive on a Saturday night.
There is some debate over how long to wait before responding to a text. Some people make a case for the “five minute rule,” so that it won’t come off as if you are just waiting around for the phone to ring. But that rule is so lame. Prompt text response time is actually an attractive quality: do not feel obligated to wait around in order to appear like you have more important things going on. Chances are, if someone is texting you, they already think you’re at least somewhat cool—so just go ahead and reply. The exception is if you are simply waiting for inspiration to write a good response. In that case, take your sweet time.
The key is to remember that there’s only so much flirt-texting (flexting?) either party can handle. If you really want to chill with the other person, a simple “Wanna grab lunch tomorrow?” goes a long way. Ultimately, if you really want something from the other person, be clear about what you want and just ask. Well, except sex. Do not ask for sex over text, because there is no tactful way to do it without coming off as a Creepasaurus-Rex. I realize that the booty call text is practically one of the reasons text messaging was invented, and I fully support its function. However, if you choose to partake in such ventures, I implore you to attempt to come up with something a better than, “Yo, are you DTF?”
Before a night of drunken revelry, sometimes it’s best to just turn your phone off. Now, I know what you’re thinking (“Huh? That b*tch is crazy!”), but hear me out. These days, a sloppy text to the wrong person is almost as dangerous as drunk driving, and definitely as regrettable as drunk dialing. Remember that your girlfriend, Amy, and your boss, Andrew, are only one line apart in your contact list. One press of a button could turn that “I want you right now, baby” text into an embarrassing fiasco. Major awkies.
Many dating-advice columnists are advocates of the post-date text. However, since we’re talking about Claremont, where the word “date” is nearly a mythical concept, I will relate this instead to a more college-friendly idea: the post-hookup text. This type of text should occur immediately upon both parties returning to their respective dorms, and should read, “I had a good time with you tonight,” or something to that effect. Alternatively, a similar text sent could be sent the following day, to help ease the anxiety associated with that first post-hookup dining hall encounter.
In general, the unspoken rules of texting etiquette are self-explanatory. First, for those people who use their Crackberry like a prosthetic limb, you are quickly on your way to alienating the people around you and achieving Cyborg status, so quit the incessant texting. Secondly, acronyms are about as cool as wearing a helmet as a fashion accessory, and typing in ALL CAPS makes you look like you need an anger management seminar. Finally, if all else fails, do not forget the other capability of the mobile phone: to make calls. There’s nothing like good, old-fashioned, verbal communication.