Thought Catalog

The Top 10 Things You Shouldn’t Text

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According to Wikipedia, the text message was invented in the late 1980s to enhance mobile communication for the deaf – sort of like how the Internet was invented for NASA but worked out really well for porn.

Here, to help everyone behave a little better, are the Top Ten things you should never communicate in 140 characters.

(Note: the below only applies to people and situation you care about, or are trying to seem like you care about).

Big Secrets

The “forward” feature was invented to make it easy to send an exact copy of a text to many, many people. It also very conveniently allows you to alter the original message to take out things like, “Don’t tell anyone but…” for example. Tread lightly.

Sincere Apologies

Not like, “sorry I didn’t make it out last night, totally crashed.” That’s valid. More like, “I’ve been thinking about our fight and it really was dick of me to ignore you at that party cuz I was pissed from the night before.” That’s invalid, over the character limit, and bound to send you back to the doghouse for at least another day. Also, it’s not an apology.

Birthday wishes to really good friends

Please just call. And if you go to voicemail, please leave a nice message. Yes, modern times have made it acceptable and common to handle things the quick and easy way, but for certain people, acceptable and common is not enough. Take one minute out of your life and let your really close friend know you’re happy they were born.

And if you have to ask yourself if the person is a good enough friend to call versus text, they’re not.

Legit Congratulations

See above. Replace “you’re happy they exist” with “you’re so proud they won an Emmy.”

Pictures of your privates and/or brand new engagement ring

The boobs shot will get passed around like hot foreign athletes in an Olympic Village. The engagement ring will just annoy the shit out of whomever you send it to.

Passive aggressive fight starters

“Um, r u dead or just ignoring me?”

Responses to passive aggressive fight starters

“Just ignoring u”

Fact: The fastest way to escalate a fight is to conduct it over a medium that doesn’t allow for tone. Text, IM, Gchat, email, BBM – all instruments that will further the fight.

Condolences

It’s hard to convey true sorrow for any kind of loss on a 3×3 inch screen, unless what was lost is someone else’s dignity. In that case “Dude that chick was busted” works just fine.

Break-Ups

Don’t do this. Ever. If you’re asking “why?” then you don’t deserve to be in a relationship with another human.

Initiation of a first date

Last because it’s sure to elicit the most eye rolls. Listen, I think text is a wonderful tool for sending snippets of info to speed up communication and save cell phone minutes (if those even still exist). I also acknowledge that it’s very nerve-wracking to make that first date set-up call and very easy to type, “Hey, it’s Joe from last night. Want 2 hang Fri?” Bottom line, if you’re too nervous to call me, you’re too nervous to date me. TC mark

image – Dan Zen
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  • Alexandr Barnett

    I broke up with a girlfriend over text. I only did it that way because I knew it would piss her off. It’s a very effective method.

    • Shawn

      Dude, it was sure to piss her off even *more* that way. Everyone, no matter how sensitive they are, deserves better.

    • Guest

      Reference above to ” you don’t deserve to be in a relationship with another human.”

    • a.

      People like you are a disgrace to the human race. You did her a favor by breaking up with her.

    • Tiffany

      OHH I get it!  That was a joke.  Ha ha.  You’re a funny one Alexandr! 

  • Library Worker

    I’ve been thinking about this recently, how we do everything through text now and it’s so rude and impersonal and horrible and they never ever would have done things like this in the past. 

    But then I remember that before a certain time, most people didn’t have telephones, and traveling was even more difficult and expensive than it is now! So what did people do? They wrote letters to each other! Or sent telegrams. Hell, it was totally acceptable to send your regrets for a wedding R.S.V.P. via Western Union telegrams if it meant it would get to the recipient on time.I’m tired of people ragging on me for communicating seriously through facebook messages and sms. If the other person is willing to also take it seriously, I don’t see what’s so bad about it. 

    • http://twitter.com/kaimcn Kai

      Text messages are not letters. They have character limits and don’t take a week to travel and they are not personal in the way a letter is. A letter takes effort. A text takes almost none. Unless you’re agonizing over the right way to fit something important into 140 characters. In which case, write a damn letter, or at least take it to a message of some variety.

      • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

        A summer ago I was forced to write letters to my best friend who was denied the use of electronics while training for the Army…it’s so damn satisfying exchanging letters with a friend, and knowing he had to do extra push ups because you didn’t get the postage right.

      • http://twitter.com/kaimcn Kai

        I looove letters! I don’t get many, but I exchange postcards with a few friends and it’s the best (though hella expensive to cross the border with the US)! There’s the thrill of receiving a message and the fun of composing one. And when I don’t know what to say, I just make a small postcard and let the art do the talking.
        Let’s bring back mail!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511929890 Nicole Mullins

        Maybe it’s cheating, but I just use the apple “Cards” app, that send out printed, embossed, or handwritten cards from my phone.

        Basically, if I can’t talk to you face to face, the last thing I want to do is be chained to my phone, distracted by my surroundings, sharing my conversation with everyone in vacinity (forcing, rather)… I consider it far worse than texting, and more likely, even less personal. So I refuse to answer. Texting is convenient, I can respond at leisure rather than being interrupted when an unexpected call comes in, and give my responses more time and thought. It’s no replacement for face to face, but a significantly less annoying alternative to phone calls in the interim.

      • http://twitter.com/kaimcn Kai

        I’m fully with you on how much the phone sucks, especially in public. It’s weird now to think that in my high school years, I’d spend hours and hours with that thing between my shoulder and ear. At uni, I started to depend on IMs (which really only worked if you could run to your dorm room between classes), and now I swear by texts. The thing is, if I have to say something long (more than 2 messages of characters), I’d rather send an email (or a facebook message) so that I can say everything that I want without having the person respond to one note before I’ve typed/sent the next one. Thankfully, smartphones make this pretty possible.

        As a public transit user, I don’t understand people who talk the length of their journey. If I get a call on the bus or train, I rarely answer. If I do, it’s usually just to tell the person I’ll call them back. Phones as phones are definitely full of suck.

    • Lenni

      This isn’t even comparable. Writing a letter and sending something via post not only takes a significant amount of time but also used to cost quite a bit of money. Then or now, they aren’t the same concept at all.

  • B Wagner03

    HA! So true… If only more people followed super simple, seemingly obvious codes of conduct when texting. Especially loved the part about asking on a first date, as I just composed a blog on the topic yesterday – texting and/ or smartphone etiquette when out on a date or asking one out on a date. 

    Last point likely to get eye rolls sure, but I couldn’t agree more! And, I totally don’t think it’s asking a great deal of the person who’s requesting your presence out with them, that they consider the option of actually picking up the phone to call.http://sofiie.com/tellALL/2011/11/to-text-or-not-to-text-that-is-the-question/

  • Great Kate

    I don’t know I would like to think that the reason they sent a “Hey, it’s Joe from last night. Want 2 hang Fri?”, was not because they were nervous but because there were more six recipents, hense no specific girls names being used hahaha

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/engleprunt engleprunt

    I’d like to add another ‘do not text’ item to this list. NO MARATHON TEXTS. This means they are so fucking long that you don’t bother reading more than the first few sentences or ignore the next 4 texts received to finish the entire message (if the person send has a major character limit on their phone). I have an ex-girlfriend that insists on communicating this way and it is infuriating! I tend not to respond anymore, even with a one sentence text as to not incite further marathon bullshit.

  • Ali

    I would rather set up a date over text, just because I hate talking on the phone.  I’m fine talking to you in person, but if you call me, chances are I won’t answer.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511929890 Nicole Mullins

      I’m the same way. Talking on the phone for me is torture. Give me face-to-face conversation, or texting that I can respond to at leisure; but phone calls…  are a special kind of hell.

    • Textgirl2

      Agreed. Especially when setting up a date because sometimes you break up over the phone and details get lost in the conversation.  Being able to read the time and location one time is so much more convenient than having to repeat it over the phone.

  • Lenni

    Library Worker,

    writing a letter not only takes time but it also used to cost a significant amount of money to send a western union or a letter. Sending an email or a letter…we still do have a postal service that can, in fact, mail things for us, is far more thoughtful than a text. It’s not even comparable whether in yhe past or now.

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    Not sure how to delete a comment, only edit…so you get this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

    Nudies of myself.  To anyone.  Unless you want a re-enactment of Oedipus. 

  • Rishtopher

    In response to the condolences part: I think this is ok ONLY when (for some unknown reason) your friend decides to spill their heart out/hit you with some serious stuff that happened via text. 

    Why don’t you just call though? All I can say is “Oh, that sucks!” and then I look like I don’t care enough.

    • Shawn

      Set a good example if you don’t like them pouring their heart out via text and call them in response, silly! Oi.

      • Rishtopher

        My friends and I end up talking about it in person anyway lol.

         What I meant was I look unsympathetic in the moment. I usually get a stream of texts when this happens so I make the assumption that they can’t call. I guess a better question would’ve been “why don’t you just call when you have the time?” 

  • Carriezimm

    I agree with your comments, but I feel like you’re confusing tweets and texts. Texts don’t have 140 character limins – tweets do. Texts don’t have a character limit. Get your lingo straight!

    • Molly

      That depends on your phone, actually. All of my phones the past few years have had character limits – granted, you can send an unfinished text and finish it in another.

  • http://www.myheartandmyskull.tumblr.com Lauren

    BEST: “Bottom line, if you’re too nervous to call me, you’re too nervous to date me.”

  • Poop

    Do a little research before you blog? Please? It took me 3 seconds on Google to verify that an SMS has a 160 character limit and a Tweet has a 140 character limit. An MMS has a 300-600kb limit… Good points in the article besides that.

    • Crystal

      Really? You sound like a royal twat.

  • Ariel

    Sometimes my fights with my boyfriend get worse because we send and receive passive aggressive texts. I don’t know if we can ever avoid this because I am inherently passive aggressive by I will definitely try knowin how this is not only my problem but also a huge texting technology gap.

  • Twichicj

    it’s good to talk in person but for birthday calls,  if  you close   friend’s   birthday falls on  work  on co/op placement and  they frown on  you using phones during that time, a quick text is the best you can do. unless you  call them during your break

  • Chynna Joy

    I died at passive aggressive fight starters.

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    […] https://thoughtcatalog.com/2011/the-top-10-things-you-shouldnt-text/ and the briefly and the first picture presented […]

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    […] important in polite circles. It forms part of the expected wedding etiquette. Informally, text messages, emails, or even verbal confirmations may be […]

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