The Art of Texting

By Kim Giordano

Courtesy of CBS

Have you ever noticed how many unspoken rules there are when it comes to texting?

Texting, more than any other form of communication, is what most people use as their primary way to reach friends, family, a significant other, or someone they’re “talking to.” After countless nights of listening my friends worry if they sent a text back to a boy too quickly, I’m determined to breakdown these texting expectations and assumptions. As a side note, I feel as though most of these ideas really only apply to girls, as most of us tend to over think text messages. Boys however, don’t really seem to care as much.

The Period
The use of the very simple symbol “.” can really determine the mood of the text. Some people may use a period at the end of each text all the time, so this doesn’t apply to them. Usually though, if the person is a non-period texter and all of a sudden they put one at the end of a sentence, it’s usually assumed this person is mad at you. I’m not sure how this innocent punctuation mark, usually used to end a thought, has received such a bad rep in the texting world, but I’ve realized many people only reserve the use of it to indicate that they are pissed off at the person receiving their message.

The Time Interval
The frustrating and puzzling concept of waiting a certain amount of time before texting someone back usually only applies to when you happen to be texting someone you like, could like, are “talking to”, etc. Bottom line: you don’t want this person to think that you’re desperate or easily available, so you wait a certain amount of time before texting them back. In theory, this seems all good and well. You want to make this person work for it and sweat it out for a little, thinking you’re not going to respond. But in reality, this unspoken rule is incredibly annoying. You end up exchanging approximately four texts within the hour you’re texting, and it completely defeats the purpose of initiating a conversation, since you essentially aren’t even having one. The time at which you text is also very important, because the different times of the day hold different meanings. Texting someone you’re “talking to” in the morning can seem too aggressive and too late at night may be only taken as a booty call (especially if a midnight text reads “Hey what are you up to?”).

The Extra Letters
Why do so many of us add extra letters to words when we text? I think it’s the whole “seeming mad” that we want to avoid. I’m guilty of doing this too, when texting friends I usually will add an extra letter to the end of the last word of the text, for example: “okayy” or “suree”. Somewhere along the way, someone decided that “yeah” was just not enough, and that in order to indicate everything is just dandy, we need to add that extra “h”.

The “Haha”
I’m assuming other people do this too, but there are certain times when I add “haha” to a message when it’s not even funny. I think I do it to make the message appear less curt sounding. Or, if I feel like what I’m saying is slightly weird/awkward (especially when I’m texting a guy). I’ll add “haha” so he doesn’t think I’m a total nutcase.

All in all, this entire post could simply be taken as a couple of college aged girls, over-thinking and over-analyzing before sending a text to the opposite sex, but I’ve heard enough complaints about this art form to take it as good evidence. Texting can be stressful! When not executed in the very formulated and anticipated way that our generation has established as the “correct” way to text, signals could get mixed, and messages are misconstrued. Personally, I’m over it. I don’t know who decided texting would be our primary way of communicating, but I’m a part of that rare breed of people that would rather just call someone, rather than waiting 45 minutes for a response saying nothing more than “okay.”

Kim Giordano can be reached for comment at [email protected]