How to Handle Texting Snafus

You just had to send that text ASAP, didn’t you? It couldn’t wait.. But now you’ve realized that you texted an amorous message to your boss, or your grandmother. You can’t go back in time to erase it. But you can prevent future texting snafus. Here’s how.

Richie Frieman
7-minute read
Episode #253

I have never understood how texting became so popular. It’s like a devolution of communication. When people could only write letters to each other, they used to say, “I wish there was a way I could talk to someone far away whenever I want.” Then the phone came along and took care of that. Just over a century later came texting, which involves using a phone but without actually talking into it. Anyone else see the irony?.

The popularity of texting has made its use so casual, that the true meaning of your text has gone away.  We hardly even use words in our texts anymore, only emoticons. It’s become a much faster way of blowing a person off, too, rather than having to tell them something unpleasant to their face. And to top it all off, people have resorted to texting wherever, whenever they wish – like in the car, while driving, on a highway, using just their knees to steer. Yikes!

See also: What to Do After Sending an Embarrassing Text

An naturally, since we are now texting all the time, everywhere, there is a far greater chance to messing up and sending a totally inappropriate text message to someone who won’t think it’s funny. So before you cause an embarrassing situation, check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for properly handling (and preventing) a texting snafu:

Tip #1: The Angry Text Snafu

How many times have you said to yourself, “I am going to tell them exactly what I think of them!” then, when you see that person, you back down? Don’t lie. We’ve all done it. So you think, “Well, I’ll just text them my feelings!” Then, you hit the caps lock button and off you go, telling the person “like it is.”

This happened to my friend Drew. His cousin promised to pick him up from the airport. When Drew arrived, he called his cousin and got voicemail. He waited half an hour and called again. No response. Waited some more. Still nothing. Suddenly his phone bleeped and he saw a text message from his cousin. It said that he was sorry but he met a girl at a bar during happy hour and lost track of time. Furious at his rude cousin, Drew hailed a cab and on his way home, proceeded to send 11 angry texts – in a row – expressing his true feelings of being neglected. Was he right? Well, yes…and no. Yes, he should have been upset for being ditched. However, was an 11-text rant really the proper, adult thing to do?

Some of you are saying, “Sure it was! His cousin is a jerk!” Whereas others are probably saying, “Yeah he’s a jerk…but 11 hate-filled texts?” I hear both sides – but have to side with the latter of the two choices. Sending a rant-filled text is a major snafu and highly improper. I’m not against sending a stern text that expresses your feelings but it has to be intelligible and remain composed. Plus, one will do. Not two, not three, and certainly not 11! I mean how many times does a person have to read your colorful selection of expletives before they understand how upset you are?

See also: Is Swearing Bad Manners?

Emotions are hard to contain and texting is immediately gratifying. But that’s when texting gets out of control. It’s improper to rant in a text and hide behind the luxury of not having to say what’s on your mind to someone’s face. When you feel so enraged you have to curse via text, step back, think about it, and then write a single stern text making your point concisely.

Leave out the curses, leave out the caps, and don’t tell them where they can go. A good practice is to type out everything you want to say, curses and all, then delete it asap (make sure that the “To” line of your cell phone remains blank so you don’t accidentally hit Send). Get your feelings out then go back and figure out how to say what you want without sounding like a freaked out high schooler (no offense to high schoolers, but you do tend to freak out a lot).