Texting Etiquette: On Missent Messages, Using Emojis, and More


So I sent an inappropriate text to the wrong person. How should I respond?

If it was an innocent text like, say, “See you at our favorite place for lunch,” then the only thing to do is to inform the recipient that your SMS was a misfire and go about your business. Now, if it was a curious message like, maybe, “See you at our favorite place for noontime cuddles,” then you have to cut off your clumsy fingers and throw yourself off the nearest cliff. I’m kidding, but there is really no escaping the humiliation of sending a naughty text to someone else or an unfriendly observation about a particular person (“Did you see Tina’s masterpiece today? Her face is totally LOL!”) to that person herself. As with all cases when you are completely at fault, you just have to bite the bullet. Apologize profusely, swallow the shame, and get ready for a hail of rage. Or you can try my standard reply for cases like this: “Please destroy this text.”

I don’t use periods in my messages but old people seem to be bothered by this. What am I missing?

I know, in the world of the SMS, where each message lives in its own speech bubble, that this has become unnecessary. And I have also been informed that persons who still care enough to use a period in texts are now perceived as rude, because nothing says aggression like a tiny pixel dot. But, young person, I need to remind you that periods are full stops that convey, in a very deliberate manner, when a thought has ended. And it is truly a shame when we live in a world where the nuances of the English language, including the ability to create order, is now considered uncool in the face of technology.


In fact, many think that sending an SMS without periods shows less care. It says, for me and the rest of the old people out there, that you don’t have time to press that extra button. It feels abrupt and messy. But don’t mind me. These are but the thoughts of a dinosaur that still cling to the romantic ideas of books and letters and periods. As for your question, just suit your punctuation style to your audience. If you are texting a close friend or a peer, then go ahead and drop the periods (I weep for you), but if you are texting me or someone who requires more formality, then please include a reminder that signals when your meanderings have ended.

I sent an SMS to my co-worker during the weekend. Is that acceptable?

Unless it is of utmost importance like, say, you are bleeding all over the place because you just cut off your fingers, try not to text your co-worker about work after office hours and most especially on weekends, holidays, and vacation days. You wouldn’t want to receive any reminder of work while you are taking a break from it, right? While the courtesy of a reply is standard at work, don’t get too peeved about not getting a reply as quickly as usual on these said days. What can you do instead? Send a message via e-mail, the proper venue for noncritical, work-related tasks and requests fired off on a Sunday. 

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What kind of replies should I generally avoid?

Well, you know what's worse than replying with an expletive? Replying with just "K." It is rude and lazy and will never be acceptable. How much of a second are you trying to save by omitting the "O" in "OK?" Unless you want to annoy a friend or make someone think you died before you could finish your reply, remember that K is not OK.  

Hello! What do you think about smiley faces and emojis in texts? I just love them! :)

Why do we all have to end our thoughts in an overly happy tone with the use of a smiley, emoji, or exclamation point?!? Even mundane messages like a text confirming my appointment to the doctor or an SMS asking for directions to my house end in a stupendously jubilant manner! It is, I assume, a function of fear! Not using a smiley, emoji, or exclamation point reads as scary! Perhaps you are afraid to appear vulnerable without the use of these devices! Well, I give up then! And, by the way, I am not shouting nor very excited right now! I just don’t want you to feel bad! :)

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