15 Signs Your Texts Are Making You Look Out Of Touch

If you’re not careful, your texting habits could be making you look like a total dinosaur — and not in a cool, “Jurassic Park” kind of way. There are certain things you might be doing when texting people that are annoying, outdated, or just flat-out wrong. If you’re guilty of any of the following practices, drop them ASAP.

1. You use full sentences and punctuation.

These days, it’s all about quick, casual communication. Writing out complete sentences with proper grammar and punctuation in your texts can make you seem rigid and formal, The New York Times notes. While there’s nothing wrong with being articulate, overly structured messages can come across as stilted and awkward in a medium that’s meant for rapid-fire, back-and-forth exchange. Loosen up a bit and embrace the fragmentary nature of texting. Drop the periods, sprinkle in some emojis, and let your messages flow more naturally.

2. You leave loooooong voice messages.

Not texting, really, but along the same lines. Voice messages can be a convenient way to convey a lot of information quickly, but they can also be a major annoyance for the person you’re leaving them for. No one wants to listen to a rambling five-minute monologue when a simple text would suffice. If you find yourself regularly leaving lengthy voice messages, consider whether the information could be more efficiently conveyed through typing. Save the voice messages for truly complex or emotional topics that require more nuance and inflection.

3. You send walls of text.

Sending blocks of TMI-filled texts can be taxing for people to have to process them, especially when they’re busy at work or trying to enjoy a day off. It calls to mind a rambling senior who’s going on about a story that you’re totes not interested in hearing about, but to which you feel pressure to pay attention. Plus, just because you have a lot to say doesn’t mean it all needs to be crammed into one massive message. Break up your thoughts into shorter, more digestible messages that are easy to follow and respond to.

4. You double (or triple!) text.

Sending multiple messages in rapid succession when you don’t get an immediate response makes you look impatient and desperate. It’s the digital equivalent of tapping someone on the shoulder repeatedly or waving your hand in their face. Give the other person a chance to read and respond to your first message before firing off follow-ups. Unless it’s a true emergency, resist the urge to bombard them with a barrage of texts. Trust that they’ll get back to you when they can.

5. You use outdated abbreviations.

Abbreviations make texting faster and more practical, especially when you’re on the go. However, terms like “LOL,” “BRB,” and “TTYL” have largely fallen out of fashion, replaced by newer, more current slang. If you’re not sure whether an abbreviation is still widely used, err on the side of spelling things out. Better to be clear and a little long-winded than to use an outdated term that may confuse or alienate your recipient.

6. You ask to call.

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While calling people instead of chatting via text can feel more personal, it’s not practical (or enjoyable) for most people most of the time. Asking, “Can we have a quick call?” puts pressure on the other person. Who has the time for it when you can say what you need to say via text?

7. You use too many emojis.

Emojis can be a fun way to add visual interest and convey tone in your texts, but going overboard with them can make you look juvenile or unprofessional. A well-placed smiley face or thumbs-up can go a long way, but peppering every sentence with multiple emojis can be overkill. Use them sparingly and strategically, and make sure they’re appropriate for the context and the recipient. A string of hearts and kissing faces might be fine for your best friend, but not for your boss.

8. You don’t proofread your messages.

guy looking at his mobile while he's eating pizza

Autocorrect and tiny phone keyboards can lead to some embarrassing text mishaps, but consistently sending messages riddled with typos and errors can make you seem careless or even unintelligent. Take a moment to reread your text before hitting send, especially if it’s an important message. Catch any glaring mistakes or unintended meanings that could cause confusion or offense. A little proofreading goes a long way in ensuring your texts are clear and error-free.

9. You say things like, “I’ll shoot you an email.”

If texting feels weird, you might think it’s easier to unleash all your thoughts and emotions in an email instead. The person receiving this request is probably exhaling and rolling their eyes. Why don’t you ask to send a fax instead? I’m kidding, but seriously, they’re going to think you need to send a huge email that’s going to take all day for them to deal with. Ugh.

10. You text at weird/inappropriate times.

Just because you can send a text at any hour doesn’t mean you should. Texting someone early in the morning, late at night, or during working hours can come across as inconsiderate or even invasive. Be mindful of the other person’s schedule and respect their time and boundaries. If you’re not sure whether it’s a good time to text, err on the side of waiting. A message sent at a more appropriate hour is more likely to be well-received and promptly answered.

11. You don’t respond in a timely manner.

While no one expects you to be glued to your phone 24/7, consistently taking days or even weeks to respond to texts can make you seem flaky or disinterested, Cosmopolitan explains. If someone has taken the time to reach out to you, show them the courtesy of a prompt reply, even if it’s just to acknowledge receipt and let them know when you’ll be able to give a fuller response. Leaving people hanging for long periods of time is a surefire way to frustrate and alienate them.

12. You send vague or cryptic messages.

Texts like “We need to talk” or “Can you call me?” with no further context are guaranteed to send the recipient into a tailspin of anxiety and worst-case scenario thinking. If you need to have a serious conversation, give the other person a heads-up about what it’s regarding so they can mentally prepare. Don’t leave them frantically trying to read between the lines of your ambiguous message. Be direct and specific about what you want to discuss.

13. You text about stuff that should really be discussed in person.

Some conversations are simply too weighty or complex to have over text. Trying to discuss deeply personal, emotional, or controversial issues through such a limited medium is a recipe for misunderstanding and hurt feelings. If you need to broach a sensitive subject, do it in person or at least over the phone where you can pick up on tone, inflection, and nonverbal cues. Don’t hide behind the screen for tough talks — give them the respect and full attention they deserve.

14. You don’t respect boundaries.

If someone has told you they don’t like a certain type of text content or has asked you not to text them at particular times, ignoring those boundaries is a major breach of trust and respect. No means no, even in text form. If you continue to send messages that make the other person uncomfortable or disregard their stated preferences, don’t be surprised if they start pulling away or cutting off communication altogether. Respect their limits and find other outlets or recipients for the content they’ve deemed off-limits.

15. You don’t adapt to the other person’s texting style.

Just as you wouldn’t use the same communication style with your grandma as you would with your best friend, you shouldn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to texting. Pay attention to how the other person texts — their level of formality, their use of emojis and slang, the length and frequency of their messages — and try to mirror that style. Adapting your texting to match theirs shows that you’re attuned to their preferences and trying to meet them where they’re at.

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Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.