When to text {and when not to}

March 13, 2018

textingTexting is impersonal. Don’t you think? Really, it’s best for a quick check in or making arrangements to meet and not for personal messages.

It is never a substitute for a personal telephone call if something significant has happened.

BIRTHDAY TEXTS are only a half step above Facebook birthday cards. If I know someone, I send a card with a personal note. I make a call if they’re close friends. I do not let an impersonal text stand in for a personal contact.

They fall in the same category as

CONGRATULATIONS!  I think texts are fine for new job, new home or other standard congratulations. But if it’s a new baby, a graduation, a wedding or engagement? Call. Send a card with a personal note. Make the friend feel special.

A text doesn’t do that.

CONDOLENCES.  I’ve just seen this one in action and nothing makes me more annoyed: If someone close has has lost a loved one or a beloved pet, do not text your condolences. CALL. VISIT. Mail a CARD with a personal note. Take that moment to make a personal connection, heart to heart. Even a Millennial I know who texts often about everything called as soon as he heard Riley had died. Because he knew how much our boy meant to us. Our petsitter came right over within two hours. So if you are close friends or family, a text is a lame way to send condolences.

YOUR SISTER ROSE IS DEAD. There’s an old joke about a singing telegram about notification of death of a loved one that fits. But here’s the short version: Do not text! Back before texts a member of my family emailed that my favorite uncle had died. It shocked me so badly I had to leave work. So if someone dies, DO. NOT. TEXT. NOTIFICATION.  CALL.  Oh.  Here’s the video on the old joke. Yeah, you had to be there back in the day.

RELATIONSHIP NEWS FLASH: Relationships carried on through text are not real relationships. Text to make arrangements to actually have a date but not to develop a relationship. There’s no context in texts, for one. And it’s distant. And a really, really ineffective way to get to know someone.

It’s now time for the reader participation part of this post. I would love your input on texting or your best story about inappropriate texting–in the Comments below. Thank you!

23 comments on “When to text {and when not to}
  1. robin rue says:

    After my mom died, I got texts from people who I hadn’t seen in a while and that was a better way to get in touch with me. It would have been weird to me if they stopped by after not having seen them in years.

  2. Erin Lane says:

    SO MUCH YES TO THIS!!! You’d think more people would get this.

  3. I have a couple friends I never see anymore, butI have always had a special connection with. They live across the world from me. We text or email. Those messages fill me with joy. Yes, I would love face to face conversations, and it might happen, but textingand emailing are good too. Maybe it makes a difference for me because I am a loner anyway. Distant friendships don’t bother me. They lift me up most of the time.

  4. Amber Myers says:

    Honestly, I prefer when people text as I don’t always like to speak on the phone or talk to people face to face. But I am an introvert. I know my older friends and family members prefer phone calls or visits, so I’ll do that for them. For me, I’m all, “Please just text unless I ask for a call!”

    • While I would say a call is better, I’d have to agree with Amber that with a lot of folk I prefer a text.In fact, when both my parents passed recently, I didn’t feel up to taking calls from anyone including close family.

  5. Mary Edwards says:

    OK So I agree with all of these except birthday texts. I mean sending a card TOO is good. But having 8 siblings + their spouses and 19 nieces/nephews, it’s so much fun to inundate someone in our family with texts.. ha. But that’s just our family thing I guess 🙂

  6. Joely Smith says:

    So much YES!!!! I love this and agree!!! It also depends WHO the text is TO sometimes but overall texting is wrong. Let’s get back to real communication!
    I wonder what our grandparents and great-grandparents thought of phone calls over writing letters though lol

  7. Kami says:

    OH my gosh, YES! Sometimes it’s just not appropriate to text!!

  8. Jenn says:

    Sad that people need this kind of reminder. I text a lot more than I call, but I would never text something too personal or important.

  9. Amanda says:

    I’m not going to lie, hearing from people via text when I lost family members was a great way to feel loved but not have to get choked up on the phone. But texting isn’t enough–people need to follow up in “real” life too!

  10. I feel like texting when people lose a loved one is a great way to first reach out. But should be followed up with in-person contact or a call. I try to call or see people in person to offset the texts.

  11. Sara Welch says:

    This post is so necessary. Some people really have no couth on some situations, but the effort is always nice!

  12. Couldn’t agree more on this. I think having personal relationships are still the best thing. Texts and call can be however a substitute but not the main.

  13. Penny says:

    I guess texts are the bookends of relationships as well as the communication of last resort. A nascent or dwindling relationship may be a more appropriate situation in which to text many of the above messages.

  14. I am not so much for talking on the phone so I preferred text over a call but if it is something very important, I don’t mind a phone call. I do call my Mom often though, she’s overseas so I have to.

  15. Shoshana Sue says:

    I end my relationships through texts or emails and that is because before I reach this stage, I would have made it clear that the end is nigh and I want out. To me, a text is the end of the end and at this point, I end all means of communication. However, I think it is tacky if one text to pass condolences or announce the death of a loved one.

  16. These are good points. Texting has become so common that people never want to pick up the phone and have a conversation anymore. I kinda miss the more personal communications!

  17. I actually like this post quite a bit because I am a “CALL or VISIT” kind of person. It is more personal and I enjoy the live connection more. However, there are some situations where I would rather be texted and agree with your examples above. 🙂

  18. Ricci says:

    I kind of have to disagree with this post. I work night shift and am not available to talk on the phone when most people are awake because I am sleep all day. Now there are certain instances when a call in necessary but if it’s just routine daily conversation then just text me!

  19. Heather says:

    Yes! I get texts for holidays all the time and I think it’s so strange. It’s like a mass email. I think I’d rather just not hear from them lol.

  20. Agreed 100% on all of these! I get so mad when people tell me important things over Facebook or text. I find it so inconsiderate!

  21. I think text messages definitely have their advantages. It’s the best way for me to get a hold of my kids, especially my son who doesn’t answer his phone. I agree a condolence text or your mother is dead is extremely bad form. I also like them for “get some eggs at the store while you’re there” or “I’ll be home soon and can take the dogs out.”

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "When to text {and when not to}"
  1. […] Texting is part of 21st-century life. It’s probably a generational thing, but to Carol Cassara over at Heart-Mind-Soul, it can feel a bit cold and distant. She’s airing some of her own advice about when to text and when not to in her post When To Text. […]

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