In a world where texting and Instant Messaging have become standard, while phone calls are rare-- we have to find a balance between what's okay for each of us and when a line is crossed in our textual lives. This line is often tested in relationships, whether they are serious relationships, friendships, hook ups, etc. The key is knowing what your line is and when it's being crossed.
Texting is used for a variety of purposes- to check in, to send an alert ("running late"), to communicate in situations when you can't speak, to let someone know they are thinking of him/her, and endless other reasons. When it comes to relationships, a recent poll by TextPlus found that "65% [of respondents] said it is fine to ask someone out on a first date via text (vs. 35% who disagreed) while another 24% said it is acceptable to break up with someone over text. In the survey, some 30% said they'd been dumped by text" (USA Today). In seeing this, we wondered what some do's and don'ts might be in general and what each of your lines would be based on this information.
Don’t guess. If you don't understand what someone messaged you- just ask them to clarify- don't guess or spend hours analyzing each word. Just ask what they meant or wait until you are in person to get a better sense of what they meant.
Don’t text angry. Of course, you can express frustration, but avoid text fights and arguments. Tone is so hard to decipher via text and resolving a situation through text is next to imposssible. Try picking up the phone if things are turning sour.
Don't expect an immediate response. While it would be great if we could all respond right away- it's important to keep in mind that we have lives outside of our phones. If it's urgent, try calling the person, but if it's not truly urgent, give them time to finish what they are doing, whether it be lecture, studying for an exam, or just having some down time.
Don't text while face to face. When someone is talking with you - put the phone away. Having a direct conversation will likely not last forever- try waiting it out or excuse yourself for a minute to respond if it's important and return to the conversation.
Do text sweet nothings. With your hectic schedules, it can be hard to pick up the phone or even send an email. A short text like “Hey _insert nickname_,” or “Thinking of you” can make your significant other suddenly happier to see you later.
Do respond. Most people are never far from their cell phone, so if you don’t reply within an hour or so, the other person will assume they’re being ignored. If you don’t have time to answer, reply with something like “Stuck in mtg. Will hit you soon!” If you can’t do that, be sure to add “Sorry! Just got this,” when you finally do text him or her back.
Do pick up the phone. Texts can get confusing or frustrating at times. If conversations are going in a negative direction, try calling the person to clear up any misunderstandings before things get any worse.
Do decide what's okay for you. If someone you are texting with asks for a picture- you have the power to say yes or no. Consider your options and possible consequences-- and you make the final call.
Do double check. Avoid auto-correct embarrassment and proof read your messages before hitting send.