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Texting Etiquette & Flirting: 26 Rules Guys & Girls Must Follow

Texting can be a minefield in the dating world. By learning the texting etiquette rules, you’ll never have to worry about making a wrong move again!

texting etiquette rules flirting

Whether you like it or not, texting is here to stay. You can fight against it and refuse to register with WhatsApp or Messenger, or you can just accept it and go with the flow. Now, I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest fan of trying to decipher a message when it’s not clear, but even I can admit that messaging has its perks. Make sure you learn how to do the messaging dance right, by learning texting etiquette rules.

The problem with texting often comes down to not appreciating the fact that you can read a message in several ways.

Just because you intend the message to be cheerful and upbeat, doesn’t mean that’s how the recipient will read it! There is a huge amount of scope for misunderstanding here and that’s another reason why you need to get the messaging guidelines down-pat. [Read: How to communicate in a relationship: 14 steps to a better love]

First things first, know when to text and when to call

Learning texting etiquette is one thing, but you also need to know when texting isn’t required at all. There are some situations which need a call. For instance, if you’re going to break up with someone, never text. Seriously, how much of a coward are you? Also, if you’re going to give someone bad news, it’s always better to call than text. They’re bound to have follow up questions and doing all of that over a messaging app is just a headache you don’t need.

The best way to assess whether you should call or text is to ask how you would prefer to receive the message if the boot was on the other foot. Would you want someone to call and explain it to you, or would you prefer to read it and understand it slowly?

[Read: 9 ways to get your man to start communicating with you]

Of course, most texts are more of a flirty, chilled out kind of deal and in that case, a text is the correct route forward. Just know that sometimes, a text is the coward’s way out and that actually speaking to the person directly is best. In many ways, that’s the number one rule of texting etiquette! Now, let’s look at the others.

The rules of texting etiquette

Want to be great at texting, and the kind of fun texter everyone loves chatting with? Keep these key texting etiquette and rules in mind.

1. Know when to initiate

Except for certain occasions, men are almost always expected to be the ones to initiate a texting conversation in the early stages of dating. The same can be said after dates. However, it’s completely acceptable for women to text the guy with a “thank you for last night” or “I had a great time yesterday” to initiate a conversation.

Sometimes you just need to be a little brave and go for it! [Read: 8 romantic gestures from the olden days all girls miss]

2. Never text when you’re drunk, or even drinking

This deserves repeating over and over in all texting etiquette guides. When you’re tipsy or drunk, the chances are, you have fewer inhibitions. That means you’re going to say something you’ll probably wish you hadn’t the next morning.

As a general rule, put your phone away when you’re drinking. You could even have a pact with your friends on a night out – look out for one another to avoid accidental texting!

3. Don’t text when you’re upset

As with actual person-to-person conversations, try to keep your thumbs away from your phone when you’re upset. You might say something that will only make the situation worse.

Even if you don’t mean any harm, there’s always that chance that your text message will be misunderstood. That means you’ll have a world of confusion to sort out when you’re starting to feel better. It’s not worth the headache. [Read: When a guy stops texting you – The sad, mad and pissed off girl’s guide]

4. Keep it short and sweet

Fewer words mean fewer mistakes. This is especially true in the realm of texting and dating. Remember, the recipient can’t see you as you type the words, so they can’t ask questions to clarify. Avoid lengthy messages that give you more opportunities to be misunderstood. Keep it short and sweet.

5. Text once and then put the phone down!

Have you ever had someone send you the same text multiple times back-to-back? It’s annoying, right? The more texts you send at a time, the more desperate and needier you appear.

Though you might feel that you were ignored or left hanging without a response, fight the urge to resend the message. Distract yourself and know that perhaps they’re just busy. If they don’t reply, that’s their issue and not yours. [Read: What does it mean when someone’s ignoring your texts on purpose?]

6. A word from the spelling and grammar police …

There are so many things that can go wrong with bad spelling and bad grammar. Before hitting the “send” button, go over your message at least once. This prevents you from appearing careless and even annoying.

It’s also important to remember that sometimes a wrong spelling or poor grammar can totally change the meaning. It could become embarrassing.

7. Use exclamation points sparingly!

It’s not all about spelling and grammar, but the proper use of punctuation too. This is one of the main texting etiquette rules. Far too many people overdo it with exclamation marks and it can be seriously annoying to read! Moderation is key here. Too many exclamation points and you appear childish and annoying. [Read: How to text a girl you like and make her want you]

8. Don’t be passive-aggressive

Being passive-aggressive is unacceptable in real life, which means the same rules apply in texting. There are many ways you can be passive-aggressive through text, and it can frustrate the other person.

As always, it’s best to speak in person and talk about your feelings instead of taking the underhanded route. [Read: 13 modern dating trends you need to dump immediately]

9. Don’t make big decisions over text

Don’t make up or break up over text. This is definitely one of those times when you should talk in person. If you want the other person to feel as special as they truly are to you, save your declarations of love for them when you see them. There is nothing wrong with a cute emoji or two, but save the declaration for a more suitable occasion.

10. Always sext with caution

Somewhere along the way, you may start sexting each other – cheeky! The tricky part here is in knowing when to start.

Done the right way, you can make your budding relationship even more exciting, as long as the other party is in on it, too! Be organic, have fun, and make sure that you and the other person are comfortable with the whole thing. [Read: How to start sexting your lover when you’ve never done it before]

11. Know when to put your phone down

Part of having good texting etiquette for dating is knowing when to text and when to put your phone down. When you are with your date and are enjoying your time together, keep your phone away. There’s nothing as bothersome as being on a date with someone who is preoccupied with his or her phone. It’s downright rude!

12. Don’t be sneaky

Another texting etiquette ‘do’ on a date is not to pry into your date’s phone. It’s a huge invasion of their privacy and shows a lack of trust on your part. You can’t have your date sensing this from you this early in your relationship, as you will only turn them off completely. No peering over their shoulder or side glancing! [Read: 15 cellphone rules all couples need to follow in a new relationship]

13. Acknowledge a good date

Whether you believe in traditions or not, it’s a show of courtesy to acknowledge a good date. You can text your date about how much fun you had once you get home, or, even better, the following day. Just be sure to be sincere about it if you are expecting another date.

14. Don’t resort to fashionable slang

You might think you’re being hip and down with the youth but sending a line of slang language that even you don’t fully understand won’t give the right impression. Stick to actual words and sentences if you want to show the real you.

15. Be mindful of the time

Be mindful of what the other person could be doing at certain times of the day. Avoid calling and even texting at odd hours. Not only might you be waking them up at 2 a.m., but texting at odd hours also makes you look needy, weird, or inconsiderate. [Read: Is it a booty call or a flirty hello? How to respond to late night texts]

16. Time your responses

When you’re dating, especially in the early stages, texting etiquette suggests that it’s best to keep it cool at first. While you’re not being insincere or keeping up appearances, you are protecting yourself by not looking too eager.

Avoid replying right away with every text. This also gives you enough time to go over your responses so you don’t make any mistakes. [Read: How to be mysterious without being too distant]

17. Don’t text anything you wouldn’t say in person

Hiding behind your phone is one of the worst ways to start any relationship. It makes you appear shady and insincere. Be sure that whatever you say through text is something you can stand by and even repeat in person.

18. Don’t overdo the emojis

Using plenty of emojis in one text message can make you look downright weird. Emojis are meant to drive your point home, add a cute effect to what you’re saying, and show sure that your tone is getting across. If you overdo it, you’re not making a point, you’re drawing pictures. [Read: How guys text when they like you – 28 things they do differently]

19. Forget junk texts, they’re literal junk

At the very beginning of your relationship, it’s appropriate to limit your texts and not text too often. Avoid texting them quotes, or worse, chain texts that send a curse or a “promise” if you don’t send to x number of people. You will not get the attention that you’re seeking with those junk texts, so it’s best to keep things short and relevant.

20. Be real, always

Remember, it doesn’t matter how great you are with all the texting etiquette in the world, if you are insincere about your messages, that sentiment will always have a chance of seeping through at one point or another.

If you really want the other person to see your sincerity, it’s best to just get off the phone and spend time with them already! After all, face-to-face is always better than phone-to-phone. [Read: 13 relationship mistakes new couples make all the time!]

21. Double check you’ve got the right number

Another top texting etiquette rule is to make sure you’ve put their number into your phone correctly! Can you imagine texting someone random telling them how great the date was? Or, even worse, it turns out to be someone you know? Double check at all times!

22. Don’t play games

While you shouldn’t jump at every text and reply straightaway, you shouldn’t play hard to get either. Leaving someone on ‘read’ for a while is nothing short of annoying and actually quite rude.

Can you imagine how you’d feel if it was the other way around? So, leave it a short while *an hour, maybe two, maximum*, but no more than that. [Read: Does playing hard to get work? 12 tips to make it swing your way]

23. Don’t send attachments

You might think you’re sending something fun or something of interest, but most people think ‘virus’ when they see an attachment on anything technological. Your text isn’t going to get read and they might wonder what you’re trying to do to their phone.

24. Never resort to ‘ghosting’

Texting etiquette isn’t all about when things are going well, it’s also about how it ends. Never ghost someone. That means that you just cut all communication and avoid them like the plague. If you want to end it, be brave enough to explain why. Ghosting isn’t cute, in fact, it’s horrible. [Read: What is “ghosting” and how does it affect you]

25. ‘K is never okay

Never send a ‘k’ reply. It’s the worst type of reply. The other person is going to spend the next few hours wondering what they did wrong, until you reply and tell them that you were pushed for time. Don’t be mean, even if you don’t intend to be. Just wait until you have more time.

26. Be as clear as you can be

It’s not all about keeping things short and sweet, it’s also about being clear. Read your message twice before sending it and make sure there is nothing unclear in it. The scope for misunderstanding message is high enough without adding to it.

[Read: How often should you text someone? The 17 rules you must never ignore]

Texting is already a big part of today’s dating scene, and many people easily judge you based on what and how you text. Therefore, it pays to be mindful of the texting etiquette tips above, and enjoy the benefits of being mindful before hitting that “send” button instead of regretting you have ever pressed it.

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...