8 Annoying Texting Habits You Have, According to Science
Who knew ending your text messages with periods was such a crime?
You use periods
Yes, it’s the proper way to end a sentence, but that dot may make you seem insincere. That’s what researchers at Binghamton University found when they showed study participants a series a short exchanges framed as either texts or handwritten notes. The message was an invite, followed by a one-word response: Sure, Okay, Yeah, or Yup—shown with a period and without. In text messages, the responses that ended with a period were rated as less sincere than those with no punctuation. The effect wasn’t the same in handwritten notes. In a follow-up study that hasn’t yet been published, researchers found that a text response with an exclamation mark may make your message seem more sincere than one that ends in nothing (!).
You don’t spell check
Typos and incorrect grammar are the biggest turn-offs for single women and men, according to a Match.com survey. You know what else singles—and probably everyone else on the planet—also find annoying: responding with short answers, like “k” and “cool.” Just a tiny bit more effort might go a long way, or at least get a second date.
And while you’re at it, here are 10 Words That Will Immediately Make You Sound Old.
You say sorry via text
Here’s the thing with that: You’re not actually saying sorry. You’re not facing the person you wronged and looking them in the eye when you ask forgiveness. And they’re not getting the chance to see that you really feel bad. MIT social scientist Sheryl Turkle told Tech Insider: “A face-to-face apology is such a classic place where we learn empathy,” she said. “If you’re apologizing to me, I soften because I get to see that you’re genuinely upset—you get to see that I have compassion for you. But if you type ‘I’m sorry’ and hit send, nothing happens.” Texting an apology is not tragic, but you both get more out of it if you do it face to face.
You edit mid-text
Your friend messages you to see if you’re mad at a comment she made the night before. You’re not. You write: Whatever, no big deal. You delete—she might read “whatever” as code for mad. You try again, backspace a little more, decide to invite her over for coffee, and look at your calendar to figure out a date. And in this time, she is watching those little bubbles that indicate you are typing appear, and disappear, appear, disappear. She thinks you’re spellchecking your swear words; you’re trying to tell her it’s all good. Those ellipses can speak volumes, even before you say anything. Think (or draft) before you type.
You text at the movies
A darkened theatre is the number one most irritating place for you to use your smartphone, according to the Trends in Consumer Mobility Report from Bank of America. Granted, you may not be talking, but everyone around you can see and be distracted by that glowing blue light. Religious institutions and restaurants came in at the number two and three most annoying places to pull out a phone. The same survey also found that four in 10 people text during a meal, and about one-third of respondents check their phone mid-conversation. Rude.
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You text your phonebook, at once
A small group text can be fine and efficient: you’re buying your parents a gift on behalf of your siblings and letting them know how much each—that’s fine; you picked a restaurant for lunch and sending your co-workers the address—efficient. But when 50 of your friends’ smartphones ding simultaneously with a picture of your newly adopted puppy, of course they are all going to respond. You may like it, but everyone else on that mass text may not want an endless string of comments, congratulations, or heart emojis. Keep your texts more personal, or just copy and paste to individual friends. If you are on the receiving end of a gigantic group text, respond only to the sender.
Check out these 11 Things Highly Organized People Do on Their Smartphone.
You send one syllable per text
It’s anticlimactic to see nine new text messages that basically amount to one single thought. And if one of the texts gets lost in cyberspace, it’s even harder to follow.
You send a just-left-you-a-message text
You called your friend, and she didn’t pick up. Maybe she was driving or perhaps she was busy. Or maybe she just didn’t feel like talking to you at that exact moment—and now she has two messages from you that she cannot respond to at this exact moment. When it’s not an emergency, it’s really not necessary.
Learn more about The Surprising Science Behind Friendship.
Originally published as 8 Annoying Texting Habits You Have, According to Science on ReadersDigest.com.