Not a particularly welcoming salutation. Not unfriendly, but no enthusiasm. It’s firm. Finite. Is he mad?
This one’s completely different. It’s casual. The lack of punctuation says, “I’m on the go — Just didn’t have time for that little dot!”
If you find this analysis over-the-top and slightly nauseating, I’m with you, but there’s nothing I can do about it — I perpetuate the practice daily.
In a world where we’d rather text than pick up the phone and risk having to actually talk to someone, this kind of decoding is commonplace … dare I say, necessary. So many subtle nuances of conversation are simply absent in texting. It takes the human element out of communication — something inherently human. And, if you’re like me, you feel the need to fill the void.
Take this interchange with my boyfriend I recently had via text message:
Chris: “I dunno we are getting dry wall and stuff plus [it’s] thirsty thursday”
Me: “Out or in? I’m off work at 4:30, but will probably go to wellness [center].”
Me: “What are those dots for??”
As a rule, if someone sends an ellipse at the end of a message, I assume they: A. want something from me and are hoping I pick up on it B. are mad or C. are insinuating something. This situation didn’t seem appropriate for A or C, so I jumped to conclusions and assumed he was mad.
Which would have been a bad thing. Have you ever been in a fight via text messaging? I swear, Chris and I have had more arguments over text than in person. And I hate that. Here’s a giant hint to men of the world: Women analyze everything. If you’re having an argument with your significant other over texts, especially if it’s particularly heated, she’s going to be decoding every single letter. You don’t want this. She could be surrounded by a group of her friends, spurring her on, fueling her anger as they read your every response. She can and most likely will take everything you say in the worst way possible. Call her.
“You shouldn’t be okay that I feel this way.”
To which he responded,
“I’m not sorry” (period left from the end of the sentence on purpose)
And this is where the wrath of Kaitlin exploded. I probably sent him a four message-long text raging about this or that. To me, I saw that he was not sorry for having hurt my feelings. To him, he meant, “I’m not okay with that. I’m sorry.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are the obviously pissed off responses I might send in hopes of showing the recipient that I’m mad.
If I don’t know you well, lack of exclamation points or smiley faces are a signal of me purposefully being impolite. Wow. That makes me want to throw up a rainbow it sounds so Valley Girl-ish, but I guess it’s true. If I like you, I want it to be apparent that I’m excited to be making plans with you … So apparently I show my excitement like a junior high girl writing a doodle-filled note to her new boyfriend. Yuck.
Abbreviations are whatever. If you send a text that says only, “LOL,” I will call you out on it. I guarantee you are not laughing out loud. Plus, that’s the ultimate conversation stopper. “LOL” alone really says, “There are a million other better things I want to be doing right now. Stop pestering me.” If you’re going to use abbreviations, make sure they’re somewhat universal. Most people know what “OMG,” “LOL,” “BRB,” “BTW,” “IDK,” “FYI,” “WTF,” and similar abbreviations mean. But if I get a text that looks like this,
“Hey! LTNS! Wud u lk 2 get 2gether w/me 4 sushi this fri? IMNECTHO, dwntwn is best. KIT!” (Which apparently would be a way of asking someone out for sushi. LTNS = Long time no see, IMNECTHO = In my not even close to humble opinion, KIT = Keep in touch — I can’t make this stuff up.)
There’s always the classic text message typos, a result of text input methods like Swype, T9, and efforts from “smart” phones to autocorrect. They’re always good for a laugh, but usually you can figure out what’s trying to be said. Sometimes, though, it makes for a really embarrassing situation. There’s a whole site devoted to typos like this one:
“K” is the universal pissy text. “K.” (note the period) is even worse. Generally, if you get this text, you have done something wrong. Unless you’re messaging one of those people who just use it because the effort to type the “o” in front of the “k” is just too much. And that’s where miscommunication comes from.
If you’re reading this thinking, “Holy crap, this girl is psycho. Who spends that much time analyzing the texts they get?” you are also contributing to the miscommunication. I’ve talked to tons of high school and college-aged people about this and they agree: There’s an etiquette to texting for the generations who now use it as their primary source of communication. It’s not the quick, efficient way to contact someone in absence of a phone call anymore; it’s its own language.
(P.S. Here’s a little snippet I had every intention on including in the original post, but completely forgot about until someone’s comment brought it to mind. One of my classmates showed me this video a few months ago, and it seems to follow this topic pretty well: