Text messages come in handy a lot of the time but for the sake of your friendships, relationships, and career, it’s important to know when to keep your thumbs from doing the talking.
1. Send sensitive, private information:
While you might trust the people in your life to keep and maintain your secrets, hackers don’t have that same integrity. That’s why sending anything that’s personal, sensitive, or financial via text should be avoided. You don’t know who else may see this information, and it may never be completely deleted or removed from cyberspace.
Before sending a private message or picture over text or email, ask yourself the consequences of anyone else but the recipient seeing the information. If you come up with at least one negative consequence, rethink sending that information.
2. Break up with someone:
Whether you went on several dates or you were in a committed relationship for a year or two, ending your romance through text messages is not only tacky, but very hurtful and disrespectful.
It is better for you to go the extra mile and pick up your phone. Have the courtesy to call or meet them in person. Sometimes there’s just a misunderstanding that could prevent a breakup.
3. Cancel a date:
Sometimes mustering up enough courage to go on a date is a feat in itself. However, if you feel the urge to bail, whether you’ve met someone more interesting or you just feel like ghosting, pick up the phone.
If someone is excited about the date and you say, ‘I have to cancel, sorry,’ it sends a message that you got a cuter option. Unless you know you’re going to reschedule—then you can say, ‘Something came up but I’d really love to reschedule. How’s next Saturday?’ That way they know that they haven’t been deleted yet.
4. Deliver bad news:
From the loss of your job to the loss of a loved one, bad news is always tough to relay. However, when you’re about to tell someone something that could upset them, it’s important to prepare them as much as you can, and a text message doesn’t deliver seriousness in an effective way.
The other person can’t see your non-verbal signals, and your tone could be perceived as different from the way you’re feeling. A better plan is to ask the person for a time to meet, and note that it’s urgent. If a face-to-face meeting is not possible, find a time to talk on the phone when the conversation can be private.
5. Deliver great news:
On the other hand, you’ll want to avoid sharing life-changing, super exciting good news over text, too. While things like a good grade or a successful work presentation are usually fine to share via text, good news like getting engaged, expecting a baby, or got a “yes” from the job or college of your dreams, should be shared over the phone or in person.
Of course, you can’t call every single person in your life, but if you care enough to specifically reach out to someone at all to tell them, you should reach out in a more personal way than a text.
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