It's official. Texting is our favourite form of communication (it beats a phone call by over 20%). But, like any form of social interaction, the rules around texting are constantly changing. Is it ever appropriate to dump someone via text or leave our friends on 'read'? If only there was a rulebook we could all work from.
We asked 1,000 Brits what they find most annoying about other people's texting habits. Their answer?
Over 2 in 5 Brits (42%) say being left on 'read' is their number one pet peeve when it comes to texting behaviour. Fair do's, we think - those little ticks telling us our recipient has read our text message can be crushing once we realise we've been waiting eons to get a reply back.
Speaking of waiting, not getting a reply to a text within 24 hours is our second biggest annoyance, getting 35% of the British public's votes. And yet almost 9 in 10 Brits (88%) say they're guilty of doing it themselves. As Shakespeare once didn't put it: hypocrisy, thy name is Britain.
Text speak (abbreviated language unique to texting) also makes the list, with 33% of people saying it annoys them, and double that amount (65%) admitting to committing that (mildly) nefarious act themselves.
Other top texting annoyances for Brits include when their recipient replies back with the non-committal 'K' or 'lol' (30%) and when we get added to group texts without being given a heads up (14%).
Of course, the intricacies of social interaction get even more complicated when you add dating to the mix. While the odd flirty text back and forth might get everyone's thumbs up, are certain behaviours less acceptable in a dating context? According to Britain, there are five major rules to texting when dating.
We get it – difficult conversations are difficult and doing them in person can be awkward-as. But, if you ever find yourself considering breaking up with a serious partner over text message – please don't. Over 3 in 5 Brits (63%) say this is not okay to do via text.
Other big no-nos include proposing (how will you get on one knee over the phone?), saying 'I love you' for the first time (don't miss out on that first kiss after those fateful words) and ghosting (it's just mean).
Another texting taboo is telling a recent partner that you've given them an STD (awks). Yet, almost 1 in 10 of us (8%) have done so via text, and almost double the number of men (10%) have done so than women (6%). It may not be the easiest thing to do but face up when you 'fess up in the future.
Another arena that has the potential to be a texting minefield is the workplace. Once you've got your boss/colleague/client/customer's number in your phone, you're only one bad text away from potentially railroading your entire career. So, where's the line when it comes to texting in business? Britain says…
The first rule is to never fire off a text if you need to fire someone. 65% of Brits say this is inappropriate texting behaviour. Bosses should put away their texting fingers when disciplining someone too – it gets second place, with almost 60% of votes.
Other things Britain say is not appropriate to do via text message include making a formal complaint (55%) – even though almost 1 in 5 (18%) of us admit having done so – and contacting colleagues or clients after hours (27%).
Funnily enough, while 33% of us don't believe it's okay to call in sick via text message, an impressive 53% of us admit they have done this in the past (only those aged 44 and over have a majority who say they haven't done so).
Pop these new rules to texting in your back pocket for the next time your fingers get twitching. In the meantime, let's take a quick gander at the future of texting.
Texting is full of possibilities – from organising a group holiday with a simple text (okay, maybe a few thousand texts) to switching mobile phone providers through text message (that one's relatively simple). Whether we're ordering takeaway, receiving personalised workouts or even getting national alerts in emergency situations, we've come to rely on the convenience and speed of texting.
But, is there a line we still won't cross in the text messaging world? According to our research, 2 in 5 of us would not trust a text message when it comes to things like communicating with our child's school, consulting with our GP, voting in an official election, getting counselling and receiving a medical diagnosis.
Wherever you draw the line, get your (texting) house in order so you always remain in your recipients' good books. Learn the new rules of texting and embrace everything it has to offer (at least until the next time you get left on 'read').
The research was conducted by Censuswide between 20.05.2019 - 22.05.2019, with 1,000 respondents in UK who have ever sent a text message. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles. For some questions, we asked participants about the frequency at which they have committed any texting taboos. In some cases, the statistics represent a combined figure of people who admit they've done the actions (without discriminating by frequency).