The Etiquette Expert's Guide to Polite Texting

A reporter who was caught texting during the National Anthem at the White House Correspondents Dinner felt the heat after the video went viral. The reporter claimed she was just taking notes, but the claims didn’t sit well with most Americans who saw her actions as disrespectful and unpatriotic.

Jacqueline Whitmore, an internationally-recognized etiquette expert, author and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, who is also the founder of National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, says it’s another reminder that no matter how much we rely on technology, people always need to use common sense and know when to put their devices down.

Her texting etiquette tips:

Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t send a text message while you’re in a movie theater, at a performance, at a religious service, or a meeting.

Put people first. When you’re with other people, put your phone on silent and keep it away unless the situation calls for it.

Speak up. If you’re with someone who will not stop text messaging during your conversation, kindly ask them if they will put their phone away.

Don’t use text messaging to give someone bad or sad news. Make a phone call instead.

Keep it discreet. Don’t text any confidential or potentially embarrassing messages. Your text might end up in the wrong hands.

Check before you send. Make sure you text the right person at the right phone number. It’s possible to send a text to the wrong person by mistake.  If you do send it to the wrong person, apologize.  Also, acknowledge wrong numbers. If someone sends you a text message by mistake, let them know that you aren’t the intended recipient.

Always respond. When someone sends you a text message respond with a text message, or a phone call or email if the message warrants a longer conversation.

Introduce yourself. If you send a text message to a person for the first time, always state your name. Simply type, “Hi, John, this is your co-worker, Jackie.”

Be patient. If someone does not respond to your text message right away, don’t lose your cool. If your message is urgent, pick up the phone and call.

Use emojis only when they enhance the conversation. They’re not always appropriate in business texts.

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