Bad textiquette

The do's and don'ts of texting.

Photograph: Devon Steigerwald

“Sexxx tonight? yes ot no?” That’s an actual text received by Alexa, 28. Unsurprisingly, she went with the latter option.

Sure, everyone makes mistakes, but the art of woo-texting requires finesse. No matter the medium, typos, jargon and lingo are major turnoffs. Trying to get me to come over? Don’t spell cool with a k, k?

Sound harsh? Whatever. This is Manhattan, people. The land of the OBO (“or better offer”). The city of BBD (“bigger, better, deals”). Bottom line: Get your texting game straight. (Not str8.)

Text whatever you want to your friends, but if you’re trying to get someone to fuck you, you’d better mind your ps, qs and errant thumbs.


1 Use abbreviations or creative spelling or invent your own grammar
Avoid b, gr8, 2, u and thx. It’s only a few additional letters to spell out the word—think your thumbs will make it? And whatever you do, do not ever use cum instead of come. Have some decency!

Amanda, 23, got this winning text from the guy she was dating. “Yo turkeybutt. how was grub? ate lot myself. want 2 cum over after i drop brats at xwifes?”

Needless to say they’re no longer together.

2 Make unfortunate typos
You’re trying to get in her pants. The least you can do is scan 160 characters for a typo.

Sarah, 26, says, “I met a really cute Italian guy in a bar once. One night when trying to make plans, I got the most amazing booty text ever: 'I leave gold street, at maiden.’ You have to say it out loud to understand what he really meant. It is infamous with my friends.”

3 Send horrific booty texts
Please don’t be repulsive.

Madeline, 20, received a late-night message that read simply, “Come over, but only if I can bang you from behind.” “I did not go over to his house to get so lovingly 'banged from behind,’?” Madeline says, predictably.

4 Send multiple stalkerlike texts
Texting someone twice without getting any response is dicey. Texting thrice? You’ve lost control.

Anna, 29, got this series of texts (all sent in one night!) from a girl who obviously had it bad: “I want u.” “I’m crushing.” “Hey sexy gorgeous.” “Dinner this weekend.” “R u up?”

5 “Trunk dext” your exes
Meghan, 24, got this winner from her ex: “I’m not even hammered!!!! Answer me!!!” “Oh lucky me, you aren’t even hammered,” she says. The same ex did manage to get even “hammer’ered” and texted her, “I’m drnk and find I still want to love you. Come hombre. XoXo.”

6 Break up via text
I mean, really? Do we really have to say this? I wouldn’t, except people keep doing it.

Lauren, 34, says, “My best friend was broken up with in a text after dating a guy for a couple of months, and all it said was: “im breakin up wit chu.” That’s it. I wish I were kidding. She was upset, but not as upset as she was that she actually dated someone who talked like that.”

8 Be infantile
Even gross, babyish couplespeak is better than this. Maria writes, “I used to date a guy who kept referring to his medical school as 'med skoo’ in every text. I got tired of it and told him to go to grammar 'skoo.'"

Alexis got this charming text: “You know what I like about u?” When she asked what her paramour liked, he responded “Your cleevage.”

9 Jump the gun
You don’t need to play hard to get, but there is such a thing as being too into someone.

“Right when I moved to New York, my friend texted me to say she had given my number to a friend of hers who lives in the city,” says Cary. “'He’s hot, successful and awesome,’ she promised. Not five minutes later, I got the following text: 'Girl u be lookin good in ur Facebook photos.’ But we weren’t even friends on Facebook yet! He moved pretty quickly for knowing my name/number for all of a few hundred seconds. Needless to say, our paths have not yet crossed—and likely never will.”

10 Text with nothing to say
Just as a “what’s up?” text to your friends is sure to get a “nuttin” response, randomly getting in touch with someone without a purpose sets you up for radio silence.

Rochelle got the following from an ex she dated years prior, who “likes to randomly Facebook, text and instant message me even though we haven’t spoken in over four years.” The most recent one? “What is up with u n all? how have u ben doin? nythin relly new wit you? bet u cant w8t 4 the summer am i rite lol!!” (Crickets.)

Just assume

C’mon, you have to at least ask first.“This is my all-time favorite text from an ex-boyfriend,” says Katie. “Received at 2:30am, waking me from a dead sleep: 'hittin tht 2nite.’ Succinct, but still disturbing. And no, he did not hit that.”

11 Send this text, ever
There is such a thing as coming on too strong.

“Hi jodi i am sory to call u so much. But i call u bcoz i didn’t stop to think in u since last day. I think I love u, i am crazy about u. I have LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. I WOULD LIKE TO GO OUT WITH U.”


1 Wait a little in between texts...
...but not more than 10 to 20 minutes if you’re a guy. Ladies, you have a full three-to-four-hour delay to luxuriate in, unless you’re making plans, in which case purposeful breathers are just rude.

2 Call if you’ve gone back and forth more than six times in an hour attempting to make plans
It’s just annoying. And guys: Always call before the first date.

3 Flirt via text (duh), but avoid emotional conversations
No fights. If you start to have a misunderstanding, maybe try that voice thing that your phone also does.

Or you could just send this text, like Christine, 24, drunkenly did when she saw the guy she was dating leave the bar with another woman: “I hope you get the herp and dife. The emd.”

4 Pique his curiosity
“I opened up a new cell phone line for a business and began to receive totally random phone calls and texts from all over the country,” says David. “They range from simple texts inquiring if I want to play basketball or a 'Happy Thanksgiving’ text from the Rottenberry family in Alabama. Most of the time, I pass them off with a quick laugh or not even a glance. But a couple of weeks ago, I received the glory of them all: 'Hey, make sure you get the condoms. I got the cake, see you soon.’ Being single and curious, I called this number back.”

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