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The Top Five Things To Avoid When Texting

By Stacey Ross

Oh, boy, did I stir up the pot when I asked my colleagues to share some of the text messages or emails that they regret having sent. One friend posted that he thinks that it is better to do something and regret it, than to regret not having done anything at all. Sure, that might speak volumes in some scenarios, but for texting enthusiasts who pressed "send " prematurely, well, that sentiment might not sit so well!

While some chalk up their mishaps as mostly just embarrassing (like the hilarious autocorrect fluffs!!) or perhaps insensitive, there is the other side of the spectrum, as some texts just might pan out as downright  detrimental!

I consider the following the top five areas that texting enthusiasts should avoid:

1. Sending your message to the wrong recipient!

Be sure that you don't, by mistake, send a message to your boss, when your real intention is to vent to your honey! Two friends' texting examples served as perfect situations to avoid, and would make my heart skip a beat if had I been involved!

One gal was venting to her husband details about her time of the month (or should I say attempting to), and the other was ranting about what a punk his boss had been when it dawned on each of them... "Oh, #%$#@!!!" Unfortunately, they each sent their messages to their bosses, and then had some 'splainin' to do the next day. Doh!!

2. Sending monumental news before talking face-to-face

I have heard it all, but the thought process behind sharing these types of text messages in such an impersonal manner screams, "cop-out!!". So, if you want to announce a birth, death or propose to someone, for goodness sake at least pick up the phone! I can stomach the "H-B'day 2 U" or thank you notes that allow certain people to do the deed without having to be so formal, but the idea of not contacting a loved-one in person when it comes to sharing life-altering news is just downright insensitive!

One friend shared that his co-worker texted him to inform him that his colleague of ten years (they had spoken daily for that long, too!) had just passed away. This was just moments before the deceased man's wife was calling to share the news! A girlfriend of mine said a family member posted that her father had passed online before all family members were aware of it! Not cool.

Tip: In such a sensitive situation, maybe it is better for the recipient to avoid from divulging, "Yeah, I just saw the bad news on Facebook!"

3. Sharing your passwords and personal information

This is a big one! Think twice about texting your social security number, home address, password and pretty much any personal information that would have you worrying if a stranger were to see it. In many scenarios, it might also be wise to avoid "checking in" using location-based apps or merely sharing your exact whereabouts, particularly if it leaves you in a vulnerable position.

4. Sending a message about the status of your relationship changing

Easy come, easy go, I suppose, but to hear stories about how people were fired via a text (one online colleague shared with me the exact text!) or broken up with via text after a two year relationship makes me wonder how dealing in-person with some of these cats would play out! A buddy of our family discovered that his wife was having an affair with her gym instructor. It turned out the instructor was totally oblivious to the fact that the lady was married with two kids, as she presented herself as single and clearly available! Talk about an instant status switch! Still no word on her regrets. Tsk tsk!

The privilege of texting and posting our status online begs us to be cautious and thoughtful about whom we talk about, how we share our most private matters, and how damaging our messages could be, say, if they were to go viral!

5. Sexting or posting nudies

Sexting is defined as the act of sending and/or receiving sexually explicit text messages through a phone, computer, or other electronic device. Many states have begun criminalizing sexting due to concerns over safety and privacy. This is a good one to review with kids from the get-go. If they are old enough to text and engage in social media platforms, I would hope they are old enough to lend an ear to the harm and/or heartbreak that can come from digitally sharing private matters!

As far as some of the sexting stories that were shared with me, they  are too gut-wrenching to divulge here. But what I will promote is overseeing your kids' accounts, checking on the photos that they take and send, and explaining to them the importance of covering up when posing for Instagram, etc., along with the value of avoiding texting while drinking!

Should you, as an adult, choose to self-promote your "presumed" twenty-years-younger-than-you-actually-are hot self  by tweeting out your version of a Hiraldo Rivera-esque selfie and ya don't mind if it leaks out for the world to see, well, then strike a pose on your good side, and good luck with that!

Stacey Ross is an online consultant, social media enthusiast, freelancer and owner of SanDiegoBargainMama.com. A former teacher and middle school counselor, she is now a mom of two who researches and freelances about lifestyle topics involving family and well-being.

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