Have a Meaningful Text Message Conversation

For many people, text messaging has become a primary (and in some cases, the only) means of communication between friends, loved ones and business associates. As such, people have developed different ways to communicate via texting. If you are tired of having meaningless conversations with acquaintances, need to rid yourself of over-texters, or need to break out of the text slang and emoticon mold, it’s important to understand how to use this important form of communication in the most effective way.


Following Basic Texting Guidelines

  1. Text someone worth your time. Breaking the endless cycle of meaningless text message conversations starts with only talking to someone who offers interesting topics opinions. Don't text someone just because you know that they'll be at home Be Polite in a Boring Conversation with nothing better to do than text you. If that means not text messaging who you usually do and having to wait longer for a response from someone worth your time, so be it. And if there is nothing in mind that you need to tell the person, just don't text them at all. It's a waste. It's best to have no conversation then to have a "dead" one.[1]
    • Text messaging shouldn't be any different from having a conversation in-person: If it isn't going anywhere, don't let it continue.
  2. Hold yourself to your own standards with other people. If someone constantly text messages you for the only purpose of having someone to text message, shake them off. Take longer to reply, give shorter answers, and stay ambiguous and passive in your answers. Eventually people will start to take the hint that you aren't going to put any effort into the conversation, so they will cease text messaging you as much as they can.[2]
  3. Ask open-ended questions in your conversations. If you're having a conversation with a person you enjoy talking to, do as much as you can to keep the conversation going. Ask questions that require more than a yes or no answer, leaving room for your opinion and the opportunity to discuss related topics.[2]
    • Instead of asking "Do you like pop music?” Ask "What are your favorite genres of music?" Questions like that not only spark interest conversations but show that you also have a genuine interest in the person and want them to elaborate on the topic.
  4. Keep the conversation well-balanced. Don't ask questions or bring up topics just so you can give your opinion on them. It makes you look self-centered, and unless you show just as much enthusiasm in what the other person has to say, it will come off as annoying and rude. Avoid this by not only giving your opinion but by also discussing or questioning the other person's opinion. If you're more shy or were raised to be ultra-polite, you might have the opposite imbalance where you try to keep the other person talking without offering anything of your own. Do about 1/3 to 1/2 of the talking, as long as you finish your texts with a sentence or question that invites an open-ended response. [1]

Communicating in a Clear and Polite Manner

  1. Avoid the one sentence/one word reply. Unless you are a person of very few words or can properly describe everything you need to say in one sentence, make a point of replying to a person's text message in at least two sentences. Worst of all is the "K" reply, which is now (sometimes) associated the sender being angry at the receiver, but not necessarily. It is often used in response to simple questions. Once you get to know a person's text message flow better, you'll be able to tell if you've said something to bore or anger them, but it is usually a one or two word answer.[3]
    • If you are angry with a person, it’s a good idea to not text them until you have had time to cool off and think about the situation. One word and one sentence replies will only make you more angry with the person you are text messaging as you continue your infuriating conversation.
  2. Develop your own text messaging style. In the same sense that writers have different writing styles, consider creating your own standard of text messaging. A general sense of the English language should be upheld, because text message shorthand has become outdated and almost childish. Unlimited text messaging plans are now more affordable, so there's hardly any excuse to have sentences with a garble of letters, numbers and symbols that take the place of a five-letter word. As such, you do not always need a smiley face or heart after every sentence unless typing it makes you genuinely happy. Nobody will take you seriously if you have :) :] :D :P :/ :( >:( after everything you say. [3]
  3. Call the person to go deeper. If your conversation has taken an unexpected turn and either gotten deeper or more heated, ask to call the person and talk to them directly. Sometimes a person can better communicate their ideas out loud rather than picking the correct words to type and hesitating to see if they express their ideas clearly.[2]
    • Meet in person for a real connection. Don't let your thoughts and ideas be held back by text messaging, and stand firm on your opinions in whatever way you must. Not everything can be conveyed through a text, and it's hard to beat actually being face-to-face with a person.[4]
  4. End on a good note. Do not randomly drop a conversation if it has been a good one. Doing so is the equivalent of hanging up on a person in the middle of a sentence. If the conversation has run its course, tell the person you have to go for the moment, or say good night if you need to get to sleep. Stay courteous and polite, so that the person can come to expect it and not be dismayed by randomly dropped conversations.[5]


  • People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Feelings matter.
  • Try asking questions that relate to that person. It will capture their attention and they are more likely to want to answer. This will then lead to a conversation.
  • Do not make every one of your sentences in "text language.” This sometimes may be hard to follow and/or read.
  • If you are Practice Proper Text Etiquette in the world of text messaging due to age or lack of interest, ask someone with experience to help you learn the ropes and avoid text messaging no-no's.
  • Make sure that person is actually there and reading your messages. Continuing to say hello when nobody is there is repetitive and annoying.


  • Don't text and drive!
  • Avoid at all costs using text messages as a way to convey personal information, i.e. confessing your feelings to a person, asking someone out, breaking up with someone, sexting, and harassing a person. It's tacky and impersonal, as those things are conveyed better through face to face contact (although by no means should you harass a person).

Things You'll Need

  • Cell phone
  • Text plan
  • English dictionary (optional)

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Sources and Citations