Research shows that vanishing mid-conversation frustrates people the most, followed by poor grammar
LONDON — In its earliest days, texting was a simple way to shoot a short message (comprised of nothing else but letters and numbers) to someone in a jiff. But with photos, videos, emojis, gifs, and countless other bells and whistles causing so many of us to keep our heads buried in our devices constantly, text messaging has become a way of life. So much so, that a new study finds that nearly a third of people find texting to be a source of stress in their lives.
The “21st Century Messaging Etiquette” report, conducted by Viber, a calling and texting app that protects users’ messages via encryption, polled 2,400 men and women in the United States and United Kingdom on their text message habits and attitudes.
“Americans are known for having fast-paced, on-the-go lifestyles – and our new Messaging Etiquette report reveals their communications preferences are aligned,” Cristina Constandache, Chief Advertising Officer at Viber, tells StudyFinds. “The rise of mobile has created new opportunities for consumers to connect with friends and family, whenever, wherever. But these new platforms have also made U.S. consumers develop pretty strict standards for what they deem ‘acceptable’ behaviors during online conversations.”
Among the findings from the 16-question poll, researchers learned that about 31 percent of participants find texting to be a daily source of stress. One in five participants agreed that texting is so stressful, they struggle to keep up with their messages, while one in nine admit they ignore them entirely. But the problem seems to be affecting millennials the most. About three quarters of baby boomers don’t find texting to be stressful at all, compared to 58 percent of millennials.
Perhaps texting makes so many people feel uneasy because we turn to messages for everything from making plans, to hashing out arguments with friends and partners (though only 15 percent find it appropriate to fight with someone over texts), or even as a way of being intimate with a significant other (48 percent say it’s OK to send sexts).
Still, just waiting for the response can drive a person mad.
While 31 percent of participants feel that there shouldn’t be a time limit on how long one can take to respond to a message, 23 percent agreed that a response should always be sent back within an hour. Twenty percent felt four hours was appropriate, while 16 percent believe people have up to a day to get back to the sender.
And when it comes to parents versus friends, most respondents (40 percent) reply to both at the same speed. But 27 percent say they’ll get back to their parents quicker. Twenty percent don’t text with their parents at all.
Respondents also felt strongly about work-related texts. Thirty percent agreed that receiving texts from a colleague about work after office hours isn’t appropriate — unless it’s an absolute emergency. But 12 percent say it’s not acceptable under any circumstance. Conversely, 24 percent are OK with work texts after hours.
As for what irks people the most when it comes to texting, 32 percent can’t stand when a person vanishes in the middle of a conversation. Twenty-two percent loathe poor grammar, and 19 percent hate when senders go overboard with acronyms, emojis, and other forms of text-speak. About 18 percent found sending multiple messages when just one would have done the trick is the biggest annoyance.
Sarcasm can also be a pain for some recipients. Twenty-six percent say texters should leave the sarcasm out of a text conversation altogether.
No matter your thoughts on texting, the form of communication continues to evolve. If it’s causing you stress, perhaps the best remedy would simply be to spend less time on the phone, and more time with people face-to-face.
The survey was conducted on behalf of Viber by Pollfish.