Texting etiquette 101

What to do when you’re checking in with friends—and you’re not getting a response?

Our elder has a few helpful hints on how to be a better texter.

Dear EWC:

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. All my friends have stopped texting me amidst the pandemic and I don’t know why they’ve virtually excommunicated me. I know I was never the best, but I’ve been addressing the issue with my friends and trying to be better, but they shut me down. I keep messaging and it can be days/weeks before I get their bland responses. I’m trying to reach out and be supportive and even keep contact for my own sanity, but no one is meeting me halfway. I don’t know how I’m doing it wrong now. I wonder what I have to do to keep in contact with another person. It feels like I’m all alone now.

Grandpa-Bill replies:

During these quarantine times, people are feeling lonely and stressed and anxious and so they want to hear from those who lift them up, make them laugh, make the time together, have fun, etc. I run a chat group with people I used to meet with physically and I make sure I am positive and point out things to do from home, I say humorous things, share jokes and cartoons, and mention things I have done to give them ideas, from crafts I made (with pictures of them), to good TV series shows and movies I have seen, to things I cooked or baked, to restaurants I had delivery from.

Think about what positive things you have done to make your friend’s days better. What have you shared that could help them or make them laugh? Have you been positive and upbeat or complaining? If so, try doing some fun things you can share with them so they can try them too, such as painting a design on your sneakers or old jeans, or creating something.

Another thing you could do to get some feedback on what your friends are thinking, is call and talk to one friend in your friend group and just say that you have noticed that you aren’t getting much communication and wondered if they can be honest with you about why, what you are doing wrong so you can better yourself. If they don’t answer, ask, is it because I expect people to entertain me, or am I negative and complaining, or boring, or what?

You should also look for things to do yourself, such as you can order things online to be delivered from puzzles to craft kits, and you can learn how to play an instrument online or do felting or diamond painting or rock painting, etc.
You could paint rocks and drop them along your walking route for others to find and enjoy. You could try some new recipes by searching online like maybe make big soft pretzels or bagels or cookies or dinner. You could paint jars or sneakers or jeans or plant pots. You could call an elderly neighbor and ask them how they are doing and chat with them to make their day. You could design some cards for upcoming birthdays and occasions. You could invite a few friends over in your backyard by placing chairs at least 6 feet apart and propping the gate open so they can walk right from the street to your backyard and wearing masks. You could play Words With Friends online with another player using your phone and the free application. You can play more than one player or several games at once. You could make yourself a unique mask. You could write the life story of your parents or grandparent or neighbor.

You could start lifting weights by following an online routine. You could start running or biking and see how far you can go. You could teach your pet a new trick. You could join an online chat group. Search for one that matches your interest such as BMX Biking chat group. You could start watching a new TV series.
Try to think about things you can do from home and you will find there are still lots of things you can do. The more things you do that you can share with your friends, the more interesting you will be to them.


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