Communicating Through Text — It’s Not My Job To Decode Your Message

Proofread before you hit send

Jessica Hillis
Jan 9 · 4 min read

I hate talking on the phone. I know I am not the only one. I don’t normally answer my phone unless it is my kids’ school or my parents. Otherwise, there is nobody else that I really feel like talking to.

Take it to text and I will probably answer right away. Communicating through text is nothing new. Most of us do it on a daily basis. We either send texts through our phone, use a messenger service, or post things on social media.

The introvert in me loves this. I can be social without leaving my house and I can do it on my own time. Heck, I even met my boyfriend online and pretty much the first 8 months of our relationship was communicating through text.

Texting can be a great way to communicate because you can continue a conversation at your convince. However, it can also cause a lot of problems if one or more of the people texting are horrible at it.

Nothing bugs me more than poor spelling and grammar. I can let a typo go here and there but if you are constantly making mistakes while texting, I’m probably not going to continue on the conversation.

Look, I am a horrible speller. I once spelled “spelling” wrong on a spelling test as a kid and it hasn’t gotten much better from there. I rely on spell-check and auto-correct a lot. A LOT. The English language is a hard one to learn and the spelling rules pretty much make no sense.

Not everyone is privileged enough to have a good education that teaches them proper grammar and spelling. I understand this and try to take that into account when trying to communicate with others.

I realize text messages aren’t the same as a writing piece or an essay. They don’t need to be free from errors. You aren’t getting graded on them or anything. But, you do need to make sure your message is getting across.

Otherwise, why bother trying to communicate this way at all? Why should I have to take the time to try to decipher what you are trying to tell me? You’re opening up yourself to a lot of miscommunication this way.

Image by Jenbird14 from Pixabay

I had an ex that was horrible about this. Just horrible. I went off on him one day when he sent me a text full of literal nonsense. I had no idea what he was trying to say and because this was normal for him, I couldn’t take it anymore.

“If you aren’t going to bother to try to send a message I can actually read, don’t bother texting me anymore. It is extremely rude to send me a message that doesn’t make sense and expect me to know what you are talking about.”

Of course this was when we were already broken up and were trying to communicate about our kids. He was getting mad at me because I wasn’t “communicating” with him and we were never on the same page.

Well, it might help if you were sending something that I could actually read! He was the type that liked to use the swipe feature but he didn’t actually know how to use it. Imagine the nonsense he was sending.

He was also…not very smart and not all that great at spelling and grammar to begin with. Auto-correct was often like, “I got nothing” when trying to correct what he was writing.

If you have a message you want to send to someone and you want them to understand what you are actually saying, that is on you to make sure it is legible. It isn’t on the other person to decode your message.

Frankly, this applies to any form of communication. If you are going to take the time to express your ideas to someone in the hopes that they understand what you are saying, it is on you to make sure the message gets through loud and clear.

How can you do this? Simple. Read what you wrote before you even send it. Make sure YOU can read it. Make sure you understand what you are trying to say.

Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect. I don’t care about the punctuation (though go ahead and use it when necessary) as much as the spelling and grammar.

Communicating through texting can be a bit tricky. It is often hard to portray the mood in which you are writing. It is hard to type in sarcasm. But you know what? There are still ways to get your point across through text.

Perhaps this all seems a bit petty on my part but after years of having to try to decipher what people are trying to tell me, I’m getting a bit annoyed by it.

It isn’t that hard to proofread what you are sending and it is down right rude to expect someone to know what you are saying if you can’t bother to take the time to make it legible.

Let’s not even get started on social media posts! I’ll save that rant for another day. Let’s just say I hit the “un-follow” button really quick when I realize I can’t read what you say.

Stop being rude. Make your text messages readable.

Jessica Hillis

Written by

Writer and mother. I try to keep it real because I’m not “loving every moment”. Follow me https://twitter.com/3282jessicah or email hillis33@gmail.com

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade